By Daniel Chigundu
SEASONED economist Vince Musewe says things are not okay in the country and that people should not create false hope that the environment will enable the holding of credible elections next year.
Zimbabwe is set to go for what has been termed “watershed-elections” in 2018 and most opposition parties in the country fear that there might be political violence and vote rigging by the ruling party.
Elections in Zimbabwe have been generally characterised by violence and intimidation and this has been usually given as the reason why MDC-T has for the past 17 years tried with little success to remove President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party.
According to MDC-T the unevenness of the playing field gives Zanu PF an advantage over others and the challenges have remained unchanged to this day.
Opposition parties have tried coming together under the banner of National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) to try and demand electoral reforms before 2018, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is on record saying they cannot institute the demanded reforms as it is the duty of Parliament.
Unfortunately, President Robert Mugabe when he officially set the legislative agenda for the 4th session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe did not mention anything to do with electoral reforms.
However, writing on his facebook page, Musewe said the various challenges being experienced in the country gives Zanu PF advantage and makes it impossible to run credible elections in 2018.
“We must stop pretending that things will be okay. They are not okay. You cannot run credible elections where there is poverty and hunger. You cannot run decent elections which are run by a contender.
“You can never have level playing field where the incumbent abuses your taxes to intimidate you and gain advantage. You cannot elect a 94 year old and hope economy turns around. You cannot eradicate patronage and corruption over night.
“As far as I am concerned conditions for free fair and credible elections will never be created by a dictator who fears change. We should not run any election under such conditions. It’s a waste of time and resources which creates false hope,” he said.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai took advantage of Africa Day to urge African leaders to flex their muscles and help drive Zimbabwe towards stability and democracy ahead of the 2018 elections.
“It is in that spirit of African solidarity that it behoves upon me on this great day to appeal to the people and the leaders of Africa to keep Zimbabwe in their prayers and to feel obliged to continue to redirect us towards stability, inclusivity, growth and democracy.
“As Zimbabwe braces for a watershed election next year, Africa must be in solidarity with the Zimbabwean people and not necessarily with the Zimbabwean leadership.
“Given our history of violence and disputed elections, we pray for once that the rest of Africa will support all efforts for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in the run-up to 2018. Africa has done it before and we trust that they will be with us again next year to ensure that the people’s will is freely expressed, respected and guaranteed,” Tsvangirai said.