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Opinion / Columnist

Dialogue, best way forward for Zimbabwe

06 Sep 2023 at 06:20hrs | Views
GOOD day, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Your Excellency, as I see it, your hitting the ground running to inauguration placed you in bad light with international development partners. It threw spanners into the works of your engagement and re-engagement programme.

From where I stand, it is my observation that the management of the recent harmonised elections left Zimbabwe thrust on a man-made state of national disaster. It left your Presidency perched on the horns of a dilemma, overwhelmed by a daunting credibility deficiency.

Added to the unfolding challenges is the burden of unfulfilled promises you made during your maiden presidential term. It is likely that most born-frees will never experience the ease and delight of accomplishment and contentment.

Like the buffalo soldier Bob Marley sang about, their lives are a struggle in which they are compelled to fight on arrival for survival. With the promises to resolve the Gukurahundi atrocities, compensate displaced commercial farmers and victims of the August 1, 2018, military assault still largely left to gather dust and rust, life is rendered an unbearable grind.

With all due respect, it was lame that you said you did not organise the elections. Yet, by virtue of your being the head of State and government, State institutions, in the discharge of their mandate, are subordinate to you through respective line ministries.

Assuming that you are a true-blue democrat, true to the ideals of the liberation struggle, you would not be proud of the electoral circus that played out during the recent plebiscite. It cannot be said that citizenry cast their votes in an environment that was conducive to the expression of free will.

Zimbabwe has a tainted history of disputed elections, oftentimes marked by violence. Yet, this time around they were relatively peaceful, yet outrageously flawed. They left citizenry wondering what sins did they commit, severally or collectively, that are punishable by having a government that is incapable of running credible, conclusive and verifiable elections.

Given the prevailing downcast countenances, it would be duly appropriate if the national flag were to be flown at half-mast. It was a clumsy election, the worst of them all in the history of the country. Essentially, it was improbable that it could ever culminate in a credible result.

It left losers on both political divides. Considering the administrative shambles that were displayed on August 23, it can only be utter daredevilry for one not to be ashamed to be declared the winner of such a sham election.

Your Excellency, your hitting the hasty path to inauguration, on the backdrop of election observers having pronounced the elections not credible was an act of defiance to sound judgement. It would have been prudent to pause to accommodate engagement.

With your main challenger, opposition Citizen Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa having resolutely refused to concede defeat, as I see it, it would have been stately for you to pause and introspect before inauguration.

His party was adamant that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) failed the credibility and transparency test. This stance was substantiated by the fact that his party had to go to the courts to compel Zec to release informationon quantities of ballot papers that were printed. Yet, all things being equal, such information ought to have been readily available.

Most observer missions concluded that the elections did not meet the requisite yardstick with which credible elections are measured. They could not certify the elections which were apparently flawed and characterised by a host of irregularities.

Apparently, the electoral environment was darkened by both Zanu-PF and government which were on a warpath against the established convention on holding elections. They were mean spirited towards the opposition and election observer missions.

Duly, Zanu-PF knows that its win is a wooden spoon. Methinks attacks on the observer missions on the off chance that they would craft their reports to the liking of your party was a desperate venture into futility.

Considering the debacle, in which Zanu-PF merchandised itself as the ruining party than the ruling party, the honourable course of action for you to pursue was to acknowledge the electoral failure and pursue dialogue.

Essentially, it is not the first time that Zec has failed in its mandate to manage the elections. Its independence has always been known to be on paper, not in practice. It was not surprising that a Zec senior staffer acknowledged in court the significant role of the Executive in the affairs of the electoral body.

Your Excellency, the prioritisation of your inauguration ahead of dialogue on securing legitimacy intensely afflicts me. Also, the sense of guilt for the unrestrained verbal assault on the Sadc observer mission, particularly its leader Nevers Mumba, torments me.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public-speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist.

Source - newsday
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