THE call by the Southern African Development Community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe following the recent farcical elections is a joke.
The fundamental flaws in the recent Zimbabwean elections run deeper than the structural and procedural issues of voters’ rolls, polling times and people being barred from voting.
The single biggest problem with these elections extends beyond basic constitutional deficiencies and goes to the heart of a key political theoretical and philosophical concept: presidential term limits. I am surprised at how little attention the fact that six-term President Robert Mugabe was gunning for another five years in office received from journalists, analysts and regional and international organisations and observers. No election in which a six-term incumbent makes a bid for another term at the rei ns could ever be construed as free and fair.
Presidential term limits are not simply to give as many different people the opportunity to occupy the top position; term limits exist to further limit the scope for abuse of powers supplementary to and within the constraints of the separation of powers configuration of the modern democratic state. Term limits are therefore indispensable to any state and government configuration hoping to claim a true democratic nature.
After more than 30 years at the helm, the distinction between the person, the ruling party and the government and state apparatus like the police, military and judiciary becomes nonexistent. In many respects, Mr Mugabe has become the contemporary African personification of Louis XIV’s “L’état, c’est moi.” He is the state.
Mr Mugabe’s candidacy rendered the election outcomes null and void.
Democratic Alliance Gauteng Legislature Communications Director