Democratic and Electoral Reforms Deserve Equal Attention as the Economy

Government efforts to halt the economic crisis affecting the country should be equally matched with genuine and inclusive interventions to arrest democratic and electoral deficits holding the country back.

While numerous platforms have been convened and led by government to support economic recovery over the past year, close to one year since the 2018 harmonized elections, not a single platform has been convened or led by government to support democratic and electoral recovery on the basis of recommendations made by observers invited to observe the polls in 2018.

The same inclusive approach that has seen business and other stakeholders meeting with government to find solutions to the economic crisis should be witnessed in efforts to sustainably address governance issues which, some have argued, contribute to the confidence deficit which has an effect on the economy.

Efforts aimed at dealing with one problem at a time while ignoring other pressing matters are likely not to succeed especially given that Zimbabwe challenges are multifaceted and therefore require a multifaceted approach.

In defining Zimbabwe’s path towards recovery, which has become the basis of the country’s re-engagement strategy, international friends have indicated both economic and democratic reforms as being central to unlocking external support.

Nothing is standing in the way of a sincere government to fully appreciate the need to be inclusive in addressing democratic and electoral challenges in the same way it is approaching economic challenges. Nothing also stands in the way of government upholding the rule of law and instructing the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to comply with a High Court order on the unconstitutional conduct of the President of the Chief’s Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira. Nothing further stops government from ensuring that Chief Charumbira is sanctioned for his indiscretions ahead of the 2018 elections if government is serious about respecting its own courts and the rule of law. When all is said and done, nothing is standing in the way of inclusively implementing reforms as recommended by observers of the 2018 harmonized elections, one year after the same.

Government is therefore urged to embrace the responsibility it has to be exhaustive and inclusive about dealing with challenges Zimbabweans are facing. Being selective about which challenges should be addressed and cherry picking which among the challenges will be addressed first will only result in the partial addressing of the issues drawing Zimbabwe back.

Electoral and democratic reforms deserve equal, inclusive and exhaustive attention now, in the same way that economic challenges are occupying most of government’s attention.

Relegating democratic and electoral challenges to the periphery will result in the country plunging into yet another round of chaos at the next polls which will negatively affect the economy yet again. The public confidence necessary to unlock the economic potential of the country has a correlation with democratic and electoral reforms. Ignoring this fact will perpetually lock the country in a never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis.

Source: Election Resource Centre