via Diaspora vote key to unseating Zanu PF 22/12/2013
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party will likely rule forever unless people in the Diaspora are allowed to vote from their bases, a political and economic commentator has said.
“We must take the issue of voting for everyone including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to the international court and challenge it,” said Vincent Musewe last Friday during an event organised by the Mass Public Opinion Institute in Harare.
“We need a new movement in the country otherwise we are wasting time. We need to take action and assume responsibility of ourselves.”
Election laws only allow those working at the country’s embassies and others on national duty outside the country to participate in elections through postal voting.
An attempt to enable the estimated four million Zimbabweans living outside the country to vote from their bases failed during negotiations for the new Constitution due to opposition from Zanu PF.
Explaining his party’s opposition in July last year, Patrick Chinamasa, who was then Justice Minister, said Zimbabweans living outside the country were a “a hostage population, only free and accessible only to one (political party)”.
“With respect to people living in the diaspora, let me say this right from the outset, there are other 101 reasons why we are not ready for diaspora voting and I will just enumerate the few. The capacity to have polling stations in every country where Zimbabweans are is just beyond the capacity of this country,” he said.
“The other consideration and it is very important, given where we are geo-politically, where we are, we have sanctions imposed against one of the three political parties in the inclusive government.”
Mugabe and Zanu PF cantered to a landslide victory in general elections held on July 31 with the opposition dismissing the vote as a monumental fraud.
Despite his advanced age (he turns 90 in February) and speculation over failing health, Mugabe has insisted he will serve out his new five-year term to the private consternation of ambitious top lieutenants who, however, lack the courage to openly challenge him.
Musewe said Mugabe’s refusal to let go of power was no surprise.
“In 1980 when the country attained its independence Mugabe was clear as he said a one-party state,” he said.
“(Mugabe) was even reluctant to go and negotiate with the British at the Lancaster House because he did not want the inclusion of other parties like ZAPU which had played a significant role in the liberation struggle in those negotiations. He, in fact, wanted to say ‘I won the war alone’.”
Musewe also said opposition parties can forget about toppling Zanu PF as long as the party retains full control of key State institutions.
“This (defeating Zanu PF) will not happen if the likes of the Mudede (Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede) is still there,” he said.
“I read in the book The Struggle for Zimbabwe that Robert Gabriel Mugabe – now the Commander in chief of the defence forces – once complained to Ian Smith that ‘how can I gain power when you (Smith) are in full control of the army and the state security?’.”
During the tenure of the coalition government, opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai unsuccessfully pressed for key reforms to either break or weaken Zanu PF’s stranglehold on State institutions such as the security services which he accuses of helping Mugabe retain power.
Tsvangirai has ruled out participation in new elections without reforms to ensure a free and fair ballot but analysts say the former premier has little chance of forcing these changes now that he is out of government.