Chigumba must talk to Chamisa

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is right to agree to participate in talks with Nelson Chamisa over how to resolve the serious threat posed by failure to iron out a raft of administrative electoral reforms the opposition leader has said are vital for a credible vote on July 30.

It may not sound like progress — especially when one considers that Zec has only agreed to accede to Chamisa’s demands as long as the other 21 opposition parties agree with him in the Multi-Party Liaison Committee — a conflict management arm headed by a Zec commissioner and representatives of each political party contesting the election. 

Chamisa has rejected this saying the enforcement of his individual rights cannot be dependent upon the choice by other presidential candidates to either claim or waiver their own rights.

He fears the Multi-Party Liaison Committee could be manipulated because he suspects some of the presidential candidates are not genuine opposition but a creation of the ruling Zanu PF. But if an agreement to talk is evidence of Zec’s new willingness to engage the MDC Alliance, then that is good news.

As the parties prepare for the first round of negotiations, they must decide what they ultimately wants them to achieve.

This will be no small challenge for a Zec that continues to be badly divided between hard-liners who have pushed to isolate the MDC Alliance with the eventual goal of regime retention and continuity and other officials who favour engagement because they believe isolation could lead to a legitimacy catastrophe.

What the MDC Alliance is seeking are administrative actions, which enhance the transparency of the election as envisaged in the Constitution.

These administrative actions, as Zec now confirms, do not offend the law in that they are neither provided for nor prohibited.

In addition, these administrative actions are in keeping with Zec’s mission to manage elections and referendums in terms of the law and best practice as informed by one of the commission’s stated core values of transparency.

The MDC Alliance is not asking Zec to reinvent the wheel.

Zec acting chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana has said they will hold talks with the MDC Alliance’s presidential candidate only in the Multi-Party Liaison Committee — headed by Commissioner Qhubani Moyo.

The march on the Zec offices by the MDC Alliance last week had the endorsement from all parties contesting the election, except Zanu PF.

In essence, the main alliances contesting this election are speaking with one voice. Zec must understand that consensus does not mean the agreement of Zanu PF.

Zec must not be allowed to dismiss the MDC Alliance’s legitimate concerns on the basis that small parties that are being allegedly sponsored by Zanu PF could not agree with the main alliance’s demands.

Hard-liners are obviously viewing these impending talks as an unwanted step. Yet it is an unavoidable step in a move ultimately intended to salvage’s Zec’s apparent failure to handle its enormous obligation as an impartial referee.

The attempt to have Chamisa’s queries acceded to, only if the other presidential candidates agree, calls for negotiations to fail by setting an unrealistically high bar for success. 

This position is unacceptable to Chamisa for obvious reasons.
And when the Multi-Party Liason Committee fails to agree to Chamisa’s demands, so the thinking goes, Zec will be better placed to unfurl a continuing trajectory of isolation of the MDC Alliance, having demonstrated the failure to secure consensus among all the presidential candidates.

The MDC Alliance and Zec are now at a critical point. A policy of engagement is the only sensible approach for Zec — not only to avoid a confrontation, but also to prevent serious and lasting damage to the pursuit of electoral legitimacy as well as healing badly frayed relations with cash-rich Western countries that could help in unlocking foreign funding and investment needed to revive the struggling economy.

What is now left is the political will to implement the administrative issues being demanded to enhance the credibility and integrity of the election as required by the constitution and for the good of the country.

Comments (7)

Zec is right. Chigumba is simply fighting for ZEC;s independence which is threatened by petty demands by MDC. What happens if the 23 presidential candidates demand 23 different designs for the ballot paper. Pamberi ne ZEC.

