On January 17, 2023, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) hosted a Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Indaba on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and cast an aspersion on the Delimitation Process and the general political environment ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The CSOs Indaba interrogated the technical aspects of the 2023 general elections as well as the general political environment and implications on the credibility of the upcoming polls.
The CSOs Indaba noted the following;
- Participants noted that while the ZEC delimitation process is fraught with irregularities and remains part of a broader scheme by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to rig elections in favour of the ruling party, ZANU PF, it remains part of a broader scheme to tilt the electoral environment in favour of ZANU PF
- ZEC remains captured and continues to work as an appendage of ZANU PF and this points out to discredited elections in 2023. In some areas of the country, there has been a deliberate attempt to frustrate potential voters and a huge number of citizens remain disenfranchised
- Electoral reforms remain a pipe dream in Zimbabwe with the country’s elections failing to meet the guidelines of the African Charter on Elections, Democracy, and Governance. Zimbabwe is yet to implement recommendations from previous Electoral Observer Missions including recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry relating to the conduct of credible elections. This points to yet another illegitimate election in 2023
- Zimbabwe continues to witness political violence which is being perpetrated by the ruling ZANU PF against the country’s major opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and this has created an uneven playing field with the State making concerted efforts to ban opposition events. Selective application of the law has resulted in ruling party activists perpetrating violence with impunity. Traditional leaders and war veterans continue to openly campaign for ZANU PF while threatening violence against the opposition against the dictates of the constitution
- Ahead of the 2023 elections, the country continues to witness lawfare against opposition activists while law enforcement agents continue to conduct themselves in a partisan manner and this continues to dent the credibility of the 2023 polls
- The public media remains biased towards the ruling party and this again is against recommendations from previous Election Observer Missions
- There is a deliberate attempt to undermine, underfund and capture the Independent Commissions which were created to support democracy in Zimbabwe. These include the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC), and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC). The role of these Commissions to contribute towards credible elections in 2023 has largely been compromised.
- Issues around access to the voters’ roll point to a deliberate attempt to rig the 2023 elections and expose the collusion between ZEC and ZANU PF
Resolutions and Way Forward
- The CSOs Indaba noted that issues relating to the technical aspects and the general political environment point to yet another flawed election that will certainly fail the credibility test and thus result in yet another legitimacy crisis in Zimbabwe.
- Events currently obtaining on the ground point to yet another bloody election in 2023 and Zimbabwe is not prepared for free, fair and credible polls. There is a deliberate attempt by the State to entrench authoritarianism and move towards a one party state.
- In light of the above-mentioned challenges, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition shall continue with mobilization efforts at the grassroots level to empower citizens to demand free, fair and credible polls. This includes ensuring that citizens reject a flawed process with pre-determined outcomes.
- The Coalition shall intensify advocacy campaigns at the regional and international level and this also includes pushing for long-term observer missions ahead of the 2023 elections.