Hon Matemadanda’s reckless utterances costly

Following the ZANU PF 18th annual people’s conference, ERC notes utterances made by Hon Matemadanda in an article published by The Standard claiming that elections will not remove ZANU PF from power. ERC denounces such reckless utterances that questions the sincerity of the New Dispensation in addressing electoral reforms well ahead of the 2023 Harmonised elections.

Matemadanda said “If elections fail we will use any other means necessary”. He also went on to say that elections will not remove ZANU PF from power.

Elections provide one of the few opportunities at the disposal of citizens to express themselves democratically. They are one opportunity that is provided once every five years where citizens decide who should govern them.

According to the Constitution, Zimbabwe has a multi-party democratic political system whose electoral system is based on equality of votes, orderly transfer of power following elections, respect for the rights of political parties and respect for the people of Zimbabwe from whom authority to govern is derived.

The utterances attributed to Victor Matemadanda are in clear violation of the constitution which he took an oath to uphold together with other laws of Zimbabwe as a Deputy Minister. Zimbabwe is a democratic republic in which democratic processes should be exalted and not subverted. Suggesting that there are other ways to remain in power outside elections reinforces the growing perception that elections in Zimbabwe do not determine who governs.

The fact that the statements were uttered in the presence of the country’s leaders with none of them correcting the position shared and reaffirming the supremacy of the constitution and their commitment to democracy, raises questions about the government’s commitment to reforms. Threatening to subvert the will of the people expressed through elections is a practice synonymous with Zimbabwe prior to November 2017. The utterances, unchallenged or not retracted, confirm that the new dispensation mantra could be a convenient smoke screen to mask the perpetuation of an undemocratic culture in Zimbabwe.

Government cannot convincingly indicate that reforms will be implemented when its officials repeatedly threaten the Constitution and democratic processes in such reckless fashion. This is not the first time that the same Minister has threatened to subvert the will of the people through unconstitutional means unrestrained. Tolerance to such threats and utterances by government is unacceptable.

Real reforms coming from government must be inclusively agreed upon by a cross section of stakeholders with an interest in elections, implemented collectively, tested and reviewed before being finalised. Reforms must go beyond a commitment to implement them and must be reflected in what the government says and does.

Source: Election Resource Centre