The road to Zimbabwe’s harmonised polls gets wider Some of the delegates at the Zanu-PF five-day orientation and induction workshop in Gweru recently

Wallace Musakanyi, [email protected]

Zimbabwe is now in fully-fledged electoral season with scores of election stakeholders gearing up for this episodic power contestation exercise while the general populace is also showcasing their readiness to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

The 2023 harmonised elections coincide with the flowering and flourishing of democracy in the Second Republic with the democratic bar set to be raised higher as the Government has pledged to conduct peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa proclaimed Wednesday, August 23, 2023 as the day that the country will conduct the polls.

For the first time in history, elections are going to be held in the month of August. The same month is sacrosanct as it carries significant and invaluable historical value with key public holidays, that is the Heroes Day as well as the Defence Forces Day.

It will provide massive political mileage to the ruling party through the contextualisation of patriotic history associated with these holidays to the party’s spirited patriotic campaign since the party cherishes and values the ethos and values of the liberation struggle.

The election date is also strategic especially in safeguarding the freedom of worship as the elections are going to be held mid-week, not during the weekend, which is a time of worship for many Christians nationwide.

The electorate must take stock

The electoral process is an important exercise that must be practised diligently by the electorate who have the power to either appoint or dethrone leaders.

It is against a backdrop where there has been the proliferation of inactive and dump leaders in Parliament and at strategic policy formulation and implementation levels yet active, vocal, charming and over-promising the electorate during the campaign trail in the constituencies they hail from.  

This has been the case for Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators who have been using their presence in the August House as a golden opportunity to express their bitterness over Zanu-PF’s electoral victory by sabotaging Parliament business as well as quibbling, that is arguing for the sake of arguing without meaningful substance and value.

Nevertheless, the ruling party’s legislators have been taking their assignments seriously. To date, they have greatly contributed to the crafting and enacting of reformative laws, among them two constitutional amendments.

The amendments prolonged the lifespan of the women’s quota, established the youth quota and made changes related to the appointment of judges to mention just a few.

In addition, the Patriotic Bill which is a master stroke to sell-outs, loose talkers and neo-liberally inclined opposition members who profiteer from demonising the Government sailed through the lower house, that is the National Assembly, last week, courtesy of the 99 Zanu-PF MPs who voted for it.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)

Zec is prepared

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is prepared to technically administer and handle the upcoming polls. It has since rolled out a cocktail of programmes in pursuit of its legal mandate.

Elections this year will be conducted in sync with the new electoral boundaries which were drawn as a result of the delimitation program, an exercise that the commission timeously completed ahead of the August polls.

Last week, the commission concluded two important exercises which are the voters’ roll inspection and voter registration.

These programmes have a net effect of promoting the realisation of the civil and political rights in general and jealously safeguarding the inalienable right to vote giving life to the constitutional democracy which forms the basis of Zimbabwe’s governance infrastructure.

Zec has even issued a clarion call to electoral observers across the four corners of the world to start applying to observe the elections.

This is pivotal especially in ushering a credible, transparent and undisputable election which falls within the confines of the democratic benchmarks.

Zanu-PF’s house is in order

The ruling party is polishing its able political machinery as it enters the electoral season organised and united.

Democracy is strongly attached to the attributes and guiding values of Zanu-PF as the party recently concluded its internal primary elections which were transparent and served as a precursor to the forthcoming elections.

In the words of the late statesman Thomas Sankara, “A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal”. Likewise, Zanu-PF is this week conducting a five-day ideological and leadership training workshop for all its democratically elected political candidates ahead of the upcoming elections which also serves as a battlefield and contestation of ideas and ideologies.

Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Illizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo is testament to the commitment of the ruling party to the country’s development thrust.

Mega infrastructure that includes dams, roads, airports, schools and clinics, to mention just a few, have been constructed, which is noble in cementing the social contract that exists between Zanu-PF and the masses ahead of the elections.

Tyson has resurrected

Former Cabinet Minister Saviour “Tyson” Kasukuwere who is in self-imposed exile in South Africa confirmed that he is going to contest for the presidency during this year’s polls.

I am reminded of the phrase, “history repeats itself”, where Kasukuwere’s political ambitions are concerned.

In 2018, Ambassador Ambrose Mutinhiri stood as a presidential candidate when it was widely speculated that he had the blessings of the former President Mr Robert Mugabe. He garnered a total of 4 107 votes which translated to 0,1 percent.

Even at constituency level, the votes he garnered were insufficient to guarantee him the Member of Parliament position. Losers like Fadzai Mahere garnered more votes than the aforementioned presidential candidate.

Social media has been awash with conspiracy theories that Tyson is going to graze into Zanu-PF’s territory and harvest votes from the so-called die-hard Mugabe fanatics.

These conspirators must take notes from Ambassador Mutinhiri’s page and if Tyson contests, he is inevitably going to suffer the same fate because no politician is bigger than the Zanu-PF party itself and in turn, Zanu-PF members owe their allegiance to the party rather than to individuals.

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