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'People have lost confidence in elected regime' says Fr Wermter - it's worse and more complex

20 Aug 2019 at 21:05hrs | Views
"IF the citizens do not feel any longer represented by the men and women they have cast their ballots for, and Parliament is no longer effective in serving the common good, can no longer defend human rights, and preserve human dignity, opposition parties will resort to political pressure and demonstrate publicly against hunger, unemployment, failure of health services and education, including the breakdown of public transport," wrote Father Oskar Wermter SJ.

I wish our situation was that simple and clear cut. Alas, it is not!

How can we say the people of Zimbabwe "cast their ballots for" this Zanu-PF regime when 3 million in the diaspora were denied the vote, rural voters were subjected to intimidation and harassment by tradition leaders and Zanu-PF operatives, etc. ZEC squandered US$ 75 million on procurement of the biometric voter registration kits and yet still failed to produce a verified voters' roll.
"The electoral commission lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner," stated the EU Observer Mission final report.
"The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability. Finally, the restrictions on political freedoms, the excessive use of force by security forces and abuses of human rights in the post-election period undermined the corresponding positive aspects during the pre-election campaign. As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards."

There was a mountain of evidence of the serious flaws and illegalities in the affidavits presented to the Constitution Court from both Chamisa and ZEC. A close examination of the data submitted by ZEC showed there were three different vote count totals all different from Chamisa's totals; proof of the "numerous errors" mention in the EU report. Worse still, it was clear no one was able to verify and trace any of their figures because key documents like the verified voters' roll and V11 forms, summary of vote count by polling station, were never released.

Why the Constitutional Court ignored all the glaring flaws and illegalities in the conduct of the elections and still declare the process free, fair and credible, beggars belief. The judgement was based on the "primary source evidence", said the Chief Justice Malaba.

Apparently the Court assumed the evidence in the sealed ballot boxes, "primary source", contained will have no errors; the missing V11 forms, will all be there; although the voters' roll was never verifies the copies in the boxes will be verified; etc. The court did not ask any sealed ballot boxes to be opened to satisfy themselves that any of the assumptions were right. In other words, the judgement was more a matter of faith and not evidence.

Of course, the Constitutional Court, like ZEC and all the other state institutions, is corrupt and compromised. We should not forget the same judiciary had ruled the November 2017 military coup "legal, justified and constitutional!"

The country's corrupt and incompetent MDC opposition is mudding the waters by failing to implement the reforms to stop the rigging and by participating in flawed and illegal elections. It is clear MDC will participate in the elections regardless how flawed and illegal the process gets for the sake of winning the few gravy train seats Zanu-PF dishes out as bait.

"The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn't now do the obvious – withdraw from the (2013) elections," confessed David Coltart, MDC-Ncube minister in the 2008 to 2013 GNU.

"The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu-PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility."

Four of the MDC factions did form a coalition before last year's elections and still they all participated in the flawed elections out of greed.

MDC did win most of the gravy train seats given away as bait and hence the reason the party has endorsed the elections as free, fair and credible. The party has withheld its endorsement of Mnangagwa as the winner of the presidential race but only for the purpose of force him into a power sharing arrangement in which Chamisa and other MDC leaders will be appointed ministers.
No Father, Zanu-PF blatantly rigged last year's elections; the regime has no mandate to rule, it is illegitimate, and it must step down. After decades of Zanu-PF rigging elections and letting the regime get away with it; it is imperative that we start being honest with ourselves and call a spade a spade.

We must now spend all our time, sweat and treasure on getting Zanu-PF to step down so we can appoint an interim administration that will implement the reforms and finally end the curse of rigged elections. The MDC's ambivalence on elections is frustrating our efforts by giving Zanu-PF some modicum of political credibility. We should be wry of MDC's treasonous habit of running with hare and hunting with the hounds.

Zimbabwe's problem is one of bad governance characterized by the curse of rigged elections. After 39 years of rigged elections and us burying our heads in the sand whilst the nation sunk deeper and deeper in the abyss; it is imperative that we final admit the problem and deal with it!

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