Draft roadmap for Zimbabwe – a big joke

OPINION – The publication of the ‘Draft roadmap for Zimbabwe’ by the Newsday on Thursday 28th April 2011 confirms our worst fears about the so-called ‘agreement reached by the GPA negotiators’.

There is nothing on the Diaspora vote or monitoring by the UN, EU or AU. While SADC is mentioned, Zanu-pf has other ideas on international observers.

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How a document with certain parts in ‘bold and shaded areas representing deadlock’ can be described as ‘a breakthrough’ and an ‘agreement’ defies logic. To me the whole draft roadmap for Zimbabwe is a big joke, to put it mildly. There was no need to bury the bad news for cheap news headlines.

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A complete analysis of the document is constrained by the difficulty in demarcating the agreed areas from the deadlocked ones because the published copy does not show the ‘bold and shaded areas’ at least according to the one on the Newsday website which is the only one available online since the so-called agreement was reached.

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A curious inclusion in the ‘agreed road map’ is where it ‘calls upon the governments that are hosting and/or funding external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to cease such hosting and funding’. That is unbelievable. How can they be so hypocritical? All the parties in Zimbabwe use these external stations for interviews and ‘leaked’ news items.

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On sanctions the negotiators say a re-engagement committee and SADC should lobby for the removal of sanctions. Now they are no longer referred to as targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his inner circle for human rights abuses which are continuing to the present day.

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Strangely, MDC-T negotiators ‘agreed’ to that when on their party’s website there are shocking pictures of victims of political violence, the perpetrators of whom have not been brought to book up to now. SADC needs some self respect on this matter, after failing to get the targeted sanctions lifted before, what has changed since then?

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On the rule of law, that is not an agreement obviously. Although the suggestion of enacting an Act of Parliament to regulate the operations of the CIO makes sense, we have been urging in vain all along for MPs to keep their eyes on the ball. The chances of such a piece of law being assented to by Zanu-pf  President Robert Mugabe are 1 in a trillion in view of the fact that the President’s Office budget is ring fenced.

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No outsiders will ever know what the money voted every year is used for unlike in other countries where the basic structures and operations of intelligence services are not black boxes but are conducted within the rule of law.

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It’s amazing that there are still people who have faith in POSA even as amended and hope for free and fair elections under that law’s jurisdiction.

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It is hard to understand why the negotiators ‘agreed’ to leave out the Diaspora Vote from their so-called roadmap altogether. At least if they had become deadlocked on that issue, that would make them credible.

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The main provisions for the Diaspora or Expatriate Vote are well captured by Zimbabwe Democracy Now in their paper on The Minimum Requirements for a Free, Peaceful, and Credible Election in Zimbabwe’ available online. In short:

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  • Citizens residing outside Zimbabwe should be able to cast their vote by postal ballot.
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  • A new expatriate voting system with fraud-proof mechanisms must be set up;
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  • Temporary balloting stations to be set-up in every country hosting a significant number of Zimbabwean citizens;
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  • Criteria to be determined urgently beforehand via the Diaspora civic networks;
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  • Expatriate voters to use their Zimbabwe ID or Passport for identification purposes;
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  • Diaspora vote count to be verified (in the same way as for inland votes) on site with results posted on the outside of each voting station at the close of balloting for public inspection; the document to be photographed by an official monitor, the image and results MMS’d and/or radioed to a central monitoring post for immediate public broadcast from a national tabulation centre
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  • Diaspora vote count to be verified and results faxed directly to the central counting facility in Zimbabwe as well as to the independent central tabulation centre
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Other foreign nationals have used the same methods to vote in their countries’ national elections while abroad.

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That is the input we are expecting in the roadmap for elections in Zimbabwe. Short of that, we will cross the river when we get there.

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Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanlysis2009@gmail.com

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