Hold polls under right conditions

HARARE - Lovemore Madhuku sometimes rushes to make statements that do not do his law background much justice.

The mediocrity in Zimbabwean politics seems to be worsening as politicians continue to manufacture problems where none should exist.

Why can’t these people sit down and agree on something for once and move the nation forward instead of bickering over simple issues that should never have been allowed to develop into national crisis?

And for those who read anything in the announced cooperation among opposition parties to oust Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF from power, I say, keep on dreaming.

None of the political parties we have is capable of cooperating with one another.

Most of these parties exist in name only. Even if you combine Zanu Ndonga, MKD and Welshman Ncube-led MDC, they will not deliver anything of weight.

These Mickey Mouse political parties fancy themselves important enough to make a difference when, in reality, they are just spoilers with no chance in hell of being relevant.

Take the election date, for example.

Why are we hearing so much noise from all of them now about why elections should not be held in July? I agree, but where have all these politicians been all this time that they are now jumping up in support or against holding elections on a certain date?

And in the heat of the debate, we hear reckless statements that seem to be made without regard to consequences.

“It is better to have a bad election than have no elections,” said Lovemore Madhuku.

Is it really?

No, Mr Madhuku, bad elections have a tendency of legitimising illegitimate leaders and governments.

Those in the medical profession believe that it is better to perform the right operation wrongly than to perform the wrong operation correctly.

 If we are to have elections, let us have them under the right conditions instead of rushing only to panel beat the results of those elections to fit the whims of those at the top.

“Their time is up and we should have elections as stated by the supreme law,” Madhuku added.

The law professor did not mention that the decision from the Constitutional Court compelling the president to hold elections in July emanated from the use of the old Lancaster House Constitution.

“We are surprised that the honourable court orders and directs the president to proclaim dates for general elections in terms of the old Constitution, that is the 1979 Constitution, when as a matter of fact, the new Constitution of Zimbabwe provides explicitly that the next elections should be conducted in terms of the new law, not the old,” said Chris Mhike, one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers.

It is appalling that these political parties, which spent so much time, money and shed blood for a new Constitution, do not seem keen to use it after its adoption.

I concede that there is nothing Zimbabwe needs more than an election, if only to rid ourselves of the crippling and ineffective unity government.

I concede that any delays in holding elections will prolong our problems and that we will be hard pressed to make any progress, economic or political, if we do not hold elections soon.

However, I do not believe that holding elections under the prevailing conditions will be helpful.

This is one of the battles that the MDC should have fought in time, not to wait until the eleventh hour to start complaining about election dates.

This is what all other political parties, were they concerned, should have been trumpeting since mavambo, kusile or dawn.

Now because of the MDC’s misplaced priorities, we find ourselves with very few choices but a lot of unnecessary noise as far as the holding of elections is concerned.

The MDC just does not seem to be aware of their responsibilities, not even their size. They do not seem aware of the responsibility they invited on themselves.

This is carelessness of the worst kind.

Now we are going to be bulldozed into elections when a lot of things are still not in place yet the MDC and these fly-by-night political parties had all the time to do some arm twisting to get things straightened out in time.

Where have they all been?

I wish the MDC would stop waiting only to react to what ZANU-PF does.

Will elections held under hostile and undemocratic conditions produce a decent outcome?

Is our voters’ roll updated well enough?

Have people been given as much time to register to vote as they need?

“After the voter registration exercise,” said MDC’s Douglas Mwonzora, “there must be a period set for the inspection of the voters’ roll to make sure that it is correct and that all eligible voters are on it.”

So why didn’t they prepare in time?

Is proper security in place? What about POSA and AIAPA? Media and Security sector reforms?

Hard as it might be, we should wait and put more effort into forcing the implementation of the required reforms to hold a free and fair election. - Tanonoka Joseph Whande

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