Village Rhapsody: Zimbabwe decides 2023: The silly season is upon us

Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Preparations for Zimbabwe’s 2023 presidential elections are gathering pace with many significant events in the poll calendar already taking place.

From the preliminary delimitation report that divided the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) with seven commissioners disassociating themselves from it, to issues of political violence, the stage has been set for a hot contestation.

Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba on Friday handed over the final delimitation report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for the proclamation of election dates.

Despite the heated discussions sparked by the delimitation report, Zec has chosen not to make public the suggestions that Mnangagwa made on the creation of new wards and constituency boundaries.

Predictably, Zec’s conduct has raised   eyebrows with opposition parties and civil society organisations raising fears that it is part of a ploy to rig the elections in favour of Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu PF.

As a result of the ridiculous charges set by Zec for those who want to access the national voters roll, the opposition and other election watchdogs are unable to obtain the voter's roll, which was  used in the delimitation process.

The independence of the electoral body has been questioned for years because of the usually opaque nature of its operations.

The delimitation report is likely a fraudulent document intended to further the goals of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Zec deliberately did this to prevent electoral watchdogs and the opposition from accessing the voters' roll.

The opposition finds it extremely challenging to validate the delimitation report since they lack the statistics Zec may have utilised in the delimitation exercise.

However, all this commotion will end in a few weeks when we are introduced to a new topic to divert our attention.

It is all about buying time for the much-awaited general 2023 election.

However, like Shannon L. Alder said, “Don't waste your time trying to provide people with proof of deceit, in order to keep their love, win their love or salvage their respect for you.

“The truth is this: If they care they will go out of their way to learn the truth.

“If they don't then they really don't value you as a human being.

“The moment you have to sell people on who you are is the moment you let yourself believe that every good thing you have ever done or accomplished was invisible to the world.

“And, it is not!”

Alder’s words captured the state of Zimbabwe’s administration towards the 2023 election.

Enter Lukashenko…

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was last week welcomed at Robert Gabriel International Airport by Mnangagwa and overly enthusiastic Zanu PF supporters who ended up being physically assaulted by riot police.

Mnangagwa missed the Southern African Development Community extraordinary organ troika summit, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia to host Lukashenko.

The Windhoek summit covered the state of peace and security in the region, with a particular focus on the political and security situations in the region.

Looking at the current political environment in Zimbabwe, this was an important trip for Mnangagwa, but the manner in which he prepared to host Lukashenko giving him a ‘god’ status is questionable.

Everything was just unusual from the beginning and we await to see what our visitors from Minsk really wanted in Zimbabwe.

Lukashenko had a lot to say about upcoming elections, including repeating Zanu PF propaganda that the West still wants to recolonise Zimbabwe.

We will hear a lot of that gibberish as we head towards the elections and the gullible will obviously swallow it hook, line and sinker.

The controversial Private Voluntary Organisations Act Amendment Bill, which has been criticised by opposition parties and civic groups went ahas gone a step closer to becoming law after sailing through the Senate.

Mnangagwa's administration has literally locked the democratic doors that might lead to a better Zimbabwe.

Along with preventing the funding of non-governmental organisations, this can also limit the opposition's ability to receive public support.

The bill was ostensibly crafted to deal with the threat of “terrorist financing”, but  that was debunked by United Nations experts.

If Mnangagwa signs the Bill into law as expected, Zimbabwe will move closer to regaining its tag as a pariah state, which it under during the reign of the former president Robert Mugabe.

It is true that “There are two kinds of politicians on Earth: Those who expand the freedoms and those who restrict them!

“The second group has no chance to triumph and they will always be remembered as spooky characters from a horror movie!” 

Mehment Murat may have crafted this statement with Zimbabwe in mind.

 *Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. For feedback email: [email protected] or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19


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