MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa has hinted his party may not partake in the 2023 elections if the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government does not commit to electoral reforms.
He argued if MDC went into the elections without seeing evidence of reforms, the election result would produce the same outcome – another disputed election.
Responding to questions at the Bulawayo Press Club this week on whether he was preparing himself and the party for the 2023 elections, Chamisa doubted whether the party would even go that far, without having addressed the reasons that led to the challenged 2018 election outcome.
The MDC leader explained “fundamental issues around reforms” such as governance and respecting people’s will had to be addressed before an election was held.
“There can never be a 2023 election without resolving the 2018 outcome. Why must we continue when 2018 is not concluded? There is the agenda of national building that has to be resolved.”
Chamisa said, “If we prepare for 2023, we will be back to square one. We will win an election, Then V11 forms will be manipulated and altered, we will go to the Constitutional Court where it will make its decision. There will be a reproduction of what we have seen since 2000 (so) we will not waste our time for 2023 without resolving 2018.”
The MDC leader cited national elections in Zimbabwe have been disputed since 2000 and the root causes were still unsolved up to date.
“We did not resolve the 2000 outcome, therefore we had a replica in 2005. We didn’t resolve 2005 and had replica of the same in 2008, which we didn’t solve until (former South African President Thabo) Mbeki came. Therefore, we had the same problem in 2013, which repeated itself in 2018,” he said.
Chamisa indicated even some Zanu PF officials had stated that elections were unimportant in Zimbabwe.
“What is very clear is what (Victor) Matemadanda (Zanu PF’s commissar and Deputy Minister of Defence) said – that elections are not significant in this country; they don’t matter but are just a ritual at the end of day. What matters is what Zanu PF and its enforcers want. That’s why the military is very important, it can’t enforce one party but the will of people,” said the MDC leader.
He noted that dialogue was the ‘ultimate’ solution to end the “crisis” in Zimbabwe.
“We can’t wish away dialogue, even if we pour millions on the street there has to be as settlement. There’s no other way, even if we were to do the unimaginable and people have the appetite to do the unimaginable but we have to talk.”
Chamisa said if the dialogue between him and President Emmerson Mnangagwa took place, he would tell him, “We can’t have another disputed election.”
He added, “Elections in Zimbabwe have always been disputed, we want to make sure, the country returns to legitimacy and democracy. What we had in 2018 shortchanged what people voted for.”
Issues that are supposed to dealt with include accepting what people voted for and Chamisa indicated this is the argument, he has highlighted to Mbeki.
“Let us return to legitimacy, I look at economy and if people have voted properly, the economy responds in positive manner but once you rig there is instability in the country due to the absence of confidence. Until we restore trust and confidence, you will not resolve our issues,” Chamisa said.
“We need to solve issues of governance in the country that’s what we need to discuss (with Mnangagwa) yes they may be unwilling to reform themselves out of power but that’s why we are talking of breaking barriers.”
The MDC leader also urged Zimbabweans to show as well that the country cannot have another cycle of disputed elections.
“If you are putting hope in 2023, you might as well forget about elections in Zimbabwe, if we don’t resolve these challenges. Why should we go to rituals that are not giving effect to our voice, which is why we must resolve the governance crisis? We have had settlements before but they are not holistic in addressing fundamental issues that’s why I am refusing any sweetener to be in government before my time. Let’s have reforms,” Chamisa pleaded.