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Good Day Mr President: You’ve rendered yourself an accomplice in electoral fraud

Opinion & Analysis
Already, the atmosphere is not conducive to the holding of credible elections.

YOUR Excellency, methinks it was complicity on your part to accept a delimitation report that was disowned by the majority of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) commissioners.

As I see it, it was injurious to democracy that you embraced it, yet the report did not have the confidence of seven of the nine commissioners.

Essentially, you rendered yourself an accomplice in the electoral malpractice and disputations that are destined to arise.

Although there are no provisions which mandate commissioners to have consensus, a conscientious leader, guided by ethics, would not have accepted a report that was endorsed by only two of the nine commissioners.

Given the arguments that followed your acceptance of the report, the anticipated August harmonised elections are obviously bound to fail the credibility test.

Like all others before them, they are destined to be disputed. Already, the atmosphere is not conducive to the holding of credible elections.

The prevalence of threats and hate speech, even within Zanu PF, does not signify tolerance.

It ruffles me that you threatened unspecified consequences to Zanu PF cadres for being disloyal to the party and your leadership.

Addressing a Zanu PF meeting in Mhondoro on the backdrop of the disputed intraparty primary elections, your threat to ruthlessly crush party rebels appeared to me as constituting the crime of inciting violence.

Ordinarily, in a functional democracy, leaders derive legitimacy from the rank and file membership.

They dare not rave about meting out unspecified ruthless action on the membership for holding divergent views. These threats deprive citizens the right to choose.

Threats are an anathema to democracy. Yet they are on the increase. Recently, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also a politburo member, threatened would-be party rebels that they would be recalled from Parliament if they dared to impeach you.

Addressing a Zanu PF inter-district meeting at Banket Sports Club, Ziyambi warned prospective party legislators against supporting a motion to impeach you.

“There is no one who can remove the President without Zanu PF coughing. If you go to Parliament and think you will join others and try to do what they call impeachment, we will simply write a recall letter and force for a by-election,” he said.

Given the partisanship of State institutions, Zec stands above the rest in its zeal for partiality.

Ever since a former Zec chairperson slumped on her knees before the deposed late former President Robert Mugabe, subservience became the norm.

Its conduct does not convey the spirit of inclusivity and sensitivity to all the other stakeholders, save for Zanu PF and government.

Oftentimes the opposition has to approach the courts as a last resort to access the voters roll.

Last year, Zec raised nomination fees for aspiring presidential candidates from US$1 000 to US$20 000 and that of aspiring parliamentarians, senators and councillors by 100%, from US$50 to US$100.

Given that these fees are beyond the reach of the generality of the citizenry, these hikes have a negative effect on citizens’ participation in elections.

Your Excellency, my take as we count down to the harmonised elections scheduled for August is that there are no prospects of credible and conclusive polls.

Duly, the culture of holding free and fair elections is conspicuous by its absence in Zimbabwe.

Inherent in your statement that this year’s elections will be credible is an acknowledgement that all previous ones were fraudulent, hence the history of disputed outcomes.

Contrary to the spirit of democracy, intimidation and manipulation are a salient feature of our elections.

As your presidential term turns full circle, the new Zimbabwe you promised is yet to dawn. Rather, the late Robert Mugabe’s despotism is being replicated. Duly, citizenry yearn to sing the Negro spiritual refrain: “Free! Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa recently pleaded: “Let the citizens freely, peacefully and independently decide and choose their leaders.” His plea was in response to the unmitigated curtailment of freedoms through constitutional amendments.

His plea was in tandem with the observations of African Development Bank president Akinwuni Adesina. Speaking in Harare at the dialogue forum on arrears clearance and debt resolution for Zimbabwe recently, he said: “The problems bedevilling Zimbabwe were not just economic or financial. They involved governance, rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, political level playing field, electoral reforms that will assure free and fair elections.”

As I see it, all the factors Adesina mentioned are the requisite building blocks of a new Zimbabwe. His counsel that the best way to solve problems is through dialogue, listening and respecting all voices, transparency and commitment to narrowing differences and divergences and reaching consensus on concrete actions to be implemented is stately.

Your Exellency, it is my earnest prayer that after Adesina said Zimbabweans have suffered enough, your conscience will be awakened.

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