Zimbabwe is in economic mess; with unemployment soaring to 90% plus, ¾ of our people living on US$1.00 or less, etc., etc.; because for the last 38 years the nation has been stuck with a regime that has allowed mismanagement and corruption to grow and spread into life-threatening cancerous tumours. Although the people came to the conclusion two decades ago, at the latest, that Zanu PF leaders are incompetent and corrupt, they promised mass prosperity, “gutsva ruzhinji”, but were delivering mass poverty. Still the people have since realised that they could not remove the Zanu PF thugs from power because they rig the vote.
The 2008 elections showed the nation and the world at large the extend of Zanu PF’s vote rigging ability. In the March vote Tsvangirai polled 73% of the votes, by Mugabe’s own inadvertent admission. The party ordered ZEC to recount the votes and after six weeks Tsvangirai’s votes were whittled to 47%, forcing a run-off.
In the run-off Mugabe unleashed its party thugs and war veterans backed by the Army, Police and CIO personal to punish the people for having rejected him and Zanu PF in the March vote. Millions of people were harassed, beaten and/or raped and over 500 were murdered in the wanton and barbaric violence that followed.
“Zanu PF has declared war on the people,” said Tsvangirai as he announced his forced withdrawal from the race.
The 2008 elections were a watershed in Zimbabwe; after all that blatant cheating and wanton barbarism there was no question of Zimbabwe ever holding free, fair and credible without first taking away Zanu PF’s carte blanche powers to rig the vote.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had the golden opportunity to implement the raft of democratic reforms, proposed by SADC leaders in the 2008 Global Political Agreement, which would have stripped away Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers allowing State Institutions like ZEC, Police, etc. to carrying out their statutory duty of ensuring free, fair and credible elections. The nation held the 2013 elections with no reform in place and, as expected, Zanu PF rigged the vote. In like manner, Zanu PF is set to rig this year’s elections and people like the new ZEC chairperson, Justice Chigumba, know it.
“ZEC had submitted a budget of about $148 million to fund the elections and Treasury has committed to giving ZEC $98 million. There is a budget deficit and ZEC can only do that which is possible to do within the limited funds that it has,” Justice Chigumba told delegates attending a workshop hosted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice. The workshop will come up with resolutions which the committee with get parliament to act on and thus ensure free, fair and credible elections.
“We appreciate all the efforts made by Government and Treasury to avail resources,” she said.
“325 Funding of constitutional bodies and other institutions
1) The Government must ensure that adequate funds are provided –
a) To the Commissions and other institutions established by this Constitution, to enable them to perform their functions effectively;”
It is no secret that in the 2013 elections the number of Polling Stations was increased from 2 000 to 9 000, for example. There were reports that there were no ZEC personal in attendance at some of these Polling Stations. How can ZEC be certain the conduct of the voting at these Polling Stations were above board when there are no ZEC staff to supervise the process?
So, Justice Chigumba, if Government and Treasury DOES NOT avail the $148 million, ZEC will once again find itself inadequately resourced to carry out its duties.
For the record, it is clear that it was not ZEC who increased the number of Polling Stations from 2 000 to 9 000; no prizes for guessing who did and why. The opposition were only told of the additional Polling Stations just days before voting and so they had to scramble to get a presentative.
The regime has always found the additional manpower to man the additional Polling Stations, for example, proof the money is there. The important thing to note here is that the work ZEC is supposed to do is being done by people the commission has no control over.
How can the nation have any confidence in ZEC delivering a free, fair and credible election when the commission has only got control over 64% of its budget and is forced to farm out so of its duties Zanu PF (one of the contestant in the election) who even have the cheek increase the number of Polling Stations willy-nilly, just to suit the party’s vote rigging schemes!
It is not so much that we do not know that it is impossible to hold free, fair and credible elections without first implementing the democratic reforms; we know that, the 2008 elections settled that beyond debate. The only reason we continue going through the motion of holding elections whose result we already know has been rigged is because we have officials like Justice Chigumba who are paid, and paid well, to sustain the fraud!