'Free, fair election a mirage'

HARARE - Chances of Zimbabwe holding a free, fair, credible and undisputed election on July 30 are slim considering Zanu PF officials’ recent assertions that the army will not allow MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to take over if he wins, analysts have warned.

Recently, deputy Finance minister Terrence Mukupe was caught in the eye of a storm after he openly claimed that the army will not allow the 40-year-old opposition leader to rule Zimbabwe after presiding over the Operation Restore Legacy, which saw the deposition of Robert Mugabe after 37 years in power.

Mukupe’s remarks followed other statements by Zanu PF political commissar Engelbert Rugeje, who warned the electorate in Masvingo that if they do not vote for the ruling party, there was going to be a repeat of the 2008 scenario.

In 2008, there were serious cases of violence that were reported leading to the late MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulling out of the presidential race.

The claims by Rugeje were also cemented by Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Josiah Hungwe, who told an audience in Chiredzi that if Mnangagwa could shoot his way to power last November, then there was nothing to stop him from doing the same to keep office.

The same sentiments were buttressed by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in Epworth when he said Operation Restore Legacy will end after Mnangagwa is voted into office next month.

This also comes at a time when there are allegations that hundreds of army personnel had been sent into rural communities, to intimidate the electorate ahead of the elections and claims by the presidential special advisor Chris Mutsvangwa that campaigns will be held together with the army.

Even though President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged that his government will oversee the conducting of a free and fair election, analysts canvassed by the Daily News believe the pledge is not sincere as it is only meant to pacify the electorate and the international community, whose eyes are on Zimbabwe.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said it is very clear that the forthcoming election will not be free and fair owing to the sentiments by those controlling the reins of power.

“The message is clear, bold and lucid on a big wall. You don’t expect a regime that took over power by coup less than 12 months ago, and constituted a Cabinet of 75 percent ex-military/ex-war vets to hand over power in that period to a civilian just like that.

“What these four Zanu PF chumps said confirms the actual party position discussed in their meetings, and these four political jesters have no election messaging discipline. But what they said reflects Zanu PF inner thinking. The election will not be free and fair,” Saungweme said.

Elections in Zimbabwe have been a subject of controversy and marred with violence and irregularities.

At the moment, the opposition is up in arms with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over several electoral reforms that will enable a free and fair election. The electoral body’s chair Priscilla Chigumba has accused the opposition of politicking, stating that only an earthquake can stop the forthcoming election.

The opposition is among other issues demanding Zec to relieve army officials from its secretariat and amend some clauses of the Electoral Act.

“We have already eschewed and abjured the opportunity for the pre-election period to be free and fair through opaqueness of ballot paper printing, issues with voters’ roll etc. So you can’t have a free and fair election when the pre-poll period was not free and fair. Elections will be wholly free and fair when the pre-poll, poll and post-poll periods are all free and fair. Prospects for free and fair elections on July 30 are already windswept and gnarled.

“The statements by these Zanu PF leaders further mar the freeness of the pre-poll period and are designed to instil fear into the voter. You can’t have a free and fair election when people bomb each other at rallies, or remind people of the gory political acts and murders of 2008,” Saungweme said.

Another political analyst Rashweat Mukundu, said in the absence of a formal retraction of the statements, the election’s credibility will be questionable.

“These statements undermine the credibility of the elections more so the fact that they have not been retracted nor condemned by Zanu PF. They indicate double speak by the ruling party,” Mukundu said.

Civil society organisation, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said there were a number of factors that would not allow the forthcoming elections to be free and fair.

Among some of the issues that the organisation noted were the statements by Zanu PF officials, military involvement in the electoral process, piecemeal implementation of the Electoral Act and the involvement of traditional leaders.

“Since Nov 15 (November), #Zim (Zimbabwe) has remained in a coup mode. Zanu PF has used the threat of military violence as an axe hanging over the nation. Zimbabweans know of deaths, injuries, torture, internal and external displacement of people, property destruction and looting but no accountability!

“Since November ‘coup’ govt (government), army and Zanu PF officials have openly threatened military violence, if Zanu PF loses the July poll, with no legal penalties. And 5 000 plain clothed soldiers are embedded in polling station communities, with voters’ rolls to intimidate villagers to vote Zanu PF!” former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo wrote on Twitter, in reference to statements made by Zanu PF officials.

He said the current government cannot be trusted to conduct a free and fair election.

Comments (25)

The people of Zim should not worry about all these falsification and misinterpretation of statements, a free and fair election is coming through.

Django Django - 1 July 2018

Zim will hold free and credible elections, ED is a man of the people.

