Political Reporter

There was drama at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices yesterday when the ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, who was supposed to address political parties on the way her body is running elections stormed out of the meeting citing heavy criticism from the media.

She accused the parties of insulting her in the press, and ordered all members of ZEC who were supposed to attend the meeting to leave the room. ZEC had been under scrutiny for favouring the ruling party, and of recently issues have been raised over the procurement of the BVR.

Politicians and political commentators have condemned the Makarau’s action saying it shows that she is on the side of ZANU PF.

Parties have also voiced their concerns over the composition of ZEC commissioners some of them who are believed to be members of the army, CIOs, and other organs aligned to the ruling party.

PDP leader and lawyer, Tendai Biti says Makarau’s conduct shows that she is toing the ZANU PF line.

“Makarau’s refusal to engage civic societies and political parties is further proof that ZEC is captured and needs to be dismantled,” he says.

Another politician and Zim First leader, Maxwell Shumba says her conduct was a way of time buying. “It appears as it was planned, to buy time. Political parties then made a resolution that there would be no more dialogue with ZEC, and called for its disbandment,” he said.

Political scientist, Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya says the prospects of regime change centres on the relationship between the regime and democratic opposition and believe opposition parties stand their ground in opposing authoritarian rule.

He says according to Stepan (1990), there are five critical tasks needed to breakdown a authoritarian regime, including resisting integration into the regime, guarding zones of autonomy against it, disputing its legitimacy, raising the costs of authoritarian rule, and creating a credible democratic alternative.

“Elections alone without the exercise of civil and political rights in Zimbabwe constitute illiberal or fake democracy,” he says.

Ruhanya believes that is why ZANU PF have today as always resorted to use armed police and tankers to invade a venue by opposition parties for a rally against electoral fraud.

The ruling party in the country has over the years been accused using tricks to rig elections. According to opposition parties, this had been made possible by ZANU PF’s control of ZEC a body full of its agents.