By Moses Chamboko
If there is any nation which suffers from amnesia, it is certainly not Zimbabwe.
While the timing for the next harmonised elections has become a mantra in both private and public media, the fact remains that there won’t be elections for as long as “toxic issues” remain unresolved.
Our collective memory informs us that on 15 September 2008, three principals, with Mbeki playing the devil’s advocate, signed a near-sacrosanct document that became known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The document has 25 articles in total and three are very fresh in our minds.
These are Articles 10, 12 and 13 which unequivocally address Free Political Activity, State Organs and Institutions and Freedom of Assembly and Association, respectively. These articles are not just an aspiration but a serious commitment to be fulfilled by all parties concerned.
Those who have been misinforming the nation about security sector reform should revisit Article 13 – State Organs and Institutions and tell us what is it they don’t understand in this article written in very simple terms.
Ongoing persecution of MDC supporters does not demonstrate that there is free political activity in Zimbabwe. Only people from certain parties enjoy freedom of assembly and association.
It is this blatant disregard for the GPA that has delayed elections and not the MDC’s fear of electoral defeat as some hoodlums would like us to believe. Had the GPA been consummated as expected, elections would have been history by now.
Suggesting otherwise is grossly mischievous if not a demeaning insinuation that Zimbabweans are forgetful morons. Even Thabo Mbeki, the shrewd GPA architect, must now be deeply disappointed if not ashamed. Over the years, ZANU PF had become used to calling for elections as and when they deemed fit.
Somebody needs to remind them that the ball game has changed and changed for good.
We all know that May will not be an election month since there is still much work to be done in terms of the new constitution and voter registration. There will not be elections in June for reasons that are already in the public domain.
July is a non-starter given that the nation will be seized with final preparations for the UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Falls. We don’t have the resources to hold elections and prepare for this great event in the same month.
Even if we did, Africa, particularly Sadc, would not allow this to happen as this would cast a dark shadow over the UNWTO Assembly. August is another non-starter as it is when the great event will be running.
Also, ZANU PF will be redirecting all energy, focus and meagre resources towards their Golden Jubilee to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ndabaningi Sithole-founded party. The fact that they seem to be very quiet about this celebration doesn’t mean they are not planning for it.
It will probably be President Mugabe’s last grand event as President of Zimbabwe. ZANU PF will never miss the opportunity of world cameras zooming in Zimbabwe thanks to the tourism event. They would also want to use the anniversary as a launch pad for their campaign.
So, when are these elections? My prognosis is between September and October. The weekend of September 14 &15 sounds most ideal as it coincides with the 5th anniversary of the GPA. Going beyond October would be most surprising for the simple reason that the nation will be seized with the rainy season.
Even traditional marriages are taboo during that month. As we welcome this season, we are likely to welcome a new government, a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.
Therefore, nobody should lose sleep over June elections; it is nothing but wishful thinking unless if ZANU PF is prepared to commit political suicide by disregarding Sadc at this crucial juncture. I doubt if they will.
Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted at [email protected].