Maxwell Sibanda 1 June 2017
HARARE – With the 2018 elections on the horizon, Zanu PF seems to have
captured key institutions like Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), ZBC,
police and army among others that can aid it to win the elections.
But how can this state capture be addressed before the poll as Zanu PF is
also in the habit of using state resources in the campaigns?
Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said Zimbabweans have been on this path
one too many times that the state capture before elections is not new at
all, hence the whole issue around “no reforms, no elections”.
“We have been on this path one too many times that the state capture
before elections is not news. These are issues where civics and opposition
parties need to zero in and mount pressure for reforms. It’s sad that
while Zanu PF is oiling the rigging machinery through capturing state
institutions, opposition are doing kleptrape and toying around MoUs and
enmeshing themselves in confusion.
“They simply need to coalesce and demand reforms now before any election
is held. They need to create necessary political crisis that makes Zanu PF
carve in and yield to reforms.
“But as long as they are so confused, there will be no prize for guessing
which party will form next government by crook and hook,” said Mavhinga.
Political activist Tabani Moyo said: “When we have a vibrant opposition,
these are the things that should top the agenda in mobilising all the
stakeholders towards the reforms and ensuring institutions are strong and
“This only happens when the opposition has a strong nerve centre and
technically equipped to ensure that the institutions work towards the
peoples of Zimbabwe needs especially in delivering a democratic verdict.”
Moyo added though that the opposition has a dual role of fighting for the
liberation of the institutions and mobilizing the peoples of Zimbabwe
towards believing into the electoral system once again.
Media practitioner Tawanda Majoni said the tendency in most post-colonial
African states has been for sitting governments to abuse their incumbency
to capture and manipulate key election-related public agencies for
“These governments have deliberately resisted meaningful reformation as it
would weaken their chances of remaining in power, particularly where the
political opposition is strong and the sitting regime is faced with severe
socio-economic and political problems.
“The solution, therefore, is for the opposition, civil society and other
non-State actors to fight for broad-ranging reforms that would promote
professionalism, transparency and accountability of these institutions,”
He added that unfortunately, there is little time to fight for and ensure
these reforms before the 2018 elections. “This is because the opposition
and non-State agencies do not seem to have sustainable strategies to fight
for and win adequate reformation of public institutions.”
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the main reason why they are demanding
electoral reforms is to ensure that the elections next year are conducted
in a free and fair environment that will guarantee a credible and
“It is very true that the Zanu PF regime has captured all the essential
organs of the state such as ZEC, ZACC, the police, army and the CIO.
“For many decades now, the ZBC has been reduced to being a Zanu PF
propaganda mouthpiece. This is the reason why the majority of Zimbabweans
are tuned in to satellite television and alternative media such as social
“This regime is beyond redemption; it cannot and will not be reformed or
rehabilitated. The only thing that has to be done is to affect a complete
and thorough regime collapse and regime annihilation, Nothing short of
this will be sufficient to create and construct a new developmental,
progressive and democratic nation state in Zimbabwe,” said Gutu.
He added that it is clear that the Zanu PF regime is already preparing to
rig next year’s elections in a very big way. “What we have to do now is to
devise and come up with a sustainable and viable plan B in the event that
all indicators keep pointing to the holding of a massively rigged election
“We should take some very hard and tough decisions that include, but are
not limited to, a total boycott of a sham and illegitimate electoral
Mining activist Farai Maguwu said: “The 2018 election is a lost cause
unless the opposition changes strategy. There is need for massive civic
disobedience demanding genuine reforms.
“It’s foolishness for the opposition to participate in this sham election
and cry foul afterwards. They simply need to take a stand and say no
election before genuine reforms.
“Zanu PF has captured all state institutions and in such a scenario an
election is the opposition versus the state and always the state wins.”
Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said the only feasible intervention
against the state capture by Zanu PF which “has long declared that it will
not reform itself out of power is for citizens to mobilize and actively
campaign for the implementation of the Constitution that guarantees the
independence of these key electoral institutions.
“We have to revive a culture of active citizenry to demand our rights and
to leave no space for the ruling party to manipulate the Constitution and
ultimately control all electoral processes. More than anything, active
citizenry will change Zimbabwe’s situation.”
Political commentator Vivid Gwede said partisan capture of state
institutions has contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s unfair elections.
“The playing field is not level, but objectively tilted in favour of the
ruling party. As we go to the 2018 elections, recommendations made by
previous observer missions must be revisited.
“Some of them have suggested that abuse of state institutions is violating
our own Constitution as well as SADC and AU principles governing
democratic elections, for example, the partisan nature of the state-owned
media and security institutions.
“In addition to concentrating on the BVR process, this is what Zinera must
clarify in terms of reforms. The recommendations made by observer missions
after each election are not merely academic, but must be taken into
account in successive elections.”