Opposition parties challenge 2028 election postponement plan

Two of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, ZAPU and the MDC-T, are opposed to the proposal to postpone elections in 2028, questioning who will have the authority to rule the country after the current administration and Parliament have served out their terms.

The debate over the possibility of postponing elections continues, and so far, several analysts and church leaders in Bulawayo are against the idea, citing the need to adhere to Zimbabwe’s constitution.

ZAPU and MDC-T have joined in the fray, stating they will ‘vehemently’ oppose this because the challenge in Zimbabwe was the unfair electoral playing field.

“We are opposed to any attempts by the ruling party, opposition parties or non-state actors to push for postponement of the elections in 2028. Our constitution is clear about the scheduling of general elections every five years,” said ZAPU National Spokesperson Richard Gandari in an interview with CITE. 

“We stand firm in the belief that the constitution should be adhered to without any machinations to deviate from its dictates.”

According to Gandari, the country had to concentrate on addressing the inadequacies mentioned in the findings from regional and international election observation missions that denounced the 2023 elections.

“It defies logic that anyone could even harbour private thoughts of delaying the chance to correct our mistakes and hopefully get our nation back on track,” he said. 

The national spokesperson said ZAPU’s “considered” position is that reforms and stricter conditions from SADC should be put in place between now and the date of elections in 2028 to avoid another disputed outcome. 

“Zimbabwe remains bedevilled by the question of legitimacy and so any talks of postponing elections should be frowned upon by all progressive and patriotic Zimbabweans,” Gandari said, claiming the ruling party was conniving with some opposition players in Parliament to push their tenure forward.

“I suspect the motivation behind such attempts to postpone elections is to delay the inevitable in the sense that people are now tired of the status quo and want change.”

Gandari said the SADC region is also tired of “being weighed down by Zimbabwe’s cycle of disputed elections and the economic challenges it creates.”

“There is a clear correlation between disputed elections and the mass exodus of Zimbabweans flooding neighbouring countries,” he added.

The ZAPU national spokesperson lambasted some individuals in the opposition who were now career opposition politicians and content with their positions plus whatever benefits they receive.

“Others are even proxies doing the bidding of the ruling party while masquerading as opposition politicians,” Gandari said.

Leader of the MDC-T, Douglas Mwonzora, questioned where the current elected leaders’ mandate to continue ruling after 2028 will come from, given that their terms expire at that time.

“It is wrong because then if the elections are postponed beyond 2028 whose mandate will then govern the exercise of authority by either Parliament or the President. They will govern using which mandate?” Mwonzora asked.

According to Mwonzora, the first step in resolving difficulties in Zimbabwe is to avoid interfering with the election timeline.

“What must be done as a matter of urgency is there must be dialogue on electoral reforms,” said agreeing with analysts who have previously stated that what is problematic in Zimbabwe is not the election schedule but the manner in which elections are held. 

“We are totally opposed to calls  for postponement of elections. Right now what political parties must be doing is to join one another to negotiate for electoral reforms, so that 2028 elections are free and fair,” said the MDC-T leader.

“The call for postponement of elections is coming from people who are in Parliament and want to extend their stay there and that is wrong. What is important for Zimbabwe is to have free and fair credible elections. Right now everyone must put their heads into the block to make sure that we have the necessary reforms.”

Sources have alleged that President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to extend his current term to 2030, a claim that has been publicly reported on.

“The problem is the opposition is taking the bait. There are cars, accommodation allowances and MPs are being promised US$50 000 each. These people take care of one another. They will be told it’s a housing allowance whether they buy a house or not, nobody follows. That money will  not be paid back. Now the MPs want to stay beyond their five years,” claimed the source.

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