Analysts criticise proposal to postpone 2028 elections, question elected leaders’ priorities

Zimbabwe is in perpetual election mode, with some segments of the opposition now calling for the postponement of the 2028 elections, raising concerns about when elected leaders will serve their electorate by doing the work they were elected for last year, analysts have questioned.

This assertion comes after news reports quoted one of the spokespersons of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) opposition party, Nqobizitha Mlilo, who proposed that the 2028 harmonised elections be postponed to allow for the creation of a government of national unity following an all-stakeholders dialogue to remove the current toxicity in national politics.

However, the proposal to suspend national elections is not new.

In 2019 church leaders called for the suspension of elections for seven years, saying Zimbabwe was in the grip of economic and political paralysis that could not be solved by another election.

That suggestion was rejected at the time, with citizens questioning how church leaders believed Zimbabwe would miraculously heal in seven years.

This time, analysts have once again dismissed the proposal, stating that constant talk of holding or postponing elections was now “annoying.”

“Why should elected leaders be thinking about the 2028 elections, less than 10 months after they were elected? Why are they always thinking of the next election at a time when they must be doing the work they were elected for in 2023?” asked one political analyst, Patrick Ndlovu.

“This shows us these elected people are hungry to feed from the trough.”

Ndlovu questioned why the opposition could contemplate such a move that appeared to align with Zanu PF’s 2030 mantra, where it is believed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to extend his second and final term by at least two years until 2030.

“Are they now saying their legislators in Parliament are useless? They don’t have an agenda in Parliament except self-enrichment. They should be using their MPs to propose reforms instead of concentrating on power struggles,” said the analyst, adding that talk of postponing elections needed a national referendum.

“Postponing the elections does not achieve anything. It just gives a group of opportunists a chance to loot. It is also a selfish way for the opposition and whoever is calling for it to try and keep themselves in power for long. Zimbabweans have now become generally selfish people.”

Another political analyst, Bernard Magugu, said it was “funny” that the opposition is seeking a postponement of the 2028 elections rather than calling for electoral reforms.

“We then doubt their claims of being an opposition because this is what Zanu wants – staying in power with or without elections,” he said.

Magugu said looking at Zimbabwe’s current political and economic situation, “nothing” will change to shift the balance of power or improve the livelihoods of people.

“Opposition political parties are too fragmented and frail to see what is needed to knock out Zanu from power. Our concentration has thus been conditioned to focus on politics of elections without focusing on levelling the ground first and doing it for the people and not positions,” he explained.

Magugu said elections mark the end of a democratic process and compared the transfer of power in elections as one that must be “as easy as slicing a watermelon with a sharp knife.”

“The transparent electoral process and power transfer should be and must be one of the core issues to be addressed first,” argued the analyst.

“Currently we are unfortunate as Zimbabweans because people are always thinking of elections even in their sleep, what of the core-political duties by political players for the people?”

Magugu added that even if elections are postponed for 100 years, without meaningful electoral reforms, they will produce the same results.

“It would have been best if elections were postponed to allow the reforms process to be completed, not postponing them for the sake of it!” Magugu summed.

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