By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ZIMBABWE’s poll management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has failed in its mandate to deliver credible elections and has in the process, triggered conflict, international isolation and contested outcomes since 2000.
This was said by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa in a letter to the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) dated October 28.
Chamisa said the crisis of legitimacy that has haunted successive Zimbabwean governments after elections in the past 20 years has resulted in economic problems as well as social pain for ordinary people.
“As such, instead of being a trigger for consent and development, elections have precipitated a vicious cycle of dissent, violence, illegitimacy and poverty,” wrote Chamisa.
He was responding to a proposal by the church leaders to suspend elections for seven years and allow for reforms as well as rebuilding of the country.
Chamisa said ZEC’s failure to run credible elections has created undesirable consequences in the country.
“The above undesirable consequences could have been avoided had the country been holding free, fair and credible democratic elections.
“That there is need to break with this vicious cycle is plain and obvious to all progressive voices, local and international,” the MDC leader told ZHOCD executive secretary Reverend Kenneth Mtata.
“How to do it is the major question. For our part, this is why we continue to call for major political reforms, a call that is echoed by many and the international community.”
Chamisa said the MDC has used every legal avenue available even in the face of provocation.
“We have done so using lawful, constitutional, peaceful and non-violent means; our dedication to this core value and principle is beyond doubt.
“Hence despite provocation, temptation, violations and repression, we have remained steadfast in our belief in peace and no violence,” he said.
“Nevertheless, our experience as a political party has demonstrated the great weaknesses at the core of constitutionally provided mechanism for generating such consent.”