Sunday, 11 February 2018

"Political polarisation fans violence," argue ZEC chairperson - paid to enforce rules and promote democracy N Garikai

Some people have said that no one with half a brain and committed to delivering free, fair and credible elections would ever accept being appointed in any capacity in Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC); not until the democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) are implemented. Without the reforms the commission is just a toothless and voiceless Chihuahua guarding a field from marauding herd of elephants.

President Mnangagwa appointed Justice Priscilla Chigumba ZEC chairperson to replace Rita Makarau. If our new ZEC Chihuahua thought she was going impressed anyone with her shrew squeak she could not have been more disappointing.

“Past elections in Zimbabwe have been conducted under a politically polarised environment. This was clear even in the biased media reports in previous elections. The issue of polarisation is one which I see as a major challenge to the electoral environment as it potentially fans politically motivated violence and lack of tolerance by opposing parties,” wrote Chigumba in Zimeye opinion.

“I, therefore, intend to continue engagement with all the stakeholders, especially the political parties, to encourage them to adhere to their code of conduct for the avoidance of potentially dangerous confrontation.”

Zimbabwe’s a multi-party democracy, at least it should be, and per se will be politically polarised. As an experience lawyer and judge, one would have thought she would be familiar with the adversarial contest in the court room; the rigorous testing of the other side’s case and surgical cross-examination of every detail has never resulted in a free for all brawl but the opposite – delivered the whole truth and nothing but the truth and thus justice.

Similarly, the multi-party system can help deliver a good government by making sure every policy is closely scrutinised and those in positions of power and authority are held to account at all times. The reason why there has been violence and mayhem in our politics is because those in power have deliberately corrupted the system to stifle debate and democratic competition to create a de facto one-party state for the selfish purpose of enjoying absolute power and the influence and wealth that it brings.

ZEC’s primary purpose is to make sure the elections are conducted in such a manner as to deliver free, fair and verifiable elections in keeping with the country’s multi-party democratic values and NOT the de facto one-party system Zanu PF has imposed on the nation.

The reason why everyone has been calling to the implementation of the raft of democratic reforms agreed in the GPA is because it is not only up to ZEC alone to stop the political violence, for example. ZEC will need the Police to investigate and arrest all those responsible for political violence. Justice Chigumba should know that the ZRP have very rarely arrested Zanu PF thugs accused of violence, Indeed, ZRP officers have even arrested the opposition members even when they are clearly the victims!

The July 2013 elections were relatively peaceful because Zanu PF was able to blatantly rig the vote. ZEC failed to produce a verified voters’ roll before the elections, this is a legal requirement, and Zanu PF was able to deny many people the vote because their details were not in the constituency voters’ roll they expected. Meanwhile, the regime was able bus its supporters from one polling station to the next casting multiple votes. Zanu PF would have not got away with this if ZEC had produced a verifiable voters’ roll.

The new BVR registration exercise should have started no later than January 2015, only started September 2017 and will stop end of this week. Millions will be denied the vote because there was no time to register them. Worse still there is no way ZEC will be able to produce a verified voters’ roll.

There is no way the elections can ever be free, fair and credible when there is no verified voters’ roll. It would be easier for a Chihuahua to wrap its jaw round an elephant’s foot that to hold credible elections with no way of verifying who is eligible to vote, who voted, etc.

“The other challenge, as I am advised, may be the issue of resources. I understand that the Commission submitted to Treasury a budget of US$148 million for conducting elections, and Treasury has committed to funding approximately US$98 million of the said budget,” continued Justice Chigumba.

“I will continue to engage the State to ensure that adequate resources are availed so that the Commission is able to deliver on its constitutional mandate and to maintain its dignity and independence.”

Many people believe Zanu PF will spend as much as $10 billion in bankrolling all its vote rigging schemes. The party splashed $12 million on new twin cab trucks for Chiefs, for example. Making sure ZEC is starved of funds is a deliberate act to designed to undermine the commission, its effectiveness and independence.

ZEC, Police and all the other compromised public officials are paid and paid well to cooperate with Zanu PF’s no-regime-change agenda. They go through the motions of fulfilling their set public duties of delivering free and fair elections or whatever. People like ZEC chairperson, Chigumba, should not insult our intelligence by pretending there is dignity in selling out the nation.

To start with, the country cannot afford this criminal waste of money on an election process everyone knows in flawed and illegal.

“Zimbabwe needs an estimated US$65 million weekly for drugs but treasury can only disburse US$3 million weekly,” according to James Thompson, in Spotlight Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is in this economic mess which has seen unemployment rate soaring to 90%, basic service like health and education collapse, 72.3% of our live on US$1.00 or less a day, etc. all because the nation has been stuck with this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship for 38 years. Zimbabwe cannot afford yet another rigged election and yet, thanks to our breathtakingly incompetent and corrupt public officials like Justice Chigumba, that is exactly where we are going.


  1. @ Chigumba

    “The issue of polarisation is one which I see as a major challenge to the electoral environment as it potentially fans politically motivated violence and lack of tolerance by opposing parties,” you say.

    “I, therefore, intend to continue engagement with all the stakeholders, especially the political parties, to encourage them to adhere to their code of conduct for the avoidance of potentially dangerous confrontation.”

    This is the nonsense we have heard from Zanu PF all these year and has us all stuck in this political and economic hell-on-earth!

