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'We should push for reforms and free elections' - sweet music to my ears

31 Aug 2021 at 06:15hrs | Views
"I find these comparisons (of Zambia and Zimbabwe) ambitious, childish and far-fetched because the political dynamics are completely different.

"We should be frank to ourselves and push for reforms that will make us comparable with Zambia," wrote Tapiwa Gomo in Bulawayo 24.

Sweet, sweet music to my ears! It is most heartening that many more Zimbabweans are finally listen to what SADC, EU, USA and many other members of international community have been saying all along – implement the democratic reforms before elections.  

It is insane to keep participating in flawed and illegal elections when all we have ever done is give the vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy.

In his book "Excelgate - How Zimbabwe's 2018 Presidential Election was Stolen" Professor Jonathan Moyo gave some interesting insight into the extend of the rot in Zimbabwe's electoral system and it is naïve, to say the least, to believe Nelson Chamisa's "SOLID PLAN" of recycled, tried and failed "Winning In Rigged Election (WIRE)" strategies will finally end the curse of rigged elections.

In the book Moyo showed there is the official Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) fronted by chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and then there the more sinister ZEC manned by Zanu PF operatives over whom Chigumba has no control over and yet accepts their input with no questions asked.

In Chigumba's affidavit in response to Nelson Chamisa's Constitutional Court challenge of the 2018 presidential, she failed to produce all the V11 forms, the summary of the Polling Station vote count, to account for Mnangagwa's 2.4 million votes.

The law directs the ZEC Command Centre to pool presidential vote tally from the V23B forms, the summary of the vote count from each of the 210 parliamentary constituency pooling centres. Why ZEC used the V11 forms, without even informing all the contestants, is one of the many irregularities and illegalities that characterised the whole elections. And to make matters worse, why use the V11 and final to produce all the forms, there were over 11 000 Polling Stations (the exact number is not known) and roughly 10% of the V11 forms were missing!

How can ZEC fail to have all the V11 forms when every Polling Station is manned by ZEC officials?

Some election observers reported of ZEC officials completing V11 forms outside the Polling Station setting and in the absence of the various witnesses. It is quite possible that whilst ZEC had accepted and added to the vote tally figures from dodgy V11 forms Commissioner Chigumba did not have the guts to sign the affidavit with the dodgy V11 forms!

Chief Justice Luke Malaba, presiding over case, and his team of eight other Constitution Court judges did not question why key documents such as the V11 forms were missing, no explanation why ZEC had abandoned laid down legal procedure and used V23B forms, etc. The Court did nothing to get all the many irregularities and illegalities address. Nothing!

Justice Malaba confirm Emmerson Mnangagwa as the dully elected president of Zimbabwe on the basis of ZEC's results although there was not a shred of documentary evidence to back the result. The Constitutional Court's judges, all nine of them, had conveniently forgot the time-honoured maxim that court's judgements must be based on evidence and evidence alone.

In his Court judgement, the Court had assumed that all the supporting evidence missing evidence, the V11 forms, etc. would be in the "in the primary source", the seal ballot boxes from each of the Polling Stations. It was just a feeble excuse, of course.

Given Zimbabwe's history of rigged elections an independent Constitutional Court would have wanted the question of free, fair and credible elections settled beyond all doubt and what better way of achieving that end than ordering the sealed ballot boxes to be opened and produce all the missing evidence.

It was well within the Constitutional Court power and authority to order a sample number of Polling Station ballot boxes, at least, to be opened and thus prove the evidence in primary sources was there. It was self-evident that the missing V11 forms, etc. were not in the sealed ballot boxes and the judges did not want the truth to be confirmed; they were conniving in deceiving the nation.

The independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary has been compromised and our judges' judicious commitment to the ethos and ideals impartiality encapsulated in Lady Justice wearing the blindfold have been lost a long time ago. Just eight months before Judge Malaba's dubious judgement on the 2018 elections, High Court Judge George Chiweshe had ruled that the November 2017 military coup was "legal, justified and constitutional"!

Of course, Judge Chiweshe did not cite the chapter and verse in the constitution authorising a military coup because there is no such chapter and verse!

The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic and politic mess is the failure to hold free, fair and credible elections all because of the lack of political will and vision on the part of Zanu PF, who imposed the de facto one-party dictatorship in the first place, and the MDC, who failed to implement the democratic reforms. After 41 years of rigged elections and the country is serious economic trouble, millions of Zimbabweans today are living in abject poverty; Zimbabwe must master the courage and resolve in finally cure ourselves of the curse of rigged elections.

If the 2023 elections go ahead with no reforms implemented, it cannot be business as usual; the election must be declared null and void to open the opportunity for the appointment of an interim administration whose primary task will be to implement the democratic reforms and hold the nation's first free, fair and credible elections. This is not negotiable!

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