The Constitutional Court ruling ordering that elections be held by the end of July should, ordinarily, bring joy to the people of Zimbabwe on account of the fact that the political suspense that we have lived with for the past four years has been the source of suffering that the people of this country have had to endure.
Report by Tangai Chipangura
Everyone wants elections to come and put in place a clearly defined political dispensation that allows Zimbabwe’s economy to get out of the crazy see-saw dance which has been responsible for our poverty and hardship.
Zimbabwe’s economy has not been able to grow because, for lack of a defined political position and economic policies, we have been unable to be meaningful global players. Conflicting internal economic policies have kept investors at bay.
Investors that may have had confidence with Zanu PF policies stayed away because there was the MDC-T to contend with in government while, those that wanted to put money in Zimbabwe because they believed in the MDC-T, also kept their purses shut because an “untrusted” Zanu PF hand captained the ship.
So, it is clear we need one cook in the kitchen and the earlier the better for everyone. Only an election can provide us this cook and there is nobody that does not want that.
What is important, however, is that this cook is chosen by the whole family in a transparent, fair and free manner. The means or road to this transparency, freedom and fairness has to be agreed by all family members so that the person that ends up in the family kitchen is accepted by all.
So, anything that seeks to subvert this process — to put pricks on this road to transparency, freedom and fairness — will only serve to prolong the hunger and poverty of this family.
Political players in Zimbabwe have a clear-cut election roadmap that they formulated together and agreed to abide by on the road to elections. This roadmap has agreed issues that must be dealt with and also timelines that must be observed.
It is needless to mention these agreed terms here as they are contained in the roadmap itself — a document signed by leaders of the political parties that formed the inclusive government and also in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), again signed by these politicians.
What Zimbabweans want are elections as early as possible and in accordance with the law and agreed electoral terms to avoid political bickering that ends up in the ordinary citizen suffering from the resultant delayed or aborted democracy or — worse — violence.
If a timeline has been given by a non-political player who has not taken part in the election roadmap formulation, but whose ruling cannot be contested or rejected, then the onus is on the political players to work towards the fulfilment of that timeline. Or, if the ordered timeline is unrealistic and impossible to observe, the politicians must, together, do something to have a reconsideration of that timeline.
What cannot be acceptable to the people of Zimbabwe is to sacrifice certain needful requirements of the roadmap for the mere sake of fulfilling a certain date.
This is because while that date may be forcibly fulfilled, the result of this crucial process may then become compromised and unacceptable. The risk is that we end up having another four years of political suspense, economic see-saw and national suffering and poverty.
But, by all means, if that date can be met without sacrificing requirements for a transparent, free and fair election, then it should be abided by. We all need to leave this suspense, suffering and poverty as early as yesterday!
What we have seen though is that soon after the passing of the Constitutional Court ruling, the two major contesting parties, Zanu PF and MDC-T, reacted in curious and different ways. The other MDC party led by Welshman Ncube is yet to declare its position.
We saw the MDC-T in alarm, convening emergency meetings and their leader talking ill of the court decision — without having gone back to the drawing board to assess the availability of adjustment options to the electoral due process to make the court-given date constitutionally possible.
For instance, voter registration periods could be shortened by declaring a public holiday! Issues of money and reforms could also be dealt with the support of Sadc which is holding a special congress on Zimbabwe this weekend — if all parties acted in good faith.
Zanu PF’s reaction, on the other hand, was more worrying. They celebrated opportunities of subverting the roadmap! To them, Sadc intentions to push for the observance of the roadmap are evil.
They want security forces to be involved in the electoral process and loathe reforms that would include having neutral observers coming to see if our elections are going to be transparent, free and fair!
Contestants that hate transparency and fairness thrive on violence, force, ballot theft and everything that goes with a rotten election.
This behaviour represents the kind of moral dementia we witnessed in 2008 elections where young girls were raped by political hoodlums while listening to their father screaming outside the room as he was beaten to death — because they supported a political party of their choice!
This barbaric behaviour should not be allowed to happen again at all costs. Our courts of law, Sadc, the continent and the world should protect Zimbabwe from this monstrosity!