‘Govt has no appetite for electoral reforms’

The opposition must be prepared to fight for victory under the ‘most adverse’ conditions as Zimbabwe heads to the 2023 elections since the government has little appetite to implement electoral reforms, Professor Welshman Ncube of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has said.

Electoral issues revolve around the entire spectrum of electoral issues including the electoral environment, equal treatment of political parties, the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), voter education, ‘proper’ voter registration, media impartiality and the political environment, among other factors that make elections free and fair.

Political parties, civic society and diplomatic missions have been calling on Zimbabwean authorities to amend the country’s electoral laws so that all parties have a fair chance of winning at the polls.

However, with less than a year to the 2023 harmonised elections, some electoral reforms are yet to be implemented.

“We are very far in terms of electoral reforms,” Prof Ncube, a constitutional law expert, said in a Twitter spaces discussion organised by CCC members based in the Diaspora, Monday.

“In respect to be able to do electoral reforms, you have to have a conversation with Zanu PF, the de facto government and it’s already basically on the eve of elections, even if you were to do electoral reforms it will be difficult for any of these to actually be implemented before the elections.”

Prof Ncube, who is also CCC’s interim vice president, claimed the government, which was controlled by Zanu PF, had less interest in implementing electoral reforms.

“Those of us who have back-channel conversations with people in Zanu, government, in the ministry of justice and elsewhere who are responsible for electoral reforms or conversation around that, I can tell you there is very little appetite in Zanu PF for a conversation on electoral reforms, under excuse that all reforms that had to be done have been done during the lifespan of the inclusive government – that those reforms which deemed necessary were done,” he said.

“So, there is a bit of exasperation in those back channels around the conversation on whether or not you still need further reforms.”

In light of this belief system by Zanu PF, Prof Ncube predicted that there would not be many electoral reforms made.

“My prediction, guess short of a dramatic shift, is I don’t see much progress being made on electoral reforms which basically means we have to be ready, prepared to win elections under the most adverse of conditions, to be able to overwhelm, overpower, overrun Zanu PF even without electoral reforms,” said the CCC leader.

“That’s what we have to prepare for, we have to tell ourselves, convince ourselves, plan for an electoral fight without any further reforms. Because all the indicators suggest that there is no appetite for that even if there were to be last minute appetite, it will probably be too late to have any substantial effect on the 2023 elections.”

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