BY MOSES MATENGA
ZANU PF acting national commissar Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said holding by-elections barely a year to the 2023 harmonised polls was a waste of time and resources.
This came after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Wednesday that by-elections, which have been pending since June 2020 following the recall of 133 MDC Alliance MPs and councillors, would now be held early next year.
But Chinamasa said: “Zanu PF wishes it to be known loud and clear that it is ready to wallop opposition parties by whatever name called and will take no prisoners.”
“But it must be put on record that the by-elections, when promulgated will take place with barely a year to go before the 2023 harmonised elections, a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”
He added: “Notwithstanding, it is, however, Zanu PF’s primary revolutionary duty to politically bury counter-revolutionary, anti-people sanctions seeking, political sellout outfits masquerading as democratic change makers and this duty has to be performed anytime anywhere.”
MDC Alliance, however, said the by-elections were likely to produce a disputed outcome if held before implementation of electoral reforms.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said proclamation of an election date should have been accompanied by reforms.
“The consistent position that has been taken by the MDC Alliance is that any proclamation for elections must be accompanied by a clear reform roadmap that paves the way for an undisputed election,” Mahere told NewsDay.
“The bad governance and legitimacy crisis that continues to plague Mr Mnangagwa’s regime is a direct result of the disputed election of 2018. Their failure to deliver basic services, including public health, education, housing, water and food security as well as the attendant broken economy stem from the fact that they are not a people’s government.”
Mahere said the “broken social contract” could only be mended by electoral reforms before holding of free and fair elections.
“This is the only way to solve the bad governance crisis in Zimbabwe,” she added.
“This is why we continue to champion a reform agenda on behalf of the citizens. To this end, we reiterate our call for the alignment of electoral laws to the Constitution, the full implementation of existing electoral laws, especially as they pertain to State media, the full disbandment of the partisan and militarised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat.”
Mahere, whose party was snubbed by Zec in September for stakeholder consultations as the electoral body waited for orders “from above”, demanded bona fide engagement with the institution.
“To set an election date without addressing the vexed electoral reform question is to put the cart before the horse. The need for reforms is non-negotiable.”
The Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube said elections without reforms would produce a disputed outcome.
“We are comfortable with elections coming. We were ready for elections when we made the recalls, however, it must always be known that we believe we need electoral reforms before any elections can take place,” Dube said.
“There is enough time to effect those reforms so that we don’t have a broken record whereby after every election there is always the question of legitimacy hanging over our political horizon.”
Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said the ruling party was ready for polls which he said would be a rehearsal of the 2023 elections.
“For us, we want to see how much we are prepared for 2023 and our target of five million votes not that they will change anything, they will not change anything.”
By-elections were necessitated by deaths of some elected officials and recall of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors by Mwonzora’s outfit.
The MDC Alliance accused Mwonzora of working with Zanu PF to decimate the opposition by recalling its elected officials, grabbing its headquarters with the assistance of the military and trying to take over its party name as well.
Follow Moses on Twitter @mmatenga