WITH just a week before the parliamentary election, the indications are that the democratic forces of Zimbabwe will turn the tables against Zanu PF.
ing defeat, Zanu PF seems to be resorting to its usual dirty tricks in order to cling on to power.
While there has been reduced violence as President Robert Mugabe feared openly clashing with other Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries due to non-compliance with the bloc’s protocol on elections, the regime has decided to exploit some requirements of the Sadc protocol, specifically the requirement to hold the elections in one day and the use of translucent ballot boxes.
There are allegations that Zanu PF has been going about intimidating people both in the urban and rural areas, telling them that because counting will take place at the polling station the party will be able to identify all people who vote at that polling station and these will be punished where the opposition wins the majority votes.
As there will be more polling stations than has been the case in past elections, most polling stations are likely to have a turnout of less than 300 voters, so it will be easy for them to follow up the voting patterns.
Zanu PF has allegedly also told the electorate that the ballot paper will unfold when it is dropped into the translucent box, enabling them to see which party one will have voted for.
While there is optimism that the majority of the people of Zimbabwe now realise that such intimidatory statements are nothing but empty threats, I want to suggest that voter education be intensified to instil confidence in the electorate that their vote is not only their right but their secret, and that no one will ever know who they will have voted for.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the media, civic society and all the contesting parties must spread the message in the remaining days before the election.
ZEC must set a good precedent for future elections. The learned men and women in that body must know that Zimbabwe is under scrutiny, and they should strongly advise Zanu PF and the government against stealing the elections as they did in 2000.
ZEC and civic society organisations must run advertisements on radio, television and in the print media to assure the electorate that the practice by some political parties who are taking down their names, addresses and national identification numbers is illegal and unconstitutional, and that it is up to them to choose to vote or not to vote, that their vote is their right and that no one will ever know who they vote for. Such advertisements may help restore credibility in the whole process.
If the voters make the mistake and vote for Zanu PF out of the usual fear, then there is no future for the majority of Zimbabweans.
Let us come out in our millions and vote out tyranny.