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‘No reforms – No elections strategy’ should be a slogan of the opposition forces ahead of the 2018 elections

By Don Chigumba

There is no reason for the opposition forces to participate in a predetermined election, were it is obvious that ZANU PF will rig the processes of that election. No electoral reforms took place during the first 100 days of President Mnangagwa in Power. The president has not yet announced to the public the actual date of 2018 elections.

Justice Priscilla Chigumba
Justice Priscilla Chigumba

The chairperson of ZEC Judge Chigumba is reluctant to remove workers with security background in her team for the reasons known to her. There is no clear roadmap of how the ballot papers should be printed and verified by all the presidential contestants. We don’t know how ZEC is going to verify the voter’s roll to the best interest of all the Zimbabwean voters.

At the moment, every evidence is pointing to the rigging of 2018 elections in favor of the ruling party. Opposition parties are not given slots on the national television and government radio stations. This piece therefore seeks to advise the opposition forces to refused to legitimize ZANU PF government by participating in a rigged election. The opposition forces have not shown seriousness in pushing Judge Chigumba and ZEC, so that everything happening become transparent to electorate.

ZANU PF is at its lowest point since 1980, the division in the party is not likely to make them win the coming elections. ZANU PF was supposed to take advantage of Mugabe brand during this coming elections but President Mnangagwa decided to stop the use of Mugabe’s regalia among their supporters. I told you before that President Mnangagwa will not succeed without the blessings of Mr. R.G. Mugabe. The focus of opposition forces should be on Judge Chigumba and ZEC, Zimbabweans should be assured of free, fair and transparent elections now.

The formalization of G40 party under the leadership of Mutinhiri is another serious blow to ZANU PF party because Mutinhiri has got support of the former President Mugabe and is likely going to give them a go ahead to use the Mugabe brand during the campaigning. For a party to become victorious in the coming elections, it should be blessed by either Mugabe brand or Tsvangirai brand. Therefore, for president Mnangagwa to carry the day, he should go and apologize before Mr. R.G. Mugabe and get his blessings before the 2018 elections. Piling pressure on Judge Chigumba and ZEC is the only medicine for treating ZANU PF.

Apart from the G40 party under Mutinhiri, the cabinet appointed by President Mnangagwa and his poor performance in his first 100 days in power are going to be threats to the image of ZANU PF. Zimbabweans cannot afford to go for another five year term with the likes of Obert Mpofu, Supa Madiwanzira just to mention a few. ZANU PF government knows that people are fade up, their only hope is on manipulating the elections and Judge Chigumba and ZEC be scrutinized by the public.

It is therefore clear that, ZANU PF is at its lowest point since 1980 and therefore, the opposition forces should be united so that they push for free, fair and transparent elections. I am not advocating for the formation of an alliance among all political players in Zimbabwe but I am only urging them to come together and force Judge Chigumba and ZEC to be transparent in everything they are doing.

In his address during a political rally in Chinhoyi, MDC-T Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa hinted of a ‘no reforms no election strategy’, a move which should be hailed. Nelson Chamisa should sell the idea to all serious presidential candidates like Joice Mujuru, Mutinhiri, Khupe among others. They should give ZEC an ultimatum of 7 days so that they can be allowed to send their teams to ZEC to assess it preparedness and level of transparence before the coming elections. If ZEC is not going to comply, they should send a strong message by not participating in the rigged elections.


The military took power by force and give it to President Mnangagwa, they are not thinking of giving power within a silver plate. The only way for the opposition forces is to demand for free, fair and transparent elections and if nothing have been done, they should boycott the 2018 elections. They should not legitimize the military government. Another NIKUV should be avoided at all costs.

ZANU PF government’s energy should be solely in Judge Chigumba and ZEC, the military intervention won’t be accepted by the world. Therefore, opposition forces should focus much on Judge Chigumba and ZEC rather than campaigning.  All presidential candidates should come together and face Judge Chigumba and ZEC head on.

Don Chigumba is a mixed methods research specialist based in South Africa