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Way out of Zimbabwe's mess is for Zanu PF and MDC to step down - both are illegitimate

by Wilbert Mukori
07 March 2019 | 2445 Views
If MDC had listened, first, to the repeated appeals for the party to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU and then to the warnings not to take party in the elections without first implementing the reforms; then the country would not be in this mess.

It is disappointing that MDC leaders are still not listening to anyone.

"To resolve the challenges arresting Zimbabwe, the MDC continues to propose dialogue anchored on the following five key areas," said Nelson Chamisa is a recent press statement.

a. The return to legitimacy, demilitarization and agreement on a roadmap to such a change
b. Agreement on a comprehensive reform platform and agenda."

Let us just focus on above items. The issue of political legitimacy is at the very heart and soul of Zimbabwe economic mess and political paralysis and it is therefore important that are all clear what it means. The other two key issues of dialogue and reform will only make sense when we have defined political legitimacy.

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21 states.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

In other words the people's democratic will expressed through free, fair and credible elections is the only basis of political legitimacy or the authority of government.

Last July's Zimbabwe elections cannot be judged to have been free, fair and credible for many reasons including:
1)    3 million or so Zimbabweans in the diaspora were denied the opportunity to register and then to vote. During his visit to attend the UN GA last September, President Mnangagwa assured everyone Zimbabweans in the diaspora will be allowed to vote next time, proof this could have been done if the government had so wished.

2)    Zanu PF operatives and traditional leaders used state resources such as food aid and agricultural inputs and abused their power to coerce voters, especially rural voters who constitute 60% plus of the potential voters, to attend and then to vote for Zanu PF.

3)    ZEC failed to release a verified voters' roll and to release the summary of vote cast, V11 forms, although these are legal requirement. It was impossible to verify and trace both ZEC's official results and MDC's own results.

4)     Zanu PF had the monopoly use of the country public print and electronic media with the opposition getting very little coverage, if any at all.

 For these reason and many others, all election observer teams from nations with any democratic credentials condemned the elections. "The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability," stated the EU Zimbabwe Observer Mission final report.

"Finally, the restrictions on political freedoms, the excessive use of force by security forces and abuses of human rights in the post-election period undermined the corresponding positive aspects during the pre-election campaign. As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards."

 MDC has official accepted the results of the parliamentary and senatorial elections as valid and has rejected the presidential results on the basis that the ZEC result was wrong. This is wrong! Both the parliamentary and presidential races were equally affected by the flaws and illegalities noted above and therefore the results of both races are equally meaningless and void.

Both Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF junta friends do not have the people's mandate in the form of majority votes in a free, fair and credible elections and the regime, not just Mnangagwa, is illegitimate.
Since it was Zanu PF, as the government of the day tasked to organise the July 2018 elections, that failed to carry out this sacred task and not for the first time – has done this these last 38 years -; it naïve, to say the least, to ask the party to discuss what to do next. Zanu PF is illegitimate and one does not ask the thief to seat in judgement of his own case.

Just as last year's electoral process was so flawed and illegal it failed to produce al legal winner it also failed to produce a legal opposition. The suggestion that MDC leaders can be involved in deciding the comprehensive reforms the country need to implement to ensure next elections are free, fair and credible is laughable because the same leaders failed to get even one meaningful reform implemented during the last GNU.

For Zimbabwe to move on, both Zanu PF and MDC must step down, neither of the two have any mandate to govern, to create the political space required for the appointment of an interim administration. It is this administration that will be tasked to implement the democratic reforms and entrusted to hold the country's first ever free, fair and credible.

The refusal by Zanu PF and MDC to step down should be seen for what it is – they holding the nation hostage. There will not be any meaningful economic recovery until there is meaningful political change and so, in the end, both these two parties will be forced to go!

Zanu PF illegitimate MDC

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