Zim elections: Sadc's unfinished business

HARARE - With South Africa taking over the leadership of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Zimbabwe heading for yet another landmark election likely to be highly-contested and equally disputed, it is only logical to remind both Sadc and South Africa on the unfinished business  that is Zimbabwe.

Unfinished business given the investment made after the 2008 election in trying to resolve the political impasse that had emerged arising from a disputed electoral outcome.

The formation of an inclusive government was spearheaded by Sadc but only just the beginning of a consolidated democratic dispensation critical to the stabilisation of the region.

While the current Constitution is celebrated as a major milestone of the inclusive government, the real benefits of that Constitution lie more in its full implementation than in the mere existence of a document that is disregarded.

In order for ensured sustained democratic growth, Zimbabwe needs more than half measures, more than cosmetic efforts to give an illusion of movement.

As 2018 draws closer, the reality of Zimbabwe remains characterised by weak legislation and weak institutions supporting the country’s very weak democracy.

Conversations by Sadc on growing the region must centre on building strong institutions rather than focusing on politicians and political parties.

While individuals have been the key architects of weakening the region for political convenience, a focus on them alone while ignoring the need to build the necessary infrastructure for sustained development will only postpone the inevitable and not eradicate the persistent challenges facing democratic processes.

As Sadc meets for the 37th Sadc summit in Pretoria, from August 19 to 20, 2017, it must be reminded that another disputed election in the region will be yet another dent on the credibility of the institution and every effort must be made to strengthen democratic institutions and laws in countries with a previous record of conflict and dispute.

While Zimbabwe is not the only country in need of the region’s attention, the fact that the region is yet to conclude its assistance towards strengthening democratic process suggests the need for further prioritisation.

Notwithstanding that some progress has been noted in some areas, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) opines that the national assembly by-elections held post 2013 have not settled irregularities that were noted by both local and regional election observer missions, particularly Sadc.

These uncompleted processes are likely to create similar problems that have characterised Zimbabwe’s previous elections, resulting in disputed outcomes.

Comments (1)

RSA immediately demonstrated whats instore with it on Chair when it granted immunity to grace.

Sinyo - 23 August 2017

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