ON Wednesday, the world was reminded that Zimbabwe is sleep-walking into yet another sham election.
Opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa was barred by police from addressing a rally at Tshovani Stadium in Chiredzi ahead of the launch of the party’s election manifesto in Bindura on Saturday.
The Zimbabwean authorities have no right to arbitrarily ban campaign meetings. What they are doing is unconstitutional and will tarnish an already flawed election. This week, a video clip showing police confronting Chamisa went viral.
The youthful opposition leader is standing on the back of a truck, addressing his supporters, when police suddenly demand an abrupt end to the public meeting. Unamused by the unlawful actions of the police, Chamisa asks them why they are behaving that way.
He goes further, asking them whether this is how they also treat Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent president. There are no prizes for guessing the answer to that question.
When you consider the sum total of such brazenly undemocratic actions, combined with the unsavoury shenanigans of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the writing is really on the wall: there is no free, fair and credible election to talk about, unless drastic action is taken now to prevent this slow-motion train crash.
Where is the electronic voters’ roll? Who viciously assaulted the prominent human rights lawyer Obey Shava?
Why has Zec scandalously allowed bogus candidates to register on an opposition CCC ticket? These answers must be answered urgently in the national interest and without fear or favour. A rotten election will worsen the Zimbabwean crisis and imperil national survival.
For decades, Zimbabwe has been marred by allegations of electoral fraud and the manipulation of electoral processes by the ruling party.
These concerning practices undermine the very foundation of democracy, impeding the fair representation of the Zimbabwean people. It is essential to shed light on the unfortunate reality of electoral rigging and its profound consequences on the democratic aspirations of a troubled nation.
Every election since 1980 has shown how Zanu PF intimidates and suppresses the opposition, with impunity. The ruling party has resorted to a range of tactics to deter and silence opposition voices.
Threats, violence, and harassment against political opponents have become disturbingly common.
Even lawmaker is kn the table; Job Sikhala and Jacob Ngarivhume are languishing in prison for simply exersicjng their democratuc rights. Intimidated citizens are less likely to participate in the electoral process, leading to an environment where Zanu PF’s support overwhelms the potential influence of those who oppose them.
We have also witnessed the abuse of state resources.
The ruling party often exploits state resources, using them to bolster their campaign efforts while simultaneously stifling opposition parties. Recently, we saw newly imported state-owned helicopters at a Zanu PF rally.
State-controlled media outlets allocate biased coverage, heavily favouring the ruling party and disregarding other political perspectives. This misuse of resources creates an uneven playing field, obstructing fair competition within the electoral arena. Zec has been a veritable theatre of political skulduggery.
Electoral laws are consistently manipulated to consolidate the power of the incument. Delimitation was chaotic. Ward and constituency boundaries were altered and redrawn. Urban areas like Harare — a opposition stronghold — should have been allocated additional constituencies, but this was not done. Such practices deliberately dilute and nullify the impact of votes cast against the ruling party, effectively reducing the opposition’s chances of prevailing.
Voter registration and the inspection of the voters’ details were fraught with difficulties.
The NewsHawks has reported on the role of Forever Associates of Zimbabwe, a shadowy outfit controlled by the state intelligence service.
On what legal basis would any self-respecting election management body allow Faz to accost and intimidate prospective voters at polling stations?
An independent and impartial electoral commission is crucial for maintaining the integrity of elections. Regrettably, in Zimbabwe, the electoral commission has been tarnished by allegations of bias in favour of the ruling Zanu PF.
The commission’s lack of transparency, coupled with its refusal to address legitimate concerns raised by opposition parties diminish public trust and foster an environment conducive to electoral manipulation.
Zimbabwe cannot afford another sham election.
It is imperative for the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the rest of the international community to condemn and address the alarming trend of electoral rigging in Zimbabwe.
Persistent allegations of voter intimidation, misuse of state resources, manipulation of electoral laws, flawed registration processes, and a compromised electoral commission undermine the fundamental principles of democracy.
The Zimbabwean people deserve a fair and transparent electoral system that allows for a free expression of their democratic rights.
Only through citizen vigilance and robust international scrutiny can Zimbabwe overcome this brazen subversion of democracy and pave the way towards a more inclusive and democratic future.