‘No space for opposition in Zim politics’
Cape Town – Zimbabwe is not ready to hold fair and free elections this year
as there is little space for opposition politics in the country, the
Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (Idasa) has said.
According to News Day, the regional think-tank also accused the Southern
Development Community (SADC) of failing to fulfil its mandate to stop
Zanu-PF dominance and the structures responsible for the 2008 bloody
“There is little space for opposition politics and therefore inadequate
oversight . . . In Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF continues to dominate the political
arena… The use of state resources for personal and party gain is common.
For this reason, no level playing field has been created for fair elections
to take place,” said Idasa in research paper titled Ready or not? Elections
in Kenya and Zimbabwe 2013.
“In contrast [with Kenya], the Zimbabwean process is incomplete and highly
politicised. In addition, the draft [constitution] that has been released
does not address contentious issues adequately such as dilution of
presidential powers and devolution. In both cases, repressive legislation
remains in the statutes.
“This situation is exacerbated by a lack of enforcement of the GPA [Global
Political Agreement] reforms by the SADC mediators. It is also considered a
shortcoming of the MDC formations that, despite holding a majority in
parliament, they have not pursued possibilities for legislative reform
The report comes at a time when Zimbabwe is expected to hold a
constitutional referendum on March 16 and to go for polls later this year.
Already there have been reports of increased violence in the country with
the latest being an arson attack on the home of an election candidate in the
eastern part of the country, which resulted in the death of the politician’s
The attack, according to the Movement for Democratic Change was one of 120
incidents of violence recorded so far this year.
Idasa is an independent public interest organisation that strives to build
sustainable democratic societies in collaboration with African and global
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