The Analyst - 16 July 2018

The honest truth or reality is that the MDC Alliance is not at all interested in going for elections anymore, but to simply unjustifiably romp to a landslide victory only, even if it means without any merit. Let it therefore be categorically stated to the opposition party, that only Zimbabwean voters can take them there, and no one else. Their complaints are for that matter an inconsequential triviality, all they can now see ahead is defeat starring in their faces and are therefore confused. Its as clear as day light. The trivial issues about the uneven playing field which they are singing about as if it were a popular chorus (raising) cannot stop genuine would-be-winners from romping to victory come 30 July 2018 elections. If Zanu PF comprehensively did it in 1980 despite all those stakes that weighed heavily against them, why can't the MDC Alliance do the same? After all the campaigning platform is quite favourable to all parties, in as much as it is unprecedentedly very peaceful indeed.

Mbongozidana - 16 July 2018

If ZEC allows the ballot paper to be handled by parties before the elections , it will be like a leaked exam paper . You will be seeing the ballot papers flying everywhere and on social media before the elections so that The mdc alliance will claim that ZEC has failed . We should all handle the ballot paper when voting . If mdc wants to audit anything , it should be after the elections . You do not audit before implementation . ZEC , please get on with your business of running the elections . The parties should be busy talking to voters . If chamisa's claims of chemical rigging were true , why did he not prove it on the ballot papers from the previous elections which are still available for such proof . The set back with Chamisa and team is that they are historians ( studied history ) with very little if not zero science . Please leave science issues to scientists and stick to your history and divinity .

Hayibo - 17 July 2018

Access to education for all - VOTE EM - 31/07/1981. Employment opportunities for all - musavhora zvenyu , akula kuvota...ndibateyi parunhare - 0800-JOBS-101 for all jobs from Cleaning royal offices for $6/hr to Qualified Vets on $35/hr. 104000 vacancies in 2019...chinodiwa chitupa ne bhangi rako kumbe inamba zefoni. Come ED , hindava so ???....OK you mean quality edu.

Duke of Matebele - Talmoral Castle - 18 July 2018

Kana vanhu vakaita twuma webpages twavo twe wordpress , for an official site , you dont say designed by. Hazvikodzeri. I can see kuti 1) Vamwe varikutadza branding chaiyo GCSE stuff, 2) Kana iyo coding yacho hayipo. If you say mobile apps - unofanira kugona swift , java , shared c# for windows mobile , etc. Kwete kuita marketing logo woti wavamuzhambe. I think access to education is the right theme. 'Vashe munerwendo rwakakura chaizvo'. Vamwe tajaira ma gov services for 100 Million vanhu , asi hapana anoziva mazita edu.

Musikanyika , Masvingo - 18 July 2018

The best gift in life , free for all , is the ability to communicate. Ndosaka takapihwa ndimi. Ma Afrikaner anodzidzisa vana chi Afrikanse. Ma Zulu anodawo chi Zulu. Ma Chinese anotaura chi Mandarin , Ma French akahwinda world cup vachitaura nechi french chavo. Ma Japanese anogadzira Toyota nechi Japanese. Ma germans anogadzira Porsche ku zuffenhausen muchi German. Ma zimbabweans vanoda chirungu chavasina , mari havana. Chirungu chenyu , ndechemuzimbabwe...African English. Hamuzi ma British , vanokushorayi . Dai murivarungu musiri ma refugees munyika yavo. Chirungu hachiiswe pamberi....kuzvipamba. I think mwana akadzidza ku Falcon anoziva pachinotaurwa nepachisingadiwe , kudarika we Bhongo Bhongo High. Dzidzo dzidzo dzidzo , muchishona , isiNdebele kana venda.

Musikanyika , Masvingo - 18 July 2018

Nandi veduweee Prisca Chinomunetsa ndinochishaya. Kungoti oh aya arikuprintwa apa kana kuti hoo munoda mapage two bhoo. kunyange pakavhotwa nemashizha, chatisingadi ishizha rakarumwa kare. ngazvibude pachena izvi. NGAZIBUDE PACHENA IZVI. CHIKORO CHAMUNENGE MAKASIYA MAVHARA NDECHEIKO.

munhu mupenyu - 20 July 2018

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