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Invaluable lessons on how not to run elections

Zanu PF primary elections in Makoni

THE chaos that characterised the Zanu PF primary elections over the weekend is a serious concern, given that we expect better organisation of such affairs from a party that has been in power for the past 43 years and has been involved in eight major polls since it assumed power at independence in 1980.

For a party with such unequalled experience to be seen failing to do such basic things as timely delivery of ballot papers to polling stations — which resulted in the party extending voting over two days at majority of polling stations — and using a dubious voters roll for the primaries is so embarrassing that some of us shudder to imagine what is in store for the country come the August general polls.

We sincerely hope that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has learnt that this is definitely not the way to conduct a plebiscite.

There was absolutely no reason and excuse for the ruling party not to produce and deliver ballot papers to polling stations on time, given all the machinery (both old and new) — including human capital — abundantly at its disposal.

The party ended up extending voting simply because it dismally failed to do the simplest of things and we sincerely hope that this is not a harbinger of worse things to come in the August general elections. We beg Zec not to copy this disastrous way of running an election.

Headstrong as Zec appears to have become, it is most likely that the organisation may copy this outlandish way of running a poll and if, indeed, it replicates this disaster, then we might as well expect the mother of all chaotic elections.

Tell-tale signs that Zec might duplicate Zanu PF’s shambolic formula to organise polls are already there, given that the electoral body has been “hiding” the national voters roll from stakeholders and has since produced such a discredited delimitation report that it is rumoured that some polling stations in this year’s general elections are located in far-flung lands like the Antarctica.

For the sake of our fledgling democracy, we implore Zec to do its best not to duplicate the ruling party mess, because if it does, this will only mean that the August universal suffrage outcome will be disputed from the word go. It will not surprise us if names of some candidates are found missing on the voters roll on election day.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to keep holding disputed elections because it is slowing down the country’s socioeconomic development and buttressing its pariah State status.

While it is quite good that Zanu PF offered the nation a free invaluable lesson on how not to conduct a credible election, we wholeheartedly hope that Zec wises up and does not embarrass itself and the country by duplicating how the ruling party conducted its primaries.

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