‘Elections before reforms costly’
HARARE – David Coltart, the smaller MDC faction’s legal secretary says
President Robert Mugabe’s insistence on elections this year without reforms
is a blunder he will live to regret.
Coltart was speaking at a discussion on “Elections and costs in Zimbabwe
this year” last week where he said holding of elections would only be
possible after the necessary reforms and GPA.
“The political party that is going to force through this election will most
likely alienate itself from very powerful leaders in the region and donors
who have invested political capital to make sure some normalcy returns to
“We will be literally slapping the African Union, Sadc and President Zuma
who have invested and taken a lot of strain in trying to convince these
organisations. The UNDP has sunk in millions of dollars to drive this
process,” said Coltart.
He said he did not see any of the MDC formations participating in a sham
election and that the only parties that would likely take part would be Zanu
PF and some “stooge parties and whoever forces this election will incur
frightening political costs.
“There is a cost to Zanu PF because an election is most likely to cause
divisions within the party because they have no consensus within that party
to the holding of elections this year.
“It will be a huge political cost that could be Zanu PF’s biggest undoing
and may result in the creation of two separate political entities. Mugabe
cannot afford any more divisions over failure to consult with a view of
going ahead with elections,” Coltart said.
He added that another cost will be political stalemate while sanctions will
get tightened. The little legitimacy that Zanu PF had in 2008 will be
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora agreed with Coltart saying Mugabe wanted a
quick exit from this presidency because it was an international
“Mugabe was not elected in 2008 and he knows it. He has met with young
democratically elected leaders over the past four years and its humiliating
“But we are saying if Zanu PF is genuine about elections this year, why don’t
we just agree on the modalities of a free and fair poll then hold elections
tomorrow — open up the airwaves, repeal oppressive legislation and
reconstitute the electoral commission,” Mwonzora said.
Zanu PF’s representative at the discussion Goodson Nguni said Zuma or Sadc
will not tell his party on what to do.
“Read my lips, you will not see more of Lindiwe Zulu (Zuma’s political
advisor) here much more and Zuma will not be telling us what to do with our
“The president of Zanu PF and the country’s head of state has categorically
stated that he would pull our party out of the GNU because we are tired of
working with imperialist stooges and the people of Zimbabwe will be the
final arbiters on who they want to rule them. We must afford them that
chance this year,” Nguni said.
Coltart said Zimbabwe did not have the money to fund elections this year and
Zanu PF would probably have to fork out money to fund the plebiscite.
“We cannot print anymore money, that era is over. Now we have to spend hard
cash and I can speak with a degree of certainty that our capital account is
in the red.
“The country may have to forgo social delivery services like education which
is already compromised to fund elections,” Coltart said.