Opinion: No Electoral Reforms are the remedy ZANU-PF needs now, but not what Zimbabwe needs!
We knew that it would come to this, as the Zimbabwe Parliament had the tabled amendments to secure more transparency and secure the electoral process in the in-coming elections. The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) would muster resistance against that. Because that would shoulder more open and transparent effort for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is an electoral body appointed by the ruling regime and they want to deliver for the ruling regime. That is why there is need for electoral reforms, that the regime has no interests in changing. All of that will weaken the party even more.
That is why the 8th May Plenary Sessions with the Amendments from Hon. Gonse of the Electoral Law was important. Even as the Zanu-PF was working hard against it. That is why the end-game was postponing a clear vote on the amendments and sending it to the Committee for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As a way of shelving the ideas and putting it to the side. Because Zanu-PF cannot reform itself. That can only happen if Gen. Chiwenga orders the army to switch the leadership again.
We know that the Minister Ziyambi fears electoral reforms, that was evident with the statement like this:
“However, I reject the submission that we replace Section 157 of the Act. It proves an unwelcome burden on the Electoral Court to disqualify from future elections candidates alleged to have committed electoral malpractices. The Electoral Court, Hon. Members, is not a criminal court. If you want to disqualify me or perhaps Hon. Gonese to withstand from future elections on the basis of mere allegations, it is better for that issue to be adjudicated by the criminal courts and not the Electoral Court. Let the convicting court make the decision on the basis of facts before it” (Hon. Ziambi, 08.05.2018).
We see the significant differences with the opposition as Hon. Gonse answered this:
“Electoral court may disqualify persons responsible for electoral malpractices and it is very clear, we are saying if a person who is either a candidate or an agent of a candidate or an office bearer of a political party is convicted by any court, we are not talking of allegations here. We are talking of a person who has been convicted. We want to deal with the culture of impunity. People have been doing it and they have been repeating it knowing that no drastic consequences will befall them. We want to ensure that if people are aware that if they do any of these things, if they engage in violence for example or any other malpractice, whether it is bribery, intimidation and so on, they know that the consequences are so drastic and again, the Electoral Court is now given sufficient power to decide which are the more grave offences” (Hon. Gonse, 08.05.2018).
That is the major reason for why there are no wishes or changes of Electoral Laws before the Elections that is coming up. Because Zanu-PF have no interests in changing this. They fine the way it is. Zanu-PF can live with it, they can rig it and secure it for the Zanu-PF Politburo. Because at this point, the election is all in favor of Zanu-PF, even if they are not as organized as they thought they were. They are a bit shaky after the hectic and shambolic primaries. However, they will pull out all the guns to secure the Lascoste and the new elite another term in office. Legitimize it and eat of the plate a little while longer.
But they will not change laws few months ahead of the elections, take away the mandate of ZEC and give way to opposition voices now. They are slowly preparing for another term, this time not by the military, but by the ballots. Even if they are rigged and fixed to be altered to the narrative the Zanu-PF needs. As Mnangagwa lies to make beautiful puff-pieces in the Herald. The reality, is they are gearing up for another show-down and will not accept any interference in it. That is why the Amendments are sent to Committee, the Zanu-PF cannot change now, they are on the way to another term. A term they will get into no matter what it costs, as they are doling out SUVs, paying of people and securing loyalty in and outside the country. Peace.