By Daniel Chigundu
MDC Alliance Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa says he has lost faith in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) abilities to conduct credible elections adding that he will be sending his envoys into the region and African Union (AU).
ZEC and Chamisa are at loggerheads over the manner in which the 2018 elections should be conducted.
Contestation is mainly centred on the issue of voter’s roll audit, ballot paper design, printing and security before the day of the election.
Chamisa what they are demanding are not new laws or rights but that the existing ones are given the full effect.
However, ZEC, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the demands are trivial and will not stop the holding of the impending polls.
Addressing a press conference at Harvest House, Chamisa said when they are pushing ZEC; it is not because they are being difficult, but it’s because there is a well-known record of non-compliance by ZEC and the state generally adding that they are dealing with a stubborn referee who is deceitful.
“…Their promises have been false, designed to cheat and deceive only to create a false impression of compliance when there is none. This practice of box-ticking is mere tokenism which hoodwinks no one if not only a few. Creating a facade of compliance cannot and will not confer legitimacy on this election process.
“We want to make it clear that we will not stand in the way of the people should they seek to exercise their constitutional rights to withdraw that authority from those who fail to exercise it in accordance with the law.
“We are embarking on a process of consulting stakeholders across the country and in the region to decide on the way forward in light of the intransigence we are facing from a stubborn, partisan and arrogant referee. We will listen to the genuine aspirations of the people because ultimately they are the repositories of all authority,” he said.
Zimbabwe has had a track record of holding discredited elections since the formation of the current main opposition in 2000.
These discredited polls resulted in the government losing legitimacy a development which saw it falling out of favour with the international community and potential investors.
According to Chamisa, holding another disputed election will only add more suffering to the people of Zimbabwe and therefore there is need to ensure the 2018 elections are credible.
“In 2013, after Zanu PF stole the election, the late icon, Dr Tsvangirai said the costs of electoral theft to the nation would be enormous. He was right as the evidence around the country shows.
“It is the ordinary men and women who have had to carry that cost, not the Zanu PF elites and their families and associates. Another illegitimate election in 2018 will simply add the amount of costs.
“Unfortunately, ZEC and their associates are not doing enough to prevent illegitimacy. This is why we insist that they must change. We will not stand in the way of the people in their demand for peace, stability and legitimacy,” he said.
Chamisa added that the challenges of Zimbabwe are way bigger than party politics and go well beyond partisan politics.
He said people of Zimbabwe are ready for the change that his party has been preaching about since its formation but there are forces that are inhibiting progress.
“It is clear to me that Zimbabwe is ready for the fulfilment of the message of change that the MDC has been preaching for a long time. There is no doubt in my mind that the people of Zimbabwe are ready to give us the mandate to lead the country to prosperity. We are ready and willing.
“However, and regrettably, certain forces that are inimical to progress and reform are standing in the way of the people of this country. This is not new but it cannot be allowed to defeat the will of the people.
“An inclusive, free, fair and credible election is the only route to legitimacy, which Zimbabwe desperately needs. Without legitimacy and stability, there can be no economic recovery, let alone progress in this country. But, as I have already said, certain forces are threatening the attainment of that legitimacy and much-required stability.
“The fulcrum of a free, fair and credible election is the referee. Our referee is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The referee must not only be fair but it must be seen to be fair. We have serious concerns over the conduct of our referee which we believe is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with the standards of fair play,” said Chamisa.
MDC Alliance said the practice of democracy requires that citizens are afforded a free, fair, credible and legitimate process of electing their leaders over the past two decades Zimbabwe has gone through a series of disputed elections that have plunged the country into a persistent crisis of legitimacy.
The opposition said “our people are yearning for a fresh start, a new beginning and have a renewed hope and faith in the potential of their country. Zimbabweans want to move forward towards transformation, opportunities and prosperity.
“We have come a long way to be here today. The current government which took over from former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017 did so under the pretext that it was going to ensure a free, fair and credible election in 2018.
“What we are currently witnessing is a regime that simply talks but does not intend to hold credible elections. We are moving towards a violent free but illegitimate election,” said the Alliance.