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Zimbabwe – New Constitution Key to Free and Fair Elections In 2008

August 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

It is general knowledge that the next Presidential election will be in 2008. Although there are different opinions about whether the Presidential election will be held then or not, it is abundantly clear and enshrined in the present constitution that we are required to hold a Presidential election in 2008.
Assuming that the election is called for early 2008, it leaves a period of less than 15 months to prepare for the presidential election. Zimbabweans should start to debate the kind of a presidential election we will have without a new constitution.

Holding a presidential election under the present constitution clearly guarantees a Zanu PF victory. It’s therefore clear that the task of the government is of ensuring that we use the present laws to hold the 2008 presidential election and any other election in the country.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) wants all Zimbabweans to come out and challenge the government to put in place a new constitution which is people-driven as a way of ensuring free and fair elections. Unless that is done, we will experience a repetition of a presidential election where opposition political parties are barred from campaigning freely in some areas.

We will also continue to have elections where the President and his government handpick observers and appoint people who run elections. At this particular juncture in the history of this country, we can no longer continue to run elections that are condemned by local, regional and international observers. Zimbabweans should not forget that we still have the same judiciary that took five years to hear the petitions of MDC cases arising from the 2000 Parliamentary elections.
It’s still the same judiciary that is still to hear the case of the MDC and President Mugabe where the MDC disputes the outcome of the 2002 presidential election. Now that we are already focusing on another presidential election with the previous case still pending, the NCA doubts regarding election held under the present constitution are vindicated.

The NCA urges Zimbabweans not to forget the partisan nature of the army that came out in the media prior to the 2002 election declaring that they had power to approve or disapprove of the outcome of the presidential election that year.
The role of the ruthless youth militia in the election is not clear and it was generally seen during the last presidential election as that of coercing people into voting for Zanu PF.

There are several citizens who can testify to the inhuman and barbaric nature of the youth militias during previous elections.
Zimbabweans should also reject having another crucial poll with a public media that is privatised by Zanu PF. An election under laws such as AIPPA and POSA where the private media is restricted and the public media is monopolised by Zanu PF is a clear indication of the unfairness of any election conducted in such an environment.
POSA will be used to deny clearance for opposition political parties’ meetings, rallies and any other gatherings. We cannot afford yet another election with an Election Supervisory Commission that can announce results with discrepancies with neither shame nor respect for the whole nation. We are tired of all the draconian laws and the tyranny that is perpetuated by the ruling elite and their cronies against peace-loving Zimbabweans.

The government is comfortable with the present set of laws that ensures its victory in any elections. We urge Zimbabweans from all walks of life to come out clearly, demanding a new constitution that is people-driven and serves the best interests of this nation. Zimbabwe does not deserve a constitution that allows a minority grouping to decide on behalf of the majority of citizens, who are languishing in poverty.

An election that does not ensure a free and fair outcome is a threat to democracy and should be resisted by all Zimbabweans. While acknowledging the need for different ways of demanding a new constitution, let’s all start to put pressure on the government so that it agrees to constitutional reforms before a crucial presidential poll.
The NCA is going to increase its presence on the streets, demonstrating for a people-driven constitution and we ask people to support this noble demand. Freedom is not easy and it comes with a price, therefore Zimbabweans should be courageous enough to confront the arrogant government until their needs are addressed.

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