Coordinator’s Note: Zimbabwe’s complicated transition
This edition comes just a few weeks before Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections which are pencilled for the 30th of July 2018. The presidential race is historic in that for the first time 23 candidates including men and women are vying for the top job in the land. Campaigns have been going on and the parties are gearing for the polls, but with sticking issues being raised by opposition parties and civil society.
The voters roll has been at the centre of dispute between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the opposition parties particularly the MDC Alliance planning protests against ZEC as a result. As one of our key demands, and in line with the constitution we have said that ZEC, should principally and expeditiously avails the complete and verifiable bio-metric voters’ roll to all stakeholders particularly contesting political players and other election related bodies.
Interestingly, the military held its own press conference denying its involvement in the elections following allegations of soldiers working hand in glove with the ruling party. While the army has denied these allegations, we feel (as we presented in our press statement) that the ZDF is not being sincere because of their involvement in the ouster of Mugabe and more pronounced in ZANU PF politics.
Apart from the pronouncements by ZANU PF officials namely Mutsvangwa, Mukupe and Hungwe the Vice president Constantino Chiwenga who masterminded the coup while he was still the army commander declared Operation Restore Legacy will only end by a vote for Mnangagwa. For us such a statement is nothing but a confirmation that the coup is yet to be concluded and we fear the military’s hidden hands and influence in Zimbabwe’s complicated transition.
It is thus our hope that the military will respect the constitution and allow the will of the people to prevail without any interference. Never again should the events of 17 November 2017, be repeated in our country, soldiers have no place in politics; the gun should always follow the politics and bot the other way round.
This edition presents to you the position of the coalition as presented by the Chairperson Cde Rashid Mahiya at a press conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa at COSATU House. We noted in the statement that the Government of South Africa as Chair to SADC and SADC member state and citizens support and seriously consider the concerns raised by civil society, political parties and other stakeholders on electoral reforms and insist on Zimbabwe meeting SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. We also give an update from the activities held by the Regional Office.
In this issue again, Dr Toendepi Shonhe a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI) unpacks the Pre-Election Surveys and the post electoral outcomes. Dr Shonhe analysis the ZANU PF and MDC Alliance manifestos noting how the two documents have more parallels than variances. Dr Shonhe flags out the dominant postulations as presented by the manifestos as they both suggest a neoliberal economic policy framework anchored on increased foreign direct investment (FDI) and free market economy.
Seasoned blogger Cde Takura Zhangazha provides a good analysis of the calibre of candidates, their intentions and what it means for our home politics. In reference to the candidates Zhangazha candidly puts it: “Some are brazen while others are a little bit more circumspect about their ambitions. A few are doing it for fun. And a fewer more are doing it on behalf of their political party. One or two still believe they were chosen or sent by God to seek political office and as a result thereof strongly believe that they are guaranteed victory. Oddly there are some that are claiming to be testing the waters for the 2023 elections by running in 2018 where ironically they do not expect to win.”
In the last article, Cde Tinashe Chimedza in a Shakespearean tone exhibits his wordsmith skills when he explores the legitimacy question and what he termed “military nationalism.” Chimedza poses a question whether the military-political class that usurped power in through a coup will be able to re-establish a legitimate hegemony in which political power is based on the popular will?
So much to read and reflect on in this edition of the Zimbabwe Briefing.
Cde Blessing Vava