THE demands by the opposition MDC Alliance for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to implement 10 electoral reforms ahead of this year’s general elections are well in order as previously they have proved to be sham elections.
It is clear that MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa’s expectations are not out of this world, but these could be minimal demands that at least show that Mnangagwa is a reformist keen to let the country take a different trajectory of development.
If some of these demands are taken care of then the country, and in particular Mnangagwa, will derive much capital from that mere action.
We believe that there are so many considerations that Mnangagwa would make, but he must match his mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”. How can Zimbabwe be open for business if he’s not prepared to reform? Why should international investors put their money in Zimbabwe, will their investment be safe?
Some of the reasons for reform are that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is signalling left but turning right. The fact that Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, recently accompanied Zanu PF chefs including an advisor to the President on their Russian trip of shame is worrisome. Something needs to happen to remedy that act of commission or omission.
At the same time, we urge Chamisa to engage rather than be antagonistic at a time Zimbabweans are keen to vote in the forthcoming elections. The opposition leader should, however, remain resolute and sell his alliance’s Plan and Environment for a Credible Election in Zimbabwe (Peace) document, which outlines the coalition’s 10 electoral demands.
We urge all political players to converge on this important matter and push government to level the playing field for purposes of free and fair elections. This election should produce an uncontested result, as opposed to all elections presided over by former President Robert Mugabe over the last 37 years.
It is time Zimbabweans are allowed to move forward by voting freely, and their wishes upheld. The international observers, foreign governments, Sadc and the African Union should ensure agreed electoral protocols are upheld. Also media reforms, which are key to every election, should be dealt with before the elections.
No doubt that Zimbabwe has re-established international goodwill and hence, Mnangagwa should not lose sight of this important factor, a door that can be closed to the detriment of the country’s image, and relations –both keys to international capital.
We hope that Mnangagwa would move with speed to implement the demanded reforms to ensure we do not produce yet another disputed poll.