Friday, 13 April 2018

UK ask ED free election "commitments must be made real" - it is all too late for that Wilbert Mukori

“Zimbabweans must feel confident they can vote for the party of their choice,” said British Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

That is music to every peace-loving Zimbabwean who have waited a lifetime for their first chance ever to take part in a free, fair and credible election! But after a lifetime of betrayals and disappointments, it is prudent to ask how realistic is the expectation of these elections will be free and fair?

“A mango tree demands more effort to plant and nurture, but you have a realistic expectation of harvesting mangoes from it that from thorn trees that grow like weed!” my late mother often said.

There is enough evidence to show that President Mnangagwa and his coup junta have no intention of holding free, fair and credible. If the British are serious in suggesting otherwise then they are expecting a bushel full of mangoes from a thorn tree!

“Elections aren't far off in Zimbabwe - likely just three or four months away. The British Embassy and its partners here in Zimbabwe have welcomed the commitments of the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to ensure those elections are free, fair and violence-free. But commitments must be made real!” said the British statement.

“We and our partners continue to urge President Mnangagwa to implement the reforms necessary so that free and fair polls can be held and Zimbabweans can enjoy the future the deserve. As the UK's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, says, a successful election will be a "key milestone" in allowing Zimbabwe to return to normal economic and political relations with the international community.”

The underlining and bold on “But commitments must be made real!” was mine for emphasis. The commitment to implementing the democratic reforms has clearly been lacking here and, worse still, time has run out; whether the British and their partners care to admit this or not is irrelevant.

The democratic reforms we are talking about here were proposed and agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as a Zanu PF cabinet minister during the GNU, would have known what the reforms were and that not one reform was implemented in the five years of the GNU. So, if he really wanted to implement the reforms following the November coup that deposed Mugabe he would have hit the ground running!

We must be open and frank about this, the regime has not implemented even one reform because it does not want to implement any reforms.

Many of the reforms such as the those required to restore the independence and effectiveness of the Police, ZEC, etc. cannot be implemented in the remaining three or four months, even with all the good will in the world. Without a reformed and independent Police; with their power to investigate, arrest and arrest those responsible for politically motivated violence; it is impossible to give the electorate, especially those in the rural areas, the confidence the elections will be free of violence.

Even those reforms that can still be implemented now, at the eleventh hour, such as freeing the public media to give equal coverage to all political points of view; still one has to question whether that will make any meaningful difference.

It the truth must be said – and even if it means moving mountains, it must be said – it is impossible hold free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe without first implementing the democratic reforms designed to take away Zanu PF’s carte blanche powers to rig the vote. IMPOSSIBLE!

SADC asked both partners in the GNU Zanu PF and the MDC to postpone the 2013 elections until reforms are implemented. “If you go into the elections next month, you will lose; the elections are done,” they warned Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends.

Not even one reform was implement since the rigged July 2013 elections. Not one! The well-oiled, well-funded with billions of dollars looted from Marange diamonds, Zanu PF vote rigging juggernaut has gone through its gears and is now well and truly into overdrive. These “elections are done” and it is totally unrealistic to expect them to be free, fair and credible!

“As far as elections are concerned, support from the UK and other donors will allow domestic election bodies to carry out their critical work to provide oversight of the process and environment. Crucially, we've already supported a programme of litigation on election issues - to make sure that electoral practice is in line with the constitution,” concluded the statement.

Yeah, but to what end and purpose when we already know the elections is done. The continued participation of the opposition, civic society, donors and the electorate in a flawed and illegal election will only give the process credibility.

What the ordinary people of Zimbabwe want to hear is the truth; that it is impossible for these elections to be free, fair and credible, not with no reforms in place. As for President Mnangagwa and his coup junta they too must be told the truth: if you fail to deliver free and fair elections, you will not be allowed to get away with yet another election, then the process will be declared null and void.


  1. @ Noble Ngara

    "The considerable viewership and lack of attendant comments on this article means that people were attracted by the title and the pic, but on opening and discovering the author, they automatically moved on to other things. I have checked with at least 100 readers and they confirmed exactly the same thing--- some journalists vachanorisa mombe kumaruwa in the not so far future!" You say.

    I am sure they are some readers who would agree with you but try speaking to some of the 90% out of work or the ¾ of the population living on US$1.00 a day and understand that the "Zimbabwe is open for business!" call has had no takers; they will not agree with you. As for many journalists now herding cattle; well with unemployment at 90%, I am sure there are!

    By failing to implement the democratic reforms necessary for free and fair elections President Mnangagwa and his coup junta have secured their most cherished wish of no-regime-change but they must know that this comes with a price tag - they have just confirmed that Zimbabwe is still ruled by lawless thugs.

    I have not heard President Mnangagwa repeat his "Zimbabwe is open for business!" call all week. I will be listening to his speech on Independence Day on 18 April to see if he repeats the call. The truth is a Zimbabwe still ruled by thugs is not ready for business; as far as the investors are concerned, because investors do not do business with thugs!

    Holding free and fair elections is the pre-requisite, the key to unlock, Zimbabwe's economic recovery. President Mnangagwa thinks he can have his cake and eat it too; he wants the economic recovery but also keep Zanu PF's dictatorial powers; that will never ever happen!

    With 90% unemployment rate, ¾ of the people living in abject poverty, etc. Zimbabwe cannot afford to waste time going through a meaningless election process and another rig elections just so President Mnangagwa and his junta cahoots can another five years in power to gratify their insatiable appetite for power and loot!

  2. @ Panganai

    "Zimbabwe will become another Syria if Zanu PF refuses Chamisa to be next president," you say.

    You should be careful what you wish for because you might get it!

    It was none other than Nelson Chamisa and his fellow MDC friends who helped Zanu PF get back into power in 2013. The MDC leaders betrayed you, me and povo out there by failing to implement even one reform in the five years of the GNU. They sold-out! By insisting in participating in elections with no reforms in place MDC are once again making it easy for Zanu PF to rig the elections and stay in power.

    If you understood what happened during the GNU then you would not be talking about Chamisa being the next president for three reason:

    a) Why would you want some who has already betrayed you and sold-out president?

    b) You would know by taking part in these flawed elections you are giving the process legitimacy and therefore cannot complain of Zanu PF rigging. It is you who are stopping political change by foolishly participating is a flawed process when the logical thing is to demand the reforms before the elections.

    c) Another rig elections will mean the economic meltdown will continue and even get worse. The next regime change will have to be another coup or violent street protest which could well plunge Zimbabwe into the chaos gripping Syria and thus help you get what you are wishing for.