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Americans lecturing Zanu PF on 'criteria for free elections' – umpteenth lecture, how naïve/patronising

21 Jan 2022 at 00:29hrs | Views
"March by-elections and the 2023 harmonized elections give the Government of Zimbabwe a chance to show that #ZimVotesMatter, especially if it honors its commitment to level the playing field by undertaking #ZimElectoralReform," the U.S. Embassy in Harare posted on Twitter…

"This week @usembassyharare will tweet several examples of what our government sees as the criteria for a free and fair election. Stated in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) and also in Zimbabwe's own constitution, these values have remained constant."

It is all very well for the Americans giving the Zanu PF regime lectures on what reforms to implement to ensure a level playing field, the benefits of free and fair elections, etc., etc. How many times have they given these lectures? And Zanu PF has ignored the recommendations on each occasion and for one good reasons.

Zanu PF will never ever reform itself out of office, particularly when it does not need to do so. There is no pressure on Zanu PF to implement the democratic reforms, the prerequisite for free, fair and credible election. None!

The only time Zanu PF was under any meaningful pressure to implement the reforms was during the 2008 to 2013 GNU when SADC force Zanu PF to sign the 2008 Global Political Agreement, agreeing to the need to implement a raft of democratic reforms. Mugabe bribed his MDC GNU partners with the trappings of high office and for five years the forgot about the reforms. The GNU failed to implement even one reform in five years and the golden opportunity was wasted.

Ever since the GNU debacle Zanu PF has been very careful to entice the opposition to participate in the flawed and illegal elections. In the 2018 elections there were 23 presidential candidates and thousands contested for the 210 parliamentary seats – proof, as far as Zanu PF is concerned, that Zimbabwean elections are free, fair and credible. If the elections were flawed, then why would so many Zimbabweans participate?

These lectures from the West on the basic requirements for free and fair elections before any elections; followed by reports on the serious shortcomings in the elections and a list of recommended reforms; are now the norm. These lectures from the Americans are the umpteenth and, like all the others before, will be ignored.

If these Americans are really serious about ensuring elections are free, fair and credible then they must acknowledge there are two key variables in Zimbabwe politics; the ruling party Zanu PF and the MDC. Zanu PF would not be in power today if MDC had implemented the democratic reforms, especially during the GNU. And it is MDC that is giving Zanu PF legitimacy by participating in flawed elections.

Zanu PF has corrupted the MDC leaders, instead of being the champions of democratic changes and pushing for free and fair elections MDC leaders have long abandoned that task for a share of the spoils of power. MDC leaders not only failed to implement the democratic reforms but are now actively undermining the efforts of those trying to do so.

Trying to deliver free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe by focusing on Zanu PF alone is like trying to solve a two-variable equation by pretending it is a single variable. It is a waste time! 
MDC leaders are no long part of the democratic solution in Zimbabwe but rather part of the problem. One expected the Americans, the British, EU, etc., with all their rocket science sophistication, to have figured this out by now! Of course, these nations are not naïve, they are just patronising us.

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