    It is nonsensical to even suggest that the problem of political violence is the fault of both the ruling party, Zanu PF and the opposition (in the same way violence within Zanu PF or each individual opposition party) for two reasons:

    1) Zanu PF supporters instigate the violence by seeking to disrupt opposition activities or seek out opposition members to punish them for belonging to the opposition.

    2) Zanu PF government has undermined public institutions like the Police, Judiciary and ZEC by putting pressure on the officials to let party members accused of politically motivate violence to go unpunished whilst demanding the full force of the law on opposition members accused of the same thing. Zanu PF thugs are above the law.

    Of course, Zimbabwe’s culture of political violence has been institutionalised that is why it is naïve for anyone to think they can stop the violence without implementing the democratic reforms designed to restore the independence and effectiveness of the Police, ZEC, etc. This is exactly the reason why SADC leaders forced President Mugabe to agree to implementing the reforms following the 2008 rigged elections.

    It is one thing to believe the ordinary Zimbabwean did not have a clue what the GNU was about but surely someone like Justice Chigumba must know about the democratic reforms. For her to be wittering about “engaging with all the stakeholders, especially the political parties,” as a solution to ending the political violence is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe and to the hundreds of thousands of the victims of political violence!

    Justice Chugamba is paid and paid well to sit there and look pretty and do nothing to interfere with Zanu PF’s various vote rigging programmes. She should shut her trap and not insult the nation too!

  2. The wheels of justice turn very slowly, sometimes one is fooled into believing they have stopped. Wicknell Chivayo never thought the day will come when he will be asked to account for his wickedness. The day has come; justice has caughtup with him!

    I remember a photograph of Wicknell winning and dinning Bona Mugabe and her friends - she has gone into hidding and would disown him even if she was around! She helped him spend the money but now that he is in trouble, she will not evenhave a sight of sympathy for him!

    He can produce the receipt of the over 350 new shoes but I do not think that will be what the court wants to see!

  3. Asking people to continue to register to vote will do nothing to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections. Zanu PF has stubbornly refused to implement even one democratic reform and the party's vote rigging machinery is already in overdrive.

    SADC leaders have already said the opposition should not take part in flawed elections and it is foolish to do so! People like Ngarivhume are fighting over the few gravy train seats Zanu PF gives away and they do not care that Zimbabwe is stuck with this corrupt and incompetent Zanu PF dictatorship. He and his fellow opposition members care about themselves and do not give a damn about others. They do not care that millions of our people will be frog marched to vote for Zanu PF or, worse still, that the nation will sink even deeper into this hell-on-earth if we have yet another rigged election.

  4. The MDC Alliance coalition has declared the Harare East Constituency seat reserved for Biti in terms of the coalition agreement. However, MDC-T national spokesperson Obert Gutu has declared that he will defy the coalition and contest the seat against Biti.
    The only reason Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube swallowed their pride and agreed to accept Morgan Tsvangirai as their leader was because they are desperate to win a gravy train seat. They had finally accepted the reality that their chance of winning a seat is very small if they are contesting against Zanu PF and MDC-T candidates. They had hoped joining the MDC Alliance would secure them the MDC-T votes. The prospect of an MDC-T candidate in most if not all the constituencies allocated to the two gentlemen’s parties is looming large!

  5. ZEC like many other public institutions like Police, Judiciary, Public Media, etc. have been corrupted and politicised so much so that it is nothing more than a department of Zanu PF with a public institution name, a wolf in sheep's coat. Anyone who thinks that ZEC could ever deliver free, fair and credible elections must first answer whether Zanu PF wants free and fair elections especially when the party knows it will lose such elections.

    If the answer is yes, Zanu PF will risk losing power in a free and fair election, their looted wealth and, worst of all, having the corrupt and murderous past finally thrown open for the whole world to see. All I can say is the person is extremely naïve!

    If the answer is no, Zanu PF will not risk losing power; then ZEC, being a department of Zanu PF, will play its part in ensuring a landslide Zanu PF victory.

    Whilst individual members of ZEC may wish for free and fair elections, Zanu PF will appoint them commissioners only for the purpose of giving ZEC some credibility. The party will see to it that the individual is never given the opportunity to stop it carrying out its devious scheme. Starving ZEC of the funding and then let a shadowy ZEC carry out tasks is one way.

    Since the 2008 elections when Zanu PF was forced to show the sickening extend of its influence in ZEC's work; no one can pretend not to know that ZEC, as it is presently constituted, will never ever deliver free and fair elections. So, anyone who accepts being appointed in ZEC know they will be side lined, at best, and at worst they will be called upon to do Zanu PF's dirty work!

    Yes, Justice Chigumba is insulting us by pretending she can deliver free and fair elections when we all know she there for the generous package Zanu PF will pay her to pretend!

    We are in this hell-hole because Zanu PF is a party of sell-out thugs. We have failed to remove Zanu PF from office because MDC leaders sold-out on reforms during the GNU. Right now, we can force Zanu PF to revisit the reforms and stop throwing away $98 million on a flawed election if we can get the opposition to boycott flawed elections, get people like Chigumba to refuse to serve in unreformed ZEC, etc.

    Zimbabwe's greatest curse is that the nation should have so many sell-outs. God forbid, we certainly have more than our fair share of sell-outs alright.