EFFORTS by the opposition, particularly Mr Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance and surrogate organisations to discredit the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) ahead of the July 30 elections are a desperate act to create a soft landing to their electoral defeat.
After the ushering in of the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following the resignation of former President Mr Robert Mugabe in November last year, the opposition was robbed of their “Mugabe must go” mantra that they had latched on since 2000.
Now the country goes to the July 30 elections with a number of developments that have all but condemned the opposition to the dustbin of history.
President Mnangagwa’s administration indeed hit the ground running, making interventions in a number of critical issues that had dogged the country for many years, leaving the opposition with no campaign material hence their persistent, unwarranted attacks on Zec.
For the first time in years, the opposition approaches the elections in their worst financial state with their traditional funders shifting focus thanks to the Government’s re-engagement efforts on the international scene.
All those countries that were once hostile to the country and turned to the opposition to influence illegal regime change, have all warmed up to the new administration in an expression of confidence that President Mnangagwa and his Government are guiding the nation towards a positive direction.
The never-recorded-before investment commitments attracted by the President Mnangagwa administration to the tune of $16 billion is also testimony of reception that the new administration is getting from the international community.
Through their own admission, the MDC-Alliance through their spokesperson Professor Welshman Ncube, said they were not funding any of their candidates, moving away from tradition when contestants were provided with large sums of money to fund their campaigns.
It is clear that the opposition’s greatest undoing towards the July 30 elections is not Zec but all forms of bankruptcy — ideological, organisational and of course financial.
The threats of demonstrations therefore in a bid to arm-twist Zec into committing illegalities like involving the opposition in the printing of ballot papers are nothing but rumblings of a defeated lot; defeated well before the elections themselves.
After realising that their message is not appealing to the electorate, the opposition, in particular MDC Alliance, have resorted to chaos in a bid to discredit the polls but unlike in previous years, no one is buying their antics.
They should know by now that nothing will stop the holding of the elections, even the terrorists behind the recent bombing at White City Stadium not only failed to eliminate the country’s leadership but also failed to derail the country’s preparations for the polls.
Credit goes to Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and her team for conducting their business in an open, transparent but firm manner that has exposed protestations of the opposition as lacking merit.
Addressing a weekly press briefing on Monday, Justice Chigumba rightly said that the printing of the ballot paper is the constitutional prerogative of Zec and any political party which feels aggrieved by the law and wants to appeal to the African Union (AU) and Sadc is free to do so.
Despite attempts to discredit the elections, regional and international blocs have expressed confidence that the country is on course for free, fair and credible elections.
Sadc on Monday said the country is on track for credible, free and fair elections as the pre-election environment has been peaceful while the majority of people are confident of the electoral processes.
This came out after a meeting between Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Simon Khaya Moyo and Sadc ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe.
Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Balbina Daes Pienaar, whose country is the Sadc deputy chair, said the regional bloc’s technical teams were on the ground observing electoral processes.
“As we are talking, election campaigns are in full swing around the country and it is important for us to be part of this process to observe how the election campaigns are being conducted,” she said.
“I can tell (you) together with my colleagues that the situation so far is very peaceful. Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and this can be seen. (There is) no violence so far and we are really happy that the run-up to the elections is quite encouraging. We believe that the elections will be free, fair and credible. We are committed to producing free, fair and credible elections. Our country observer missions will be arriving soon and I am sure latest by July 15 we should have a good group of observer missions.”
Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) was right on the mark when he said Zec is an independent body and should not be directed by anyone in its work.
“We hear there are some who are planning to demonstrate against Zec saying they do not agree with what they are doing, but Zec is an independent body which should not be directed by anyone on how to do its job. They should be left to do their job as required by law,” VP Chiwenga said in Harare on Monday.
He said it was surprising that the MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa was at the forefront of criticising Zec yet he was part of the committee that interviewed the Zec commissioners.
“The funny thing is that their leader chaired the committee that selected the commissioners. What has gone wrong now? I, however, urge all to remain peaceful and go and vote peacefully.”