Of opposition parties, activists and elections

by Peacemaker Zano

The election period is now in full swing and most political parties are now vigorously campaigning for their candidates across the nation in preparation for the harmonised elections that are scheduled for early next week.

Most political parties have admitted that the political environment has been conducive such that all parties can freely mobilise their supporters without fear of being victimised by other parties. This only came to light after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated as the Head of State in November last year, following the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa did not only open the political democratic space, but also the economic environment through clearly declaring that Zimbabwe is open for business. President Mnangagwa’s proclamation that Zimbabwe is open business was done so as to re-engage with other growing economies as well as luring both domestic and foreign investors in the country. The Zimbabwe is open for business mantra was accepted by a number of investors, and proof of its success has been noticed in the increased numbers of investment commitments made to date.

However, most opposition parties and political activists are abusing the political liberties that came with the appointment of President Mnangagwa. The MDC Alliance has been topping the list of those abusing the political freedom.

Firstly, the Alliance principals had been making unsubstantiated claims that the political environment has not been level. The Alliance leaders were preposterously saying the public media was favouring the ruling party, ZANU PF at the expense of their parties. This was proved wrong, as public media houses have been covering all political party’s activities.

For instance, The Herald has been publishing articles on opposition party’s rallies and their campaign advertisements. Whilst on the other hand, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) TV, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Patrick Mavhura called upon all political parties that wanted to market their candidates and party manifesto to send their political advertisements for flighting. Already, on radio stations such as Star FM, there are a lot of political advertisements from MDC Alliance.

Apart from that, the opposition MDC Alliance had been imprudently complaining against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) saying it was not performing to standard. The Alliance principals tried to impinge on the operations of ZEC and as such a number of futile accusations were labelled against it. This was being done as a way of discrediting and frustrating the electoral body.

The Alliance principals are trying to create an outrageous impression that ZEC is not accountable, hence causing loss of confidence in the electoral process. The MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa had said that they would continue with their demonstrations against ZEC just a week before elections, if their so called electoral reforms were not met. Unfortunately, the ZRP did not clear their protest as they are now busy with elections preparations which are at their peak point.

Of late, political activists including the former Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi has also been posting fake tweets pertaining ZEC. Kudzayi has accused ZEC of attempting to rig the elections, despite not giving convincing evidence how this is going to be achieved.

As a way of exposing his foolishness, Kudzayi and his agenda of campaigning for the Alliance, made sensational claims that ZEC chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba was having an affair with one of the presidential aspirants. If Kudzayi was genuine and had facts on how exactly ZEC was going to rig elections, he could have just exposed that, and not interfering with someone’s private life.

Political parties should leave ZEC to perform its mandated role without interfering in its operations. Political parties should also be encouraged to continue campaigning peacefully and desist from any form of hate speech or violence, for the election process to be considered as free, fair, credible and transparent.