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Another contested Zim election outcome is brewing

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs.

On January 17, 2023, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) hosted a Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Indaba on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) delimitation process and the general political environment ahead of the 2023 general elections

The CSOs Indaba interrogated the technical aspects of the 2023 general elections piercing the corporate veil to assess among others, the craft competence of the ZEC itself, the voters' roll, the preliminary delimitation report as well as the general political environment and their broad implications on the credibility of the upcoming polls.

 Various civil society actors noted that whilst Zimbabwe has had a history of elections with contested outcomes, the 2023 elections are emerging as disastrous.

Zimbabwe is confronted by a paradox.

Elections, which other things being equal, ought to be the people’s avenue to express themselves are in fact becoming enemies of sovereignty.

The fundamental right for people to freely elect their government is under threat.

Emphasis must be made that women, youths and children are disproportionately affected by this.

 It is also crucial to highlight that even amidst lots of doubt, the world including the African Union (AU) believed that the removal of the late President Robert Mugabe in November 2017 would usher in a period of democratic and economic consolidation.

However, the converse is reflecting.

The people’s electoral mandate is at risk as Zimbabweans, including some factions of the ruling Zanu PF party itself are under siege from a structured agency whose interest is power retention — political and economic — but just for the sake of it.

To be clear, the Coalition has already made its findings public, that the foundational management of the impending elections of 2023 is already fundamentally flawed; the glaring shortcomings of the present delimitation process and report are only the latest chapter in the slow and elaborative manipulation of elections and the electoral system, to favour the current political incumbents.

Key issues

The notes below summarise the key issues which combine to pass a negative verdict on the impending 2023 election, possibly over six months before it will be held.

Civil society stands by its position that the appointment of four Zec Commissioners who are closely related to the ruling party top officials, namely, Abigal Mohadi (daughter of Zanu PF’s vice president, Kembo Mohadi), Kudzai Shava (allegedly related to Foreign Affairs minister, Fredrick Shava), Catherine Mpofu (allegedly related to Zanu PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu) and Jasper Mangwana who is a known Zanu PF functionary and is related to Zanu  PF politiburo member, Paul Mangwana, breaches basic corporate governance tenets of independence of institutions and conflict of interest.

How can ruling Zanu PF party vice president Kembo Mohadi’s daughter vary an election result where her father and family have direct interest?

  1. The extreme determination not to publicise and share the voter’s roll in line with section 155 (2) (c) of the constitution is not just illegal, but very political.

This illegality makes the entire electoral process a sham, and an unfair contest with a predictable outcome.

  1. Zec’s deliberate errors of omission and slow speed in registering new voters is intentional.

Whilst the vote is sacrosanct and a virtue of our liberation struggle, we have every reason to worry that Zec is hell-bent on reversing this liberation virtue — the right for ordinary Zimbabweans to select a leadership of their choice without fear or manipulation.

  1. The current delimitation process for the 2023 election uses unverifiable mathematical formulae against the constitutionally set range of 20%.

The twinning of rural and urban wards within constituencies displays a clear attempt to gerrymander electoral boundaries; it further betrays the government’s own National Development Strategy objectives of building a middle-income economy by 2030.

The idea of devolution and equitable resource allocation is being traded for power retention.

5 Improvements to our electoral systems and process, as suggested through the constructive spirit of successive Sadc election observer missions, and more recently by the 2018 Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry continue to be ignored by the incumbent government; yet are essentially meant to help us cure the long-standing legitimacy question, which is a major retardant to economic development and national progress.

  1. Blood is back as Zimbabwe continues to witness political violence which is being perpetrated by the state and known Zanu PF functionaries against the country’s major opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and anyone else assumed to hold different political views.

The law is suspended as law enforcement institutions selectively apply the law and in fact, target victims and protect perpetrators of violence. This continues to breed impunity and a false sense of supremacy for the state’s storm troopers, and fear among ordinary citizens.

 7.The public media remains biased towards the ruling party as if supporting the ruling Zanu PF party is mandatory in Zimbabwe.

 The systematic disadvantage and exclusion of alternative opinions, sadly, does not just destroy Zimbabwe’s democracy, but dents prospects of accelerated economic development and progress.

The notes below summarise the key issues which combine to pass a negative verdict on the impending 2023 election, possibly over six months before it will be held.

In light of the above-mentioned electoral shortcomings, which present clear threats to national sovereignty, peace and economic progress, as envisaged in the national constitution, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition resolves:

a)To continue knocking on the doors and engage of all the relevant state institutions with a stake in the holding of a credible election – these include Zec, Parliament and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the police, the executive, among others – towards finding common ground to protect the right to vote- itself a virtue of our independence.

  1. b) Continue with peaceful mobilisation efforts within communities, to empower citizens to demand free, fair and credible polls.

This includes ensuring that citizens reject a flawed electoral process with pre- determined outcomes

  1. c) Intensify advocacy campaigns and diplomatic engagements at the regional and international level; it is a priority for the region to urgently assist Zimbabwe towards ending the cyclic challenge of electoral integrity and legitimacy, and help put Zimbabwe on a more sustainable path to inclusive national development and progress.

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