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MDC-T council 'deadlocked' on election boycott - still have no clue of reforms

06 Aug 2016 at 07:57hrs | Views
"The MDC-T national council that met on Wednesday was deadlocked on whether to lift its election boycott stance which has seen the opposition party surrendering to Zanu-PF parliamentary and council seats that it had won in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections," reported Bulawayo 24. 

"Some of the national council members felt that it was high time the election boycott was lifted ahead of the 2018 harmonised polls while others felt that the conditions were still not yet ripe, according to sources that attended the meeting."

That the MDC-T national council should be deadlocked over whether or not to continue boycotting elections is not at all surprising given that no one in the party understood why the boycott was necessary back in 2013; frankly, they are no wiser now!

To any outsider landing form Mars Zimbabwe's opposition parties have no choice but to boycott all future elections after witnessing the blatant way President Mugabe had rigged the July 2013 elections by disregarding the law, looting billions of dollars to bankroll his campaign, etc. Elections should be about the electorate voting for whoever they pleased and not about Zanu PF deciding in advance the winning margin the party wanted and manipulating the process to deliver the predetermined result.

To someone more familiar with Zimbabwe politics the call to boycott elections, especially by MDC-T, did not make any sense because the party had five years during the GNU to implement the democratic reforms to ensure the July 2013 elections were free, fair and credible  and yet failed to get even one reform implemented. To boycott elections to press for someone else to implement reforms that you should have implemented yourself simply does not make sense!

If one accepted, for the sake of advancing the cause of ensuring free and fair elections, that it does not matter for is to blame for past failures to implement reforms everyone must boycott elections to press the need for reform. The one thing one must, however, insist on is that all the parties in the boycott know what reforms are required and how they are to be implemented to ensure free and fair elections. Sadly MDC-T did not have a clue what the required reforms were.

MDC-T has demanded the realignment of existing laws to the new constitution; the central pillar of the party's National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA); as the key requirement for free and fair elections. It was explained to MDC-T that NERA will not deliver free and fair elections because the 2013 constitution is too weak and feeble to deliver free, fair and credible elections. This is hardly surprising given that President Mugabe "dictated" the new constitution as the Zanu PF co-chairperson on the parliamentary committee tasked to write the new constitution, MP Paul Mangwana, boasted soon after the constitution was adopted.

In fact Zanu PF has since carried most of the realignment of the existing laws to the new constitution with the enactment of the General Law Amendment Act (GLAA) on 1 July 2016. Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), a local NGO whose wishy-washy views are more often than not supportive of MDC-T's position, have this time dismissed Zanu PF's work as a waste of time.
"The current Electoral Laws still require comprehensive amendments," said ZESN in their report in The Zimbabwean.

"The most worrying issue is that GLAA, in a number of ways misaligns; the subsidiary law with the Constitution and in some respects actually undermines the letter and spirit of the constitution. For example while the Constitution requires that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) be fully responsible for the registration of voters and maintenance of the voters' roll, the amendments seem to revive the role of the Registrar of Voters - an office that should be abolished and have no further business concerning the running of  the election."

So MDC-T's call, three years ago, for election boycott on the basis of some wishy-washy NERA demands was stupid. The very fact that MDC-T council is divided today over the same issue goes to show they still have no clue what reforms are required to deliver free, fair and credible election.

What is the point of boycotting elections if we still have no clue what reforms we need implemented to get free and fair elections. We, the people, are our own worst enemies by failing to define where we are going to it is little wonder that tyrants like Mugabe have taken us for a ride landing us in this mess.

Source - Patrick Guramatunhu
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