Zimbabwe's Parliament Interviews For New Electoral Commission
Mugabe and Grace arrive at Margarita Island in Venezuela for Africa-South America Summit. Back home, the president appears in no hurry to see to things like the Media Commission and even the Electoral Commission
Harare, Zimbabwe, 28 September 2009
I got the emails. Fungi and Paul were especially irate that I had not bothered to update you at all through the day!!
By way of explanation: I attended a Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) workshop all day today and then had to go out of town after that.
The ZESN workshop was basically an attempt by the NGO to inform intelligent input into the Constitution-making process. Focus was on the various forms of governance, the variety of voting methods around the world and pros as well as cons of all of them.
Most parties were represented, but the ZANU PF delegation only arrived ten minutes before lunch. After lunch, one of them took strong exception to one of the presenters calling POSA and AIPPA "draconian". He said his party did not think the law was draconian and that calling it this is hate language towards ZANU PF. His friend joined in and said the only people who think POSA and AIPPA are draconian are people "who are doing something wrong", before comparing the gathered to "small children who must be disciplined and they think the discipline is draconian."
The one area of intense interest was the presentation on electronic voting. We would eliminate fraud much easier with this route, and results are available almost instantaneously. Beats waiting for more than a month to hear election results.
I did point out to the workshop that Zimbabwe is not ready for this route. Even today, the vast majority of our people will, for example, prefer to deal with a human teller in a bank than trust the ATM outside.
In this country, the mentality is still that machines are not to be trusted because you can reason with them and would not admit it if they made a mistake, whereas the opposite is true of humans.
We would likely see all manner of court cases by aggrieved parties who would not trust the machine is correct to say they lost the election.
The holding of this ZESN workshop is also an important indication that we are nearing the end of this Inclusive Arrangement which is masquerading as a government.
It made sense that ZESN focused on the constitution and the electoral process only. These are the only two conditions that Mugabe has publicly backed. Should this thing fall apart and the MDC splits, Mugabe's hand will be freed to foist the Kariba Draft on a demoralised population with no will left to fight, having lost the only hope they had: the Inclusive Government thing.
Like he did in 2000, he will then declare the issue of the Constitution settled, clearing the way for new elections, in which he would then presumably stand in coalition with his politically exiled Prime Minister.
Parliament was also interviewing candidates for a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission today.
Not that it makes much difference. They did interviews for the Media Commission and yet it is still to be constituted. Mugabe, perhaps, claims that his dog ate the piece of paper on which the names were written. No other excuse has been given in public.
So, although Parliament is now moving with its part of the job, there is bottleneck at the Presidency and it does not look like it is going to eased or loosened any time soon.