Tuesday, 2 February 2016

For free and fair elections, Chamboko should be calling for GPA, not electoral law, reforms. By Patrick Guramatunhu


Moses Chamboko if you are serious about holding free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe then it is the GPA democratic reforms you should implement and not Morgan Tsvangirai’s electoral law reform! There is a world of difference between the two reforms; the former will deliver the free elections whereas the latter will never ever do any such thing.

 

 

“Soon, there will be challenges in court or in the streets regarding electoral reforms, something that is fully addressed by the constitution which you and your government refuse or resist to implement. How many times have Zimbabweans called for security sector and media reforms to the extent that they even put these into the constitution? What have you done about it? Nothing!” wrote Moses in his Bulawayo 24 opinion article.

 

The truth is, there is nothing in the weak and feeble new constitution to force the Police, for example, to do the work of maintaining law and order without fear or favour especially when it comes to dealing with politically motivated violence.  Yes it calls on the Police to act in “a none partisan manner” but it also gives the State President the power to formulate and implement the “security policy” to maintain law and order. The Police Commissioner and his/her team tasked to implement the security policy are all appointed by the State President and are accountable to him/her alone.

 

So the independence of the Police has been compromised and so too the need for democratic check and balance. So even if the present the present laws affecting the operation of the Police a update in line with the new constitution we will still have the Police banning public demonstrations and opposition rallies whilst ruling party rallies are granted Police escort, etc.

 

 

MDC made a big song and dance about the new constitution calling it an “MDC child” and; to get the people to approve it in the March 2013 referendum; they promised it would deliver free, fair and credible elections. We all know the elections later that year were rigged. Still, instead of admitting the new constitution is weak Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders have since the rigged July 2013 been calling on Zanu PF implement electoral law reform or, in layman’s language, realign the existing laws to match the stipulations in the new constitution.

 

As stated above the realignment would still not give the Police the independence, etc. they need because the new constitution failed to deliver these things as shown above. These deficiencies can only be redressed by reverting back and implementing the 2008 GPA democratic reforms – reforms MDC failed to implement during the GNU.

 

The new constitution is weak and feeble and not the democratic constitution it was meant to be. President Mugabe “dictated the new constitution”; boasted Paul Mangwana, who was the Zanu PF co-chairman of the committee tasked to write the new constitution; and judging from the way he bullied and bamboozled everyone throughout the drafting period it is not surprising to hear that. President Mugabe is a tyrant and it is na├»ve to expect him to dictate a democratic constitution!

 

 

MDC leaders are deluding the people with the false promise that implementing the electoral law reforms will deliver free and fair elections just as they did during the GNU with the promise that the new constitution would do the same.

 
The people of Zimbabwe have been denied their basic freedoms and human rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections for 36 years, these was a deliverable on 18 April 1980. We must demand the implementation of the GPA reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and restore the people’s freedoms and rights and not waste time on electoral reforms that will change nothing.

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