By Wilbert Mukori
Rule of law is a three legged stool:
first leg is the law itself must be straight forward, concise and rational
Second, those entrust to enforce the law must do so without fear or favour, hence the reason lady Justice is often depicted with a blind fold.
Third, no one, absolutely no one is above the law.
Take off one or more of these three legs and the stool is unusable.
The SADC and AU elections observer teams to the 2023 Zimbabwe elections were crystal clear – the election process was a sham.
The SEOM noted that, as detailed in sections 6 and 7 of this report, some aspects of the Harmonised Elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2021),” stated the SADC observer team final report.
The regime failed to produce some thing as basic as a verified voters, an outrage given the shambolic condition of the voters roll as earlier work by Team Pachedu had revealed. The whole election process was so shameful there is question of it being flawed and illegal is really beyond debate.
The regional and continental election observer teams have done their bit in condemning the election process, it is now for the SADC Heads of State and Government to do their bit – uphold the law.
In the past both AU and SADC election observer teams have reported of the election process being “substantially” free fair and peaceful although the same flaws and illegalities noted in the 2023 elections were present in the past elections. SADC elections observers had done this deliberately, many have argued, after the 2008 to 2013 GNU had failed to implement even one democratic reform, mainly because Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends sold out. SADC leaders had given up in despair and disgust at Zimbabweans’ willingness to fight for reforms and rule of law.
Still, for whatever reasons, both SADC and the AU election observers teams ignore Zimbabwe’s sell out opposition’s past and present, the opposition were participating in these elections knowing fully well that the process is flawed and that participating was used as an excuse to grant vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy for the same reasons they had failed to implement reforms in the past – greed and breathtaking incompetence. Not so this time, the teams focused on the overwhelming evidence proving the election process was flawed and illegal and condemned it accordingly.
Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because the country has been stuck with this corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF regime ever since the country’s independence in 1980. Whilst the nation came to the conclusion that Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies were thugs as far back as late 1990s, at the latest, the nation has failed to remove the party from power because Zanu PF thugs rigged elections. And 43 years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption brazen lawlessness have left the country in economic ruins and a failed state.
Zimbabwe is a pariah state, a failed state, because the country has been ruled these last 43 years by this tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship, that has usurped the people’s democratic freedoms and rights placing itself above the law. Both the country’s opposition parties, notable MDC/CCC, and the regional body SADC have connived in granting voting rigging Zanu PF political legitimacy and thus perpetuating the dictatorship.
The SADC Heads of State and Government’s Extra-Ordinary Summit on 31 October 2023 will be a historic occasion the regional grouping and for Zimbabwe in particular. If the summit upholds the damning 23 August 2023 Zimbabwe election report and deny Zanu PF political legitimacy; the leaders will restore SADC’s lost political credibility. Whilst SADC had often failed to enforce the laws and principle of democratic elections in the past, the decision on Zimbabwe will send a clear message the regional body will, hopefully, from now on take its obligation on the matter will the seriousness the matter demands.
As for Zimbabwe, denying Zanu PF and their CCC side-kick political legitimacy will clear the deck and give the country another chance to implement the democratic reforms, end this dysfunctional dictatorship, and restore the rule of law. The 2008 to 2013 GNU was supposed to implement the reforms but, as we know, not even one token reform saw the light of day.
So this would be our second golden chance to implement the reforms and set the nation on a democratic footing – we must make it count! No if, no but!