‘Zimbabweans Should Fight Against Kleptocracy’ – Malema Urges Zimbabweans To Go Back Home To Defend Their Vote

TAFADZWA MAKONDO

When will Zimbabwe hold free and fair elections? What will happen it appears as if the elections are not free and fair? How will the divergent West and Eastern powers react to the outcomes? Why do electoral outcomes portend grisly nightmares, especially in the context of endless court matters? What is going to happen, after all is said and done, given the populist rhetoric that many a politician wear up their sleeves? Who is going to encourage Zimbabweans to stand out and restore genuine democracy?


EFF Julius Malema says Zimbabweans should go back home and vote


This is what the firebrand opposition leader Julius Malema is telling us; as he urges Zimbabweans to fully utilize the plebiscite in fighting against the oppressive rule of the ruling establishment.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has blown his trumpet in a musical manner for Zimbabweans to stand up and dance against the deteriorating human rights situation under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration ahead of the August 23 harmonized elections.

Zimbabwe’s military and other state security forces have for many years interfered in the nation’s political and electoral affairs, adversely affecting the right of Zimbabweans to freely vote for the candidates of their choice.

Malema’s melody comes at a time when Zimbabwe's political environment edges towards an uneven playing field with critics and analysts predicting a contested election. Last year, ZimRights, in a survey, established that next month’s polls constitute the leading cause of distress among Zimbabweans as political tensions heighten. In an interview aired on SABC News, Malema said it was time for Zimbabweans to defend the vote and restore peace and dignity.

“They must never despair. They must continue to fight for their country and reclaim it from kleptocracy and criminality that has hijacked Zimbabwe,” Malema said. “We want Zimbabweans to fight to take their own country back. We want the international community to lift the sanctions and let’s get Zimbabwe to function again.”

Malema also called on Zimbabweans in the diaspora to help in defending the vote in solidarity with the struggling masses back home. These people who are saying they are Zimbabweans all over are the ones who should be marching in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and demanding free and fair elections, Malema thinks.

“This thing of pretentious elections is not going to work and is not going to deliver the much-needed confidence that Zimbabweans need now from the international community. The Zimbabweans must never despair and must continue to fight for their country, one day they shall know real peace and freedom. We wish Zimbabwe well,we ask all of the actors to have a peaceful, just, democratic election so the voice of the people of Zimbabwe will be heard and heard carefully and clearly. We say to Zimbabwe our prayers are with all of you,” he said.

One would reasonably expect Mnangagwa and his administration to level the electoral playing field by preventing the military from engaging in partisan politics or interfering in electoral processes, and taking strong action to deter violence and intimidation by the military during the campaign period and elections. The military leadership should publicly demonstrate its commitment to a fair election process and not interfere with the outcome of the vote.

The role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which is charged with overseeing the 2018 election process, is also of particular concern. The commission has not demonstrated independence or impartiality. At least 15 percent of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s secretariat are serving or former military officials.

The government’s failure to repeal or significantly revise key laws or to address the partisan conduct of the police further undercuts free elections. Repressive laws needing reform include the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

All of these laws have been used to arrest peaceful protesters and censor critical media. The lack of reform places a greater burden on the police to ensure that the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly are respected during the campaign period.


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