Reforms, reforms, reforms

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Nelson Chamisa

IT has been the week that the Zanu PF second-in-command’s daughter was appointed as a ZEC commissioner; the same week that the Zanu PF national spokesperson bragged that the national army was part of their party structures.

It has been the week in which a video has gone viral in which a Zanu PF supporter says Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa must be killed; and in which yet another party mandarin quips that Chamisa’s children too must be eliminated.

Emmerson Mnangagwa’s blood–soaked legacy as well as the callous murders of Nyasha Zhambe, Mboneni Ncube and Moreblessings Ali mean that the threats must be taken seriously.

Exactly a year to go before the next watershed poll, the signs are clear we are headed for yet another sham unless the country implements a raft of comprehensive reforms to ensure a truly free, fair and credible poll.

It is in this context that we have called for a special kind of dialogue to discuss and agree on the raft of reforms to be implemented so as to ensure a credible poll. We have dubbed the reform agreement PREPARE, which is an acronym for Pre-Election Pact for Reforms.

There has in the past weeks been regime change in both the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, well outside the electoral process.

Zimbabweans still retain some waning faith in elections, but if the regime continues to throw spanners and to rig the electoral route, the citizens retain their right to siege the State House showers and to bathe there as they reportedly did in Sri Lanka when they chased their incompetent leader from the citizens’ sacred House.

After all, the citizens are the State and there are always no qualms if they storm the State House in order to occupy it. After all, it is their house!

As part of my civic responsibilities as a citizen and in light of the regime’s clear intention to subvert the people’s will in 2023, I republish in the public interest an earlier piece I wrote on December 31, 2021 which spells out in greater detail the issues that need to be addressed if we are to have a credible plebiscite in 2023; an election that reflects the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe.

Electoral reform must be the uninterrupted national chorus for the year 2022.

As we bask on the cusp of a new year, Zimbabweans appear to have gone agog about the pending by-elections and what many deem to be the watershed plebiscite of 2023. And yet for some of us, highly expectant conversations about the pending elections that are not grounded on context are a false discourse.

The proper discourse should be about agreeing and implementing a raft of comprehensive reforms so that we break the vicious cycle of disputed elections that has afflicted this country since independence in 1980.

As we commence this crucial year, the nation should engage in animated conversations not about elections per se but about the quality and character of those elections so that this important exercise of choosing our national and local government leaders ceases to be a meaningless ritual.

For, it is only the implementation of agreed reforms that can afford us herd immunity against the unfolding pandemic of illegitimacy that has now affected all pillars of the State. Indeed, we now have an illegitimate Executive headed by an illegitimate President, an illegitimate Judiciary headed by a disputed and illegitimate Chief Justice as well as an illegitimate Parliament where representatives legitimately elected by the people have been recalled through murky agents and processes. The spectre of illegitimacy has now permeated all facets of the body politic and only a truly free, fair and credible plebiscite undergirded by a raft of comprehensive reforms can take us back to an uninterrupted path to legitimacy.

Today, on the eve of the year 2022, the talk should not be simply about the pending by-elections or the forthcoming 2023 watershed polls. The deeper discourse should be about a basket of cogent reforms to ensure that our electoral processes do not continue to breed contested outcomes.

We have walked this tenuous road before and we must now move to the deeper discourse of the character and nature of our national elections. It is not enough to fulfill a calendar assignment when it comes to the holding of elections.

Meaningful elections must embed the undisputed sovereign expression of the people. Therefore, it is nationally profitable for the reform discourse to now start dominating all public platforms in Zimbabwe.

Without substantive electoral reforms in this country, our elections will continue to be a meaningless charade.