Source: The price of taking voters for granted – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 2, 2018
THE just-ended Zanu PF primary elections, chaotic as they were, have produced a number of pertinent talking points, but one thing that has come out clearly is that the electorate has embraced the concept of generational renewal and it’s no longer business as usual in the country’s body politic.
Just a cursory look at the results so far released, indicates outright rejection of the so-called party bigwigs in preference for new Zanu PF brooms ahead of general elections expected in a few months’ time.
It would appear that time is now up for some of the ruling party’s career politicians, who had taken the election process as just a formality to authenticate their continued stay in power.
The shocking electoral irregularities exposed in almost all the party’s provinces also seems to confirm long-held fears that Zanu PF always used these same vices to retain power after rigging its way up, before unleashing State security agents to crush dissenting voices.
So, opposition leaders, instead of laughing their lungs out over chaos in Zanu PF, should derive important lessons from that chaos to perfect their own candidate selection processes.
We understand, the main opposition MDC-T party is planning to hold its own primary elections between May 5 and 12 and the country expects them to avoid a repeat of similar mistakes.
It must also not be lost to the opposition that these electoral shortcomings exhibited by Zanu PF could be tell-tale signs of worse things to come if the governing party-State conflation remains unchecked at the time the country holds general elections later this year.
Most, if not all the rigging machinations used in the just-ended Zanu PF polls are not new.
The opposition has always raised complaints of vote-buying, stuffing and theft of ballot boxes, use of doctored voters’ rolls and use of violence in the past general elections, so they should pile pressure on Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to safeguard results of the forthcoming elections.
Who knows, the chaotic scenes was a trial run for the party’s election rigging machinations and to test public reaction.
So, for the opposition, forewarned is forearmed.
Zanu PF leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged the circus in his party’s candidates’ selection process, but dismissed it “teething problems” as a necessary evil to test-run their new-found internal democracy.
We still believe it is Mnangagwa’s role to ensure Zimbabwe conducts free, fair and credible elections when they are due and not a repeat of this charade.