Riot263 - 1 July 2018

ngatisavhundutsirei ruzhinji nemanyepo. Mutungamiriri wenyika akativimbisa sarudzo dzemhando isati yakamboonekwa muno

Sankara - 1 July 2018

tikutotya iyeka Nero wakaenda Israel kunotsvaga vano rigger

Hondo Zvenyika - 1 July 2018

Vanhu tiri kungoona sekuti masoja ndeemhirizhonga hedu asi masoja aya ndoakatipa runyarara muno kubva kumatsotsi aya

Chamisa Neria - 1 July 2018

Plus iyeye Nero ndiye akavimbisa kupenda nyika ino neropa kana akasahwina. Iye naJona

Kokerai Chisvo - 1 July 2018

its true, i hear that Chamisa went to Israel to meet up with the Intelligence officers there to plan the rigging method, Pasi neku rigger...

Samora - 1 July 2018

ukaona vanhu votaura zvakadai i think kutya election... just campaign vivdly and gain the hearts of the people just like ED

Aladin Aladin - 1 July 2018

Right now we a month away from the election and Zanu Pf has mantained a peaceful conduct but look at vamwe vaya vanofurirwa naChamisa

Dombo Rakaomarara - 1 July 2018

ED has called for the free and fair elections and indeed he has showed the freeness by allowing obsevers from all over. Inga EU yatotanga basa.. please dont mislead people

Virus Vigoroso - 1 July 2018

if he loses ED will certainly leave office he said it wani.

Tinokunda - 1 July 2018

Let us not associate Mugabe's violent past with today. This a new era ladies and gentleman. A reformed era.

Panda - 1 July 2018

arikutya ngaabude, we cannot stop elections because of 1 party, kana chamisa achitya ngaende tisare ne 21 candidates

Madikizela - 1 July 2018

taurayi henyu, asingadi ngaende bepa re list ritoita diki. 22 vakawandisa

Kamba - 1 July 2018

I just want to edge all Zimbabweans to vote wisely. the future of this country lies in that election.

Flame - 1 July 2018

ko bonus inouya here gore rino

Cde Masango - 1 July 2018

What i hve seen is mashoko haapere kusvika musi wacho wangosvika ukapfuura. election racho ngarichingouya tione

Dombo Rakaomarara - 1 July 2018

the army will not intervene in the upcoming elections , tikukurudzura runyarao and every1 must be guided by the constitution....

Cde White - 1 July 2018

I used to be afraid myself but padakazonzwa maEU observers obvuma kuti zvinhu zvakarongeka ka, ndopandakaona kuti Mnangagwa is serious nefree and fair election

Dombo - 1 July 2018

The Voice of the people is the voice God.. the new dispensation listens to the people and will conduct free, fair, credible, transparent and non violent elections. ED has my vote

Dzimbabwe - 1 July 2018

chii chamunoziva pafree and fair election... Drawer ka tione free yacho... ma observer ari tiii ngatimirei kutya nhaika.

TheVoiceofMDC - 1 July 2018

Nhemha dzakadai idzi dziri kugadzirwa nanaBiti nanaChamisa kuti vana ED vashaye shamwari muinternational system. but anosuffer ndiani hama dzang? ndisu. ngatiitei kuti munhu kwaye ahwinhe

murenga - 1 July 2018

i think munhu watinofanira kuteerera ndiye ED chete nekuti kumwe kutaura kwatiri kunzwa mafungiro evenhu varikutaura kwete kuti is the position yeGovernment. ED has been preaching peace before, during and after election saka hapana chekutya apa

Bheveni sibanda - 2 July 2018

Free and fair election is not the absence of murders and beatings,but the presence of justice by implementing the electoral reforms which zanu pf is a signitory to.All the hulllaboo about free and fair elections by ED is just hot air to pacify the international observers and the electorate.If there is nothing to hide why not implement the reforms at once.Chiefs are still intimidating voters in the rural areas yet ED has never condemned the chiefs unconstitutional behaviour.Anumber of govt officals and ministers have hinted that the army will not allow MDC Alliance to take over power even if they win the elections and ED has never condemned or denied that.Free and fair election are still a pipe dream in Zimbabwe as long as the mafia party refuses to implement reforms that are part of Zim's constitution.

Luke Munya Mabika - 2 July 2018

It is idiots like Sibanda who have let zanu pf brought all these miseries to us.You tell us to listen to what ED is saying despite the fact that his lieutanants are preaching a different gospel.Thats what Mugabe used to do.I remember one time when he was preaching peace at the opening of parliament when opposition supportes were being bludgeoned by zanu pf supporters and the police.And a zanu pf goon is telling us to listen to Mnangagwa hot air.My foot.I wonder if this zanu pf apologist is even a father in his house!

Luke Munya Mabika - 2 July 2018

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