That is music to every peace-loving Zimbabwean who have waited a lifetime for their first chance ever to take part in a free, fair and credible election! But after a lifetime of betrayals and disappointments, it is prudent to ask how realistic is the expectation of these elections will be free and fair?
"A mango tree demands more effort to plant and nurture, but you have a realistic expectation of harvesting mangoes from it that from thorn trees that grow like weed!" my late mother often said.
There is enough evidence to show that President Mnangagwa and his coup junta have no intention of holding free, fair and credible. If the British are serious in suggesting otherwise then they are expecting a bushel full of mangoes from a thorn tree!
"Elections aren't far off in Zimbabwe - likely just three or four months away. The British Embassy and its partners here in Zimbabwe have welcomed the commitments of the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to ensure those elections are free, fair and violence-free. But commitments must be made real!" said the British statement. "We and our partners continue to urge President Mnangagwa to implement the reforms necessary so that free and fair polls can be held and Zimbabweans can enjoy the future the deserve. As the UK's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, says, a successful election will be a "key milestone" in allowing Zimbabwe to return to normal economic and political relations with the international community."
The underlining and bold on "But commitments must be made real!" was mine for emphasis. The commitment to implementing the democratic reforms has clearly been lacking here and, worse still, time has run out; whether the British and their partners care to admit this or not is irrelevant.
The democratic reforms we are talking about here were proposed and agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as a Zanu PF cabinet minister during the GNU, would have known what the reforms were and that not one reform was implemented in the five years of the GNU. So, if he really wanted to implement the reforms following the November coup that deposed Mugabe he would have hit the ground running!
We must be open and frank about this, the regime has not implemented even one reform because it does not want to implement any reforms.Many of the reforms such as the those required to restore the independence and effectiveness of the Police, ZEC, etc. cannot be implemented in the remaining three or four months, even with all the good will in the world. Without a reformed and independent Police; with their power to investigate, arrest and arrest those responsible for politically motivated violence; it is impossible to give the electorate, especially those in the rural areas, the confidence the elections will be free of violence.
Even those reforms that can still be implemented now, at the eleventh hour, such as freeing the public media to give equal coverage to all political points of view; still one has to question whether that will make any meaningful difference.
It the truth must be said – and even if it means moving mountains, it must be said – it is impossible hold free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe without first implementing the democratic reforms designed to take away Zanu PF's carte blanche powers to rig the vote. IMPOSSIBLE!
SADC asked both partners in the GNU Zanu PF and the MDC to postpone the 2013 elections until reforms are implemented. "If you go into the elections next month, you will lose; the elections are done," they warned Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends.
Not even one reform was implement since the rigged July 2013 elections. Not one! The well-oiled, well-funded with billions of dollars looted from Marange diamonds, Zanu PF vote rigging juggernaut has gone through its gears and is now well and truly into overdrive. These "elections are done" and it is totally unrealistic to expect them to be free, fair and credible!
"As far as elections are concerned, support from the UK and other donors will allow domestic election bodies to carry out their critical work to provide oversight of the process and environment. Crucially, we've already supported a programme of litigation on election issues - to make sure that electoral practice is in line with the constitution," concluded the statement.
Yeah, but to what end and purpose when we already know the elections is done. The continued participation of the opposition, civic society, donors and the electorate in a flawed and illegal election will only give the process credibility.
What the ordinary people of Zimbabwe want to hear is the truth; that it is impossible for these elections to be free, fair and credible, not with no reforms in place. As for President Mnangagwa and his coup junta they too must be told the truth: if you fail to deliver free and fair elections, you will not be allowed to get away with yet another election, then the process will be declared null and void.
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