THE Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) has warned that Zimbabwe’s next elections in 2018 will not be credible just as past polls in 2013 and 2008 if the country does not implement necessary reforms as agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
In its just-released report on the July 2013 harmonised elections, the Catholic commission said the polls were not credible due to government’s failure to fully implement agreed electoral, media and security sector reforms which reproduced the 2008 scenario that was characterised by violence and intimidation by “a certain party”.
“These practices will continue to influence future elections, including in 2018, if they are not addressed,” wrote the CCJPZ, adding that as a result of the failure to implement reforms, the 2013 elections were therefore “an extension… of the 2008 elections”.
“It might not be far from the truth if we say some people voted in July 2013 elections to save their lives, limbs and property. They wanted to avoid a repeat of 2008”, wrote Bishop Alex Muchabaiwa, the CCJPZ chairperson. Muchabaiwa described the 2008 polls as “one of the worst scenarios in Zimbabwe’s electoral history”.
The 2013 polls were won by Zanu PF with an overwhelming margin of over two thirds, a result rejected by the MDC formations citing systematic rigging, disenfranchisement and intimidation of voters. Both Sadc and the African Union endorsed the elections but refrained from certifying them as credible.
The CCJPZ said there is evidence that the elections were associated with embedded violence, intimidation and threats. It questioned how people were forced to feign illiteracy so political agents could assist them to vote.
“How can some traditional leaders assemble people on their homesteads on voting day and march them to designated polling stations to vote for specific political parties?
“How can some traditional leaders deprive other community members of food or any other humanitarian aid because they support certain political parties?