via ‘Zimbos lose confidence in elections’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 23, 2015 by Stephen Chadenga
Zimbabweans have lost confidence in elections as a vehicle for political change, a worrying trend given that the next polls are three years away, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo has said.
The country is expected to hold fresh general elections in 2018 amid fears that most electoral reforms demanded by the opposition parties would not have been implemented.
The country’s post-independence elections since 1980 have been marred by allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and violence against opposition party members.
“Zimbabweans are tired of elections. They now don’t see them as a vehicle of change and the consequence is serious voter apathy which is a big blow to democracy,” Mlilo said while addressing guests at a CZC-organised media and civil society engagement meeting in Gweru last Thursday.
“This is a worrying phenomenon because 2018 is just around the corner. Voters have lost confidence in the manner in which elections are handled.”
Mlilo said his organisation would soon intensify political advocacy campaigns until 2018 to mobilise the electorate to participate in national elections despite the uneven playing ground.
He also accused the security sector and the judiciary of being partisan.
“If you compare with Zambia, you find that institutions like the judiciary are more democratic and handle electoral disputes impartially. The military there (Zambia) are not actively involved in the running of elections like here,” Mlilo said.
“Army officials here even make announcements that they will not salute certain individuals even if they won elections. This is tantamount to a pre-emptive coup.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Elections Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini said it was high time the country embraced e-voting as was the case in neighbouring states such as Namibia.
“Civil society in Zambia is allowed to engage and freely observe elections. This allows for independent verification of elections results and more transparency,” Chimhini said.
The meeting, organised by CZC, was meant to afford local civil society groups a chance to compare notes on their findings from the elections held in Namibia and Zambia recently.