By The Solutions Tower Staff.
ELECTIONS in Zimbabwe have perennially passed for a charade, with several observers often left dumbfounded at why Zanu PF always frets at the mere prospect of losing power. On many occasions, the ruling party has had to defend its electoral victories which always seem to be filthy, and have often left sorrow and grief engulfing the nation.
Naturally, opposition political parties have cried foul, vociferously blaming what they say is an entrenched and evil electoral system designed to be intolerant to a Zanu PF defeat. Several neutral observers, among them the clergy, have also expressed concern, labelling electoral conditions in the country a security risk in the long to short term.
On its part, however, the revolutionary party has dismissed as spurious and unfounded, accusations that it holds undue advantage over its rivals, adding that opposition parties in Zimbabwe just had no working formula with which to combat its juggernaut. But it was political turncoat, Jonathan Moyo, whose humorous remarks were more blistering, likening any tinkering with the country’s current electoral rules to a conspiracy by Zanu PF to “reform itself out of power”.
But the opposition has not been amused by both Zanu PF’s alleged tendency to rig elections as well as its non- committal attitude towards electoral reforms, and is now ganging up to confront Zanu PF as a united front for the forthcoming 2018 ballot. Furthermore, opposition is also exploring the possibility of an elections boycott as means to pressure Zanu PF so that acceptable electoral reforms are implemented.
Despite previous boycotts, and further threats of boycotts and withdrawals from elections by opposition parties, the Zanu PF government seems unperturbed, and up till now has proceeded to ‘stage’ elections each time the Constitution requires that they be held.
This has not been without consequences, though, with the international community – particularly the US and her European Union (EU) allies – making certain that Zanu PF does not go unpunished. The so-called chefs in Zanu PF – but mostly President Mugabe and his family – have publicly expressed outrage over inconveniences occasioned by both the US and EU’s “illegal sanctions” over sovereign Zimbabwe and its leadership.
However, the US and the EU have since removed most individuals associated with abuses of power in Zimbabwe, leaving Mugabe and a few associates on its sanctions list but the economy still remains on the precipice, threatening a complete tip over. But still, Zanu PF does not seem to get it and has remained adamant, unwilling whatsoever to abide by tenets of good governance and the rule of law. Many have often been left wondering whether there is something more to Zanu PF’s arrogance than meets the eye?
The case for Zanu PF is, however is not completely lost. With the country’s opposition now at sixes and nines, the revolutionary party could still stage a dramatic comeback. For instance, Zanu PF would now need to go back to the drawing board and revert to constitutionalism. Towards that end, the ruling party would have to start by moving away from its two tiered justice system; with one very strict meant for ordinary persons and the other that tends to favour a select few.
A successful reestablishment of constitutionalism would be welcomed by many but at the same time prove to be a below the belt blow for those who had become accustomed to thriving through extra judicial means. But such an exercise, if carried out honestly, would restore confidence of the majority Zimbabweans and back the revolutionary party. This would, however, not be without heavy casualty but still could set Zanu PF on a recovery path.
To retain confidence of the electorate, Zanu PF simply needs to reform itself into a 21st Century political party and give space elections that are free, fair and transparent. The above would obviously require that a bold step be taken by the ruling party, and transform Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) into a truly independent institution.
By no means, this would not be easy for those used to winning elections by hook and crook – including violence and intimidation – but it would, nevertheless, constitute a huge step towards democratising national institutions and ensuring a free society.
Who knows what dividends such a risk might bring to Zanu PF?
For instance, many politicians have become complacent, and have become career politicians though with nothing completely to show for it. Such people would either have to retire or start giving value for money.
Furthermore, and to maintain its credibility as a party, Zanu PF should fulfil all promises made during campaign period, including, but not confined to the 2,2 million jobs which it promised to create for jobless Zimbabweans.
The time for false promises and false hope must just come to an end. Zimbabweans have been deprived of a decent livelihood for too long, and would only be glad if their dignity was to be restored.
Zanu PF should simply throw in the towel in the case it fails to fulfil most of its election promises. Doing so would actually make Zanu PF much stronger when it decides to come back to participate in other elections. The electorate would probably be compelled to begin taking Zanu PF at its word.
The above should not be difficult for a determined Zanu PF to implement. Zimbabwe’s current socioeconomic status – with the country being rated as one of the poorest in the world – should be able to provide the much-needed impetus towards that end.
At the end of the day; Zanu PF simply needs to reform itself into a 21st Century political party and attract voters through the democratic tool of persuasion not by intimidation and violence.
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