It’s Nauseating! Zim Needs Democratic Reforms  
19 September 2021
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By Patrick Guramatunhu- Zimbabwe is in this economic mess and political paralysis (both the ruling party and the opposition are corrupt, incompetent and clearly have no clue how to get the nation out of the mess and paralysis, all they care about is political power). 

Sadly, for the country the ordinary people themselves don’t even know their left from right hand as regards what is going on. They look up to the country’s civic organisation for guidance only to get confusion, at best, otherwise poison. 

“We urge the Second Republic to enact electoral reforms and reinstate by-elections to ensure a return to participatory democracy and that citizens are equally represented in council and Parliament,” said the Election Resource Centre (ERC).

“Despite promising to preside over a democratic government that respects the Constitution, rule of law, and tolerance, it is regrettable that four years after these utterances by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 41 years after independence, Zimbabweans are underrepresented in Parliament and local government, with rampant human rights violations that were tenets of colonial rule under Ian Smith.”

Organisations like ERC are a waste of space and time and the nation would be better off if they never existed at all!

In the 41 years of Zimbabwe’s independence, the country has never ever held free, fair and credible elections. In the 1980 elections, Zanu PF bolded stated that the bush war would continue if the party lost the elections. Of course, the people voted to end the bush war. 

After the 1980 elections, there were some wooly mammoth minded individuals who tried to down play Zanu PF threat, dismissing it as political banter. The fog in their heads clearly soon enough when Robert Mugabe launched the 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre that force the late Dr Joshua Nkomo to sign the December 1987 Zanu PF and PF Zapu Unity Accord and clear the way for the imposition of the de facto one-party dictatorship. 

Zanu PF has ruled Zimbabwe all these last 41 years, except for the five years of the 2008 to 2013 GNU when it shared power with MDC, precisely because the party has enjoyed carte blanche powers to rig elections. The 2008 elections have become the watershed elections in that Zanu PF blatantly cheated the March vote and used wanton violence to win the run-off that followed. 

The whole international community, including SADC and the AU who had always turned a blind eye to Zanu PF rigged elections in the past, condemned the 2008 elections are a farce. SADC leaders forced Robert Mugabe to agree to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to restore the individual freedoms and rights and stop a repeat of the 2008 rigged elections. 

The task of implementing the democratic reforms during the GNU was left to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. Sadly, they turned out to be corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent; they failed to implement even one token reform in five years. Not even one!

To be fair to SADC leaders, they did advise Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends not to participate in the 2013 elections without first implementing the reforms. 

“In 2013 the Maputo Summit, in June 2013, before the elections, the Maputo Summit was all about having the elections postponed – the SADC summit. I went there,” Dr Ibbo Mandaza told Journalist Violet Gonda.

“I was there at the Summit and Mugabe pretended to agree to a postponement of the elections. If you recall, the postponement was based on the need to reform at least electoral laws.

“And after that Summit, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, all of them were called to a separate meeting by the Heads of State of SADC in the absence of Mugabe, that same evening. And they were told; I was sitting there outside the room with Mac Maharaj; they were told ‘if you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done’.”

As we know Tsvangirai and company ignored the stern warning and participated in the 2013 elections. Zanu PF blatantly rigged the elections, as SADC leaders had rightly predicted. 

If anyone thought the MDC and the rest of the country’s opposition camp had learned the lesson and would be demanding meaningful democratic reforms BEFORE the 2018 elections, that was not to be. Nelson Chamisa, as the candidate of the MDC A, plus 21 other opposition candidates contested the presidential race even thou ZEC had failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll. 

Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the 2018 elections too.

By participating in these flawed and illegal elections the opposition is giving vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy. 

The 2013 and 2018 elections were a mockery of democracy and should be roundly condemned and ERC should be making it clear with no misunderstanding and equivocation that the next elections be they by-elections or the 2023 elections will be a waste of time if they went ahead with no meaningful reforms implemented.  

“The ERC explicitly emphasises that calls for electoral reforms and the reinstatement of by-elections do not imply a push for regime change, but are key for true representative democracy,” ERC said.

This is nauseating! 

The right to govern must be derived from the democratic wish of the people expressed in free, fair and credible elections and if the people’s democratic wish should mean regime change so be it. So why is ERC, an organisation supposedly fighting democratic rights and a meaningful say in the governance of one’s country, be ruling out regime change. 

Regime change is not a dirty phrase as Zanu PF thugs have brainwashed many to believe. According to Zanu PF propaganda ordinary Zimbabweans are incapable of attain the political conscientiousness to desire Zanu PF regime change and so the party attributes all such desires to outside influence, the West. Of course, it is nonsense!  

After 41 years of rigged elections the people of Zimbabwe must demand the implementation of the democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections. If the democratic wish of the people is for regime change, they must have regime change and no apology for that!