CLAIMS of vote rigging, violence and intimidation that rocked Zanu PF’s primary elections could be a precursor to a bloody general election, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has said.
ZPP monitors peace in communities particularly linked to political activities. The peace monitoring group said it was, however, heartened by Zanu PF’s attempts to entrench internal democratic values through an open candidate selection process.
“ZPP applauds the ruling party in its bid to strengthen internal democracy however recorded worrying trends may recur during national elections due in a few months,” ZPP said in a statement.
The group seemed to suggest that political parties in Zimbabwe need to find a less competitive way of selecting candidates and with the opposition MDC-T preparing for its own process that might prove even more messy, the situation looks bleak.
“The overly competitive environment in which the primary elections are being contested using the ‘winner takes all system’ have potential to exacerbate sources of conflict.
“Flawed and contested election outcomes may set the stage for bloody harmonized elections,” said ZPP.
Zanu PF primary elections were characterized by late delivery of voting material across the country, technical and procedural inefficiencies as well as claims of people voting in the dead of night or ballot stuffing.
This, ZPP said, was a warning to political formations to stick to their pledge to conduct violence free elections.
“As the country continues to edge closer to elections, the ZPP continues to watch all elections with a view to zero tolerance to conflict and violent conflict before during and after the elections.
“The ZPP continues to remind political parties about their responsibilities in contributing to peaceful elections and the commitments they made when they signed the code of conduct,” the statement said.
The group said it was also disturbed by reports that Zanu PF was using State resources and institutions such as the police for its internal processes urging the ruling party to come clean.
“If the resources have been hired from the State it might be in the interest of transparency to declare this position to the electorate,” said ZPP.
As a confidence building measure ahead of the general elections New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a credible, free and fair election at the same time inviting international observers something that was anathema to former President Robert Mugabe who was forced out of power last November when the military besieged his private home and key State institutions in a bloodless coup.
The general elections are tentatively expected at the end of July or early August this year.