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Comment: Zanu PF's curious election demands

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After the Sadc Sandton meeting and the furore over the meaning of the words “noted” and “endorsed”, the last thing that anyone expected to hear from President Robert Mugabe and his party is yet another arrogant “Elections this year, no matter what” mantra that party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, emerged with from their latest politburo meeting.

Unless the Zanu PF politburo lives in another Zimbabwe that is hidden from the rest of us, it is difficult to make out from what premise the party leaders took that decision.

There are only five months remaining before year-end and within that period, Zanu PF seems convinced the processes leading to elections would have been completed.

There is the issue of finding money to finance such an election — money which Finance minister Tendai Biti has already said is not available.

The country is in the middle of writing a new constitution — without which, according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on whose back the leader of Zanu PF rides in order to be President of Zimbabwe — elections can not be held.

Those that are leading the process, including Zanu PF’s own Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana, have made it clear that other than financial limitations, the process is lagging so much behind it is practically impossible to finalise the new national charter this year.

Even were we to somehow get the constitution through a referendum and have it passed this year, there are still many crucial issues that would need money and time to deal with before elections could be held.

The voters’ roll is in a shambles — hundreds of dead people and many more, aged well above 100 years, appear on the present roll.

The process of cleaning up the voters’ roll and making it usable is already crippled by shameful discord between officials in the Home Affairs ministry where the co-minister from the MDC-T party, Theresa Makone, has been denied access to the electronic version of the roll.

The authority that should run the election, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is itself in a mess. GPA partners have agreed to reform the commission, but the method remains a bone of contention.

While two parties of the three-legged government want the entire ZEC secretariat overhauled because most of the people there are sworn Zanu PF supporters — who would do anything to ensure victory for their party, fair or foul — Zanu PF has rejected the proposal insisting it is not necessary to recruit afresh.

But, other than these and many other reasons why elections simply can not be held this year, there is the issue of an election roadmap.

Sadc has made it clear without such a roadmap there can not be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and the regional body would not want to be part of another sham or disputed plebiscite.

The drawing up of this roadmap includes a plethora of factors that Zanu PF has already closed its doors on and clearly, an agreeable roadmap is not going to be in place anytime this year.

What this means, therefore, is that if we are going to take Zanu PF seriously, an election is going to be forced on Zimbabweans and Zanu PF might be a lone runner once again.

Sadc will refuse to be involved and therefore to ‘note’ — let alone “endorse” — the result of that election.

The result of such an event which Zanu PF intends to call an election can only be more violence — it’s back to 2008 and eventually to another MoU and yet another GPA.

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