Elections or no elections; the answer doesn’t lie with Zanu PF alone

OPINION – Where does the Zanu PF politburo, central committee, conference or congress resolutions fit in the current inclusive government? And are decisions by these Zanu PF party organs binding to the inclusive government?

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These are some of the questions which have been banded around as Zanu PF says elections should be held this year. And Zanu PF is basing this call for elections on the party’s resolutions at its conference in Mutare last year. Last year the party resolved that elections “must” be held this year. Little did the party know that it is not the Zanu PF’s conference or worse still President Mugabe alone to decide when elections are to be held but the principals in the inclusive government have to agree.

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For starters, Zanu PF is failing to realize that the political dispensation in Zimbabwe has changed. While before the inclusive government, the Zanu PF congress, conference central committee or politburo could decide or endorse government policies, the same can not be said today.

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Of late, there have been accusations and counter accusations with the former ruling party after Zanu PF Global Political Agreement negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said elections were not possible this year. His assertions brought brickbats from Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo and politburo member Jonathan Moyo who said Chinamasa was merely expressing his opinion not the party’s position.

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Gumbo said the party had resolved during its conference in Mutare last year that elections should be held this year. Oh my foot. Whose conference and what conference!

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“The election roadmap identifies activities to be undertaken before elections taking into account activities, some of which to be taken sequentially and others concurrently.

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“It is my own opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year. We need to start talking about elections next year or 2013 assuming that the referendum is completed in September as we have been advised by Copac,” he said.
Cde Chinamasa said the GPA was crafted to set out targets to level the political field and address issues for free and fair elections.

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“We have come up with an election roadmap to identify sign posts to be traversed ahead of elections in Zimbabwe,” he said.
His sentiments are expressed by most Zimbabweans who feel the constitution making process must be completed first before any elections.

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The MDC led by Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai believe that the holding of elections in Zimbabwe has to be determined by the pace and process of fully implementing the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which led to the formation of the inclusive government.

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But some Zanu PF members still with the hangover from the time when their party was ruling the party thought their resolutions at the Mutare conference must be adhered to by all Zimbabweans. Analysts say Zanu PF want to hold elections when President Mugabe is till marketable to the people amid reports that his health is failing.

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The inclusive government is made up of three political parties and the principals must agree when to hold the elections. The Zanu PF politburo can not decide when to hold the elections.

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Not all Zimbabweans are Zanu PF members and to try to shove the resolutions by the party down the throats of each Zimbabwean is but both naïve and stupid on the part of Zanu PF.

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Though it’s good for Zanu PF as a party to come up with suggestions on when the elections should be held the party should not expect all Zimbabweans to take their suggestions hook, line and sinker.

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It really disturbs when the party try to fool Zimbabweans into believing that Mugabe still has sweeping powers, even powers to call for the elections anytime without agreeing with MDC leader Tsvangirai. After all Mugabe does not have the mandate of the people, he lost an election.

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Tsvangirai said: “There will be no election this year, it will probably be conducted in the next 12 months,” said Tsvangirai.

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Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, Tsvangirai was confident voting would take place in a free and fair environment and the outcome would be respected.

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“There is no basis for a repeat of what happened in the Ivory Coast. When people have lost an election, they must accept,” he said, referring to Ivory Coast’s violently disputed presidential election,” he said.

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Tsvangirai’s party also said it was the only legitimate party in the country, with a genuine mandate to lead the people of Zimbabwe to a new, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe.

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“The People’s Party of Excellence dismisses claims made on Wednesday by the Zanu (PF) politburo that the MDC is not ready for elections,” read part of a statement released to the media by the party’s information and publicity department last Thursday.

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Even the Mugabe’s ally Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono has question the rationale of holding elections this year.

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He told the Sunday Mail that: “In deciding when and whether or not to hold elections, a fine balance may need to be struck between the twin objectives of politics and the economy. Put differently, the economy favours no elections for now while political dynamics and imperatives may favour or dictate otherwise”.

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And thus elections or no elections; the answer doesn’t lie with Zanu PF alone.

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About the writer: Andrew Mambondiyani is a Zimbabwean journalist currently on Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT in USA

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