With the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) now preparing for by-elections to fill-in vacancies that have since arisen in Parliament and councils mainly as a result of recalls by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T, analysts have said the mini-polls will not solve Zimbabwe’s current crisis.
Following the Supreme Court ruling early this year, which technically replaced Nelson Chamisa’s presidency of the country’s main opposition – MDC Alliance with Khupe, the latter has since been recalling legislators and councillors showing allegiance to the former.
ZEC last week lifted with immediate effect the June suspension of electoral activities paving way for holding of by-elections
The suspension had been effected as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Analysts have however said nothing much should be expected from the imminent by-elections.
“Although it is part of the law and how democracy works, these by-elections are proof that in the final analysis elections are a political tool for the elites,” said political analyst, Khanyile Mlotshwa.
“They have nothing to do with the will of the people as always claimed but the power games of the elites. It is very easy to predict what will happen in these by-elections; the MDC Alliance led by Chamisa will be buried.”
He said elections have never anywhere solved any problems or challenges that the nation or the people face.
“If anything, and in Zimbabwe in particular, elections have become part of the problem and the crisis,” he bemoaned.
“We know how at some point elections in the country led to the ‘long sleeve, short sleeve’ violence, leading to that runoff that [ late former president Robert] Mugabe won by nearly if not over 90 percent but was still forced to negotiate a GNU. We know from our history, elections never solve anything. It is the same case with these by elections, they will not solve the current crisis, which is a human rights crisis and a crisis of legitimacy. It only calls for behaviour change on the part of the regime.”
Zanu-PF, Mlotshwa said, has a big chance of winning those elections.
“By hook or crook, the conditions have been so far created to prepare us for a Zanu-PF victory,” he said.
“However, to be honest the conditions in the country are such that this is an election which should not have a winner and that should not be surprising.”
Methuseli Moyo, another political analyst, said it was obvious that the polls would not change the country’s political landscape.
“Zanu-PF has an unassailable majority in Parliament,” argued Moyo.
“The by-elections will heighten political temperatures and worsen the crisis.
Moyo was however of the view that Chamisa’s party would romp to victory.
“The outcome will return Chamisa’s councillors in urban centres, but might be a God sent opportunity for Zanu-PF to capitalise on the divisions and sneak in in some areas previously won by opposition,” he posited.
“Again, the by-election will be an indicator as to who between Khupe and Chamisa is ‘the real deal’.”
Opposition ZAPU spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa told CITE, elections in Zimbabwe under the current set up both politically and institutionally cannot solve any of the country’s problems.
“The matter lies hugely on the credibility of the electoral process as well as how genuine are the laws governing and regulating the elections,” he said.
“On both questions, we are found wanting. Our national problems have been created and perpetuated by one party state idea by Zanu-PF and dualisation of our democratic dispensation by MDC and ZANU PF respectively. This is where we have always gotten it wrong, as well as willingly falling to the persuasions that elections in Zimbabwe are about Zanu-PF and MDCs.”
Maphosa added: “Polls are about Zimbabweans and their desperate desire to extricate themselves from the yoke of poverty and underdevelopment under Zanu-PF and MDCs.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology