…if they go into elections banking only on ‘Grand coalition’ without reforms

zwnews.com Chief Reporter- Simba Moyo

According to the ruling ZANU PF, opposition parties in the country have over the years failed to win against it because of lack of strategy, disunity among them, and have failed the people by not working for the very people who had put more trust in them.

The ruling party alleges the opposition failed to prove that they had something for the nation when they were in government during the Government of National Unity era, and people have lost trust in them.

ZANU PF vehemently denies it rigs elections, and rather attributed its wins to the trust of the people it claims to have.

Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo puts it simply; “Because politics are local, what wins elections is what you DO for the people and not what you SAY against your opponent.”

The main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change has admitted that it would face embarrassment in the next elections, should it stick to the ‘I can go it alone’ attitude. This was following a report by the Mass Public Opinion Institute; endorsed by the African Barometer think tank that ZANU PF will win resoundingly should local opposition parties opt for individualism.

While a coalition of opposition political parties is a step in the right direction, some analysts urge them not to be carried away by just thinking that only a united opposition is enough to end President Robert Mugabe’s iron fist rule; they say it is important also to make necessary noise that would level the playing field, in terms of electoral reforms.

Over the years, ZANU PF has been winning elections not only the opposition was disjointed, but also because it had the hands on the control levers of the commission that runs elections in the country.

Some analysts equate the situation to a referee who throws away the whistle and joins the other team, and let all fouls against the other team to go unpunished, only to retrieve and use it when a player from the team he had joined is fouled. Even MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai admitted that recently.

Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) spokesperson Zivai Mhetu says it is foolish for opposition parties in Zimbabwe to agree to run in the elections without electoral reforms being corrected first. He said the current electoral processes and laws are heavily screwed in the ruling party’s favour.

He also urges the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to avail mobile ballot booths in the country’s institutions of higher learning saying students constitutes a sizable number of the population, that could not be left out.

Mhetu said the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, should ensure that the process of getting national identity cards is quick and accessible, especially to the youths, as he believes some of them might be voting for the first time. He also noted that those who would have lost their IDs should not find trouble in replacing them.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean elections are run by in a way that is screwed in favour of ruling party and sitting president, even Section 144(3) of the Constitution lays down that the dates for the election must be fixed by the President “after consultation with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.”

He is however, free not to follow ZEC’s recommendations as stated by Section 339(2) explains; that this means ZEC must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make recommendations or representations about proposed dates and that the President must give careful consideration to any such recommendations and representations’ although he is not obliged to follow them. 

In 2013, Mugabe was accused of arm-twisting the powers vested in him by the supreme law concerning the proclamation of election dates to give himself a competitive edge against his opponents.

In the last elections this raised constitutional debates in the corridors of power as to when he was to proclaim the election dates. Mugabe had to use his dribbling skills, allegedly planting an element, Jealous Mawarire to challenge him before the courts to proclaim election dates. Mawarire won and the courts ordered the President to set the election dates which was in fact what the old guard wanted.

The opposition were against the idea of holding the elections at that time, as they said there were irregularities in the process at that time which favoured Mugabe and his party. One way or the other, vote counting, results announcement delays, ZANU PF rigged and won.