Joelson Mugari (NERA Chairman)
Elections results determine the economic growth, social index, and development of any country in the world. Elections marred by irregularities, ambiguities, violence, and disputes never give out a stable economy for the same country; hence the idea of having a stable Zimbabwe economically, socially, and developmentally. Such election results MUST be avoided and avoided only by electoral, media, and security sector reforms among others.
Citizens, therefore, are now ready to work together in demanding such reforms before the 2023 Harmonised watershed elections and in turn enrolling the #NoReformsNoElections2023.
It is crystal clear that Zimbabwe’s ruling party is entirely dependent on elections rigging, media monopoly, and security sector capturing. This then results in them clinging to power despite hardships being faced and experienced by the citizens. With the COVID-19 lockdown regulations supported by series of statutory instruments (S.I.s), the ruling party and government are conniving along such to suppress the citizenry and remain in power.
As much as COVID-19 is a reality, the selective application of the law towards the implementation of its regulations leaves a lot to be desired. Some MPs are deemed above the law. ZANU (PF) is allowed to gather crowds for unsanctioned rallies during the COVID-19 lockdown.
No one should be allowed to break the COVID-19 rules whatsoever at any given moment, but unfortunately as of now, such regulations apply only to selected people, organisations, or selected political parties, why??
Now our weapon as citizens is UNITY. Citizens are being mobilised into uniting against the odds, uniting against inferior rules being paused by the government of the day.
An informed nation is knowledgeable and a knowledgeable nation has power. What is lacking in Zimbabwe is the advocacy principle.
The youths of nowadays do not know their rights, do not know the future belongs to them, do not know power is in their hands but believe in by-standing by terraces and watch from there.
Can we allow this to go on like that? No. we need to advocate for the youths, advocate the elderly, advocate the middle aged, men and women all need to be on board.
- Social media:
As much as social media is powerful it has its limitations as well which are:
*It demands resources for one to be up to date on ongoings in the news lines thus demands Data for internet access, a challenge for unemployed youths and citizenry of a country with an unemployment rate of now almost 💯.
*It requires certain gadgets like Android phones, palmtops, laptops, and/or computers which are expensive to acquire for unemployed and mostly rural folks.
*Network on its own is yet another challenge, for it sometimes is a nightmare in town, by which we can’t mention rural areas.
*Some elderly people do not even know how to operate such gadgets, a good example is a number of MPs in Zimbabwe parliament are failing to operate and flow during virtual parliamentary sessions, then what of mere rural folk.
Among other things, those are some of the challenges with information dissemination through social media.
- Print media:
Print media can help reach certain corners of the country; such media has a number of appreciable ways it can be distributed. News or information can be spread through newspapers, stickers, flyers, catalogs, and or posters. This can take time to reach the final destination but it eventually reaches out to the people in the furthest end of the country where social media is a nightmare.
Hence this then tells us that with reasonable manpower, print media can be used for information dissemination and can reach out to people in the furthest end with assurances that it reaches the final destination.
Civic education is very important. Most dictators try and avoid citizens acquiring proper civic education, which we believe must be part of the syllabus in our schools so that on completion of education, the youths will be equipped and mentored to know of their rights – rights to vote, rights to life as well as little political background. This then makes a nation very able to participate in any national events like elections, referendums, and even worthy demonstrations. This is the main reason why we came up with this informative civil rights advocacy program on the national Agenda #NoReformsNoElection2023 campaign.
- Scope of the Agenda:
Political parties in Zimbabwe are slightly missing out on points. The crisis in Zimbabwe is all but initiated from one centre of problems. Elections are the source of economic decay, corruption, and maladministration in this country. As long as election results are disputed then the international community, investors and other interested partners will simply watch the ongoings from the terraces and that then adversely affects the growth and development of a country.
- Agenda #NoReformsNoElections2023 campaign is being introduced to pin up the ruling party and government to quickly attend to reform seriously, as long as citizens unite on the campaign then the political crisis in the country will start to shape up. Hence this campaign is the real crisis solver of Zimbabwe but, remember, Zanu Pf once said ‘we can’t reform ourselves out of power’ meaning that the elections, security sector, and media reforms are major power shifting gadgets.
- ZEC as an elections body also needs to reshuffle and reconstituting it with neutral commissioners, it must also be weaned from the Ministry of Justice and stand independent of the same. A lot of skirmishes are currently happening, a good example is the cancellation of all by-elections due to COVID-19 regulations. Yes, the pandemic is there but it’s unfortunate that now it is being used as a political weapon against the opposition. Zimbabwe is now a one-party state indirectly due to COVID-19 regulations being applied only against opposition political parties.
- This project Agenda #NoReformsNoElections2023 campaign is the biggest threat to Zanu Pf power hanging dynamics hence requires determination and massive support, arrests shall be made but that must not deter our aimed destination.