Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘Zanu-PF deceiving international community through bogus reforms’

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime is being accused of trying to hoodwink the international community through the gazetted Electoral Amendment Bill ahead of 2023 harmonised general elections.

On the 18th of November 2022, the Ministry of Justice gazetted the Electoral Amendment Bill which sought to amend certain sections of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2;13), (NO.25 of 2004).

This was followed by the public consultations as per the demands of the Constitution conducted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe done on the 30th and 31st of January, 2023 on radio and zoom platform.

An analysis titled ‘In The Electoral Reform Bill, a scratch on the surface’ by pro-democracy and Human Rights activist Youngerson Matete has, however, exposed anomalies in the bill.

The analysis claimed that the Zanu-PF government was pushing for this bill to deceive the international community into believing that the Harare administration is instituting crucial reforms.

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“After the November 2017 military coup or as some like to call it, a military assisted transition in Zimbabwe, President ED Mnangagwa who took over from long time ruler Robert G Mugabe enjoyed both local and international good will after he had managed to charm Britain with his promise to implement electoral reforms in Zimbabwe.

“International doors were slowly being opened for the Zanu-PF led government by many Western countries as Mr Mnangagwa pushed his engagement and re-engagement foreign policy in an attempt to bring Zimbabwe back into the global community after a long time in the wilderness,” read part of the analysis.

“The 2018 elections dispute that led to the death of six civilians in the hands of the military on August 1 created a legitimacy crisis for Zanu-PF and President ED Mnangagwa that negatively affected the government’s engagement and re-engagement policy as Nelson Chamisa and the then MDC Alliance refused to recognize the government of ED Mnangagwa.

“To this date the Zanu-PF government still desires some sort of legitimacy and they are keen to solve this issue in the 2023 harmonized elections. They do not want any legitimacy crisis to continue to hover around their heads post 2023 elections. This is why the electoral reforms are important to Zanu-PF.

“They want to try and portray to the international community that they are reforming ahead of the elections at the same time they are afraid of genuine reforms as this will most likely spell the end of their hold to power.

“Zanu-PF will want to try and deceive the international community with piecemeal reforms but they will never commit to genuine electoral and political reforms as it is their basis to hold on to power.”

Matete added that the opposition was equally pro electoral reforms as this would give them a chance to dislodge Zanu-PF.

He added that if the opposition lose the upcoming plebiscite, it would mean loss of hope in elections to the electorate.

“Zanu-PF will obviously welcome a return to the international community as evidenced by their push to re-join the commonwealth. They can however afford to live without the West as they have already been alienated for a long time.

“While Zanu-PF can afford to do without meaningful reforms as this actually guarantees their return of power, the opposition do not enjoy such privileges. It is thus a no-brainer that the electoral reforms are more important to the opposition in Zimbabwe particularly the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) which is the main opposition political party with a chance to wrestle power from Zanu-PF come the 2023 harmonized elections.

“The CCC cannot afford an election without proper reforms as this will minimize their chances of success in the elections and if CCC fails to win the 2023 elections, the party will likely suffer a decrease in support from the general people as much of its support base is already beginning to show some symptoms of fatigue,” Matete said.

“The general Zimbabweans are now losing hope and many have given up. An electoral loss for the CCC will only exacerbate the belief that maybe no one is capable of dislodging Zanu-PF. Attempting to do such will be viewed as just an exercise in futility and something that Zimbabweans need not waste time on.

“The loss for CCC can also lead to the split of the party as cracks that are beginning to emerge will go full-scale. At present, the only thing holding political opportunists within CCC to go for the head of Nelson Chamisa is the hope that he might win the 2023 harmonised elections, hence electoral reforms are a matter of life and death for the CCC.”

Matete is a youth activist and founder of Project Launch 263, a nonpartisan and youth-driven organization that seeks to mobilize young people in both urban and rural settlements in Zimbabwe and to educate them on the importance of participating in the electoral process.