HomeLocalPoll roadmap half-baked– Analysts

Poll roadmap half-baked– Analysts

The document, described by analysts as a shortened version of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), does not spell out what actions would be taken against parties that fail to adhere to or implement agreed electoral issues.

It will certainly end up in the political dustbin, they said.

The roadmap was crafted after a no-nonsense Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit held in Zambia at which the three principals were ordered to find an uninterrupted path to free and fair elections.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the roadmap to Zimbabwe’s elections is just a shortened version of the GPA signed in 2008.

Despite agreeing on a number of issues, Zanu PF has steadfastly refused to implement them even though it claims publicly to be doing so.

He said there was no need for a roadmap as the GPA and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) guidelines on elections are clear about what has to be done to have a free and fair election.

“My sense is that we are going round and round in circles,” Mangongera said. “What is lacking is political will and commitment on the part of the principals. We all know what needs to be done.”

Even the International Crisis Group (ICG) has also criticised the signatories to the GPA for lacking the political will to reform the country’s security sector.

In a report titled “Zimbabwe: The road to reform or dead end” the organisation lambasted Mugabe and Tsvangirai for failing to address the issue of public violence which has become pervasive in both parties.

Mangongera said the outstanding issues of the GPA are the same contentious matters in the roadmap document.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations have failed to agree on  major issues which have a direct bearing on the holding and outcome of the elections.

These include security sector reform, recruitment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), deployment of the military in rural areas, the amendment of the notorious Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and the time frame for observing the polls by regional monitors.

Mangongera firmly believes that Mugabe will not reform the security sector and ZEC as they are the key institutions that enables him to hold on to power.

Zanu PF has vowed not to reform the commission arguing that determination of staff suitability was the work of the commission itself.

“Without these reforms we will be running a military election,” he said. “Zanu PF will not budge on security sector reform.”

University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe described the roadmap draft as  apartially useful half-backed document.

He criticised the document for failing to spell out what action the Sadc, the guarantor of the GPA, will take in the event that one of the parties refuse to implement the agreed reforms as has been the case before.

“It does not give a time limit for the implementation of some of the issues,” Makumbe said. “It’s a foot-dragging tactic by Mugabe and unfortunately the MDC formations are failing to see the trick.”

Another analyst said while Mugabe appears reconciliatory to rivals, his actions on the ground shows that the 87-year-old leader is far from embracing far-reaching political reforms.

Zanu PF youth militia and soldiers deployed in rural areas continue to intimidate and beat up people with impunity.

The police, who have been accused of being too partisan in favour of Zanu PF, also continue to selectively apply the law while the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the public media persist to openly churn out propaganda and propping up Mugabe.

Ever since the formation of the unity government two years ago, about 30 MDC MPs have been arrested at one point or another, with some of them being taken into court shackled in leg irons.

Makumbe urged the SADC extraordinary summit to be held in Namibia on May 20, to take firm stance against Mugabe to implement the reforms totality.

“This is the time for SADC to show its teeth,” he said.

He said Mugabe can only implement electoral reforms only if he gets real pressure or practical signs that the region no longer tolerates his “intransigence”.

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