Opposition political parties agitating for “electoral reforms” want polling laws amended so that people are forced to only vote for them, a senior ruling party and Government official has said.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa told The Sunday Mail that many real electoral reforms had been instituted over the past eight years and talk of further changes was baseless.
Cde Chinamasa – who is Finance Minister – is a former Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, and was Zanu-PF’s chief negotiator in the 2008 inter-party talks that ushered in the raft of electoral reforms.
He said most of the electoral reforms were at the instigation of the opposition, and those parties had failed to dislodge President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF under those new laws.
As such, he pointed out, calls for “electoral reforms” were not premised on tangible issues but indicated the opposition wanted Zanu-PF to simply hand over power via new laws compelling the electorate to only cast ballots in favour of the MDCs and their allies.
Cde Chinamasa said parties had agreed on – among other areas – printing and distribution of ballot papers, manning of polling stations, how vote counting was to be done, the procedure for announcement and consolidation of results, voter registration, delimitation of constituencies, the composition and appointment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and proporational and women’s representation.
“ … the MDCs have no basis to demand any electoral reforms, and in fact as you are aware, they fear to lose elections. As you know, our Parliament from 2013 has thrown out members who were elected in 2013 and there have been numerous by-elections, almost to suggest another general election over the five-year term. And none of the splinter groups of MDC have participated for fear of losing those elections.
“You know there is now MDC-T, MDC-Biti, MDC-Mangoma, MDC-Welshman; and now more recently from our own party Zimbabwe People First – all of them are afraid of losing elections because they want to go into the 2018 elections lying to the people that they have the support of the generality of the population.
“So what we find now are false prophets peddling falsehoods about our electoral laws. The problem is not the Constitution, the problem is not the electoral laws; the problem is that none of these parties have viable alternative policies to those pronounced by Zanu-PF,” Cde Chinamasa said.
He went on: “The demand for President Mugabe to go is not a policy; and I think they should be told that it is for them to worry about their own leadership and not concern themselves with a leadership that is not leading their parties.
“It is for Zanu-PF to decide, and we have agreed that in order to win elections, we must have President Mugabe as our leader. They can’t tell us who should lead us. Their responsibility should be to find leaders who can stand against President Mugabe.
“So I want to emphasise that through the collaboration of Zanu-PF and all MDC formations – and before their own splintering and before Zimbabwe People First because that one was also part of us as we were negotiating levelling of the political ground – electoral reforms were done and there is no validity, no basis whatsoever to be demanding electoral reforms.”
Cde Chinamasa also said, “What I understand they are saying, and which is not possible, is that we should put into the law that people should vote for them. It’s unheard of that we put in the electoral law and the Constitution that the opposition parties must win.
“For them to win, they must have the support of the people which they currently, and in the future, do not have because they have no policies about running the country. They have no policies about the economy and social development of Zimbabwe. And quite frankly we cannot make a law that people should support them and vote for them.” sunday mail