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Zimbabwe needs wide reforms to have credible elections but it may be too late

The (ZEC) has also been working more closely with political parties, to stimulate confidence in the electoral process.

These specific achievements are important. But they are probably not enough. They fall short of NERA’s calls. And elections are still threatened by political violence, abuse of state resources by the ruling party and vote buying.

The ZEC’s reforms must take place within the framework of other systemic changes outlined above.

ZANU PF has managed to delay the debate on electoral reforms and the reform of the electoral act. There will not be enough time to make the changes before the 2018 elections.

The opposition’s “Grand Coalition” is not likely to challenge ZANU PF successfully.

That party sees itself as having brought democracy to Zimbabwe. It will not reform itself out of power.

Individuals in government and the security apparatus are loyal to the ruling party.

This thin line between the party and state has a direct bearing on the political culture of militarisation of government business, fear and repression. In practice, no distinction exists between government and ZANU PF officials especially in the security sector.

The party and state are heavily conflated.

The Ministry of Justice controls the finances of the Election Management Body (EMB).

The government can get the EMB to waste time so that reforms will not threaten the stranglehold of ZANU PF in the 2018 elections.

Unless civil society sustains its pressure for reform and succeeds, the 2018 elections will only serve to legitimise continued authoritarian rule in Zimbabwe.

 

By Enock Mudzamiri. This article was first published by The Conversation

 

 

 

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