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Luke Tamborinyoka, asserts his wisdom that which is yet to happen and what is required to deliver his promise

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Lukeing the Beast in the Eye

Friday , 30 September 2022

Agenda 2023 : The specific reforms the citizens want for a credible poll

By Luke Tamborinyoka

Introduction

It is 10 months or just over 300 days before the watershed 2023 plebiscite that must be truly free, fair and credible if Zimbabwe is to break the vicious cycle of disputed elections that has afflicted this country for decades. Only yesterday, we in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) formally put on the political market in specific detail the case for the dire need of a raft of comprehensive reforms if Zimbabwe is to hold credible polls. We have always maintained that there is a need for a Pre-Election Pact for Reforms that we have dubbed PREPARE.

As part of my civic duties as a citizen, I add my own voice and in specific detail by republishing an earlier piece that I wrote late last year which contains the key matters that must be tackled if we are to hold a truly credible poll that must yield truly legitimate national political leaders.

Current settings that point to a flawed poll
We recently saw the Zanu PF second-in-command’s daughter being appointed as a ZEC commissioner; the same week that the Zanu PF national spokesperson bragged that the national army was part of their party structures.

We also saw a video going viral in which a Zanu PF supporter says Nelson Chamisa must be killed; and in which yet another party mandarin quips that Chamisa’s children too must be eliminated. To date, no action has been taken against the culprits.

Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa’s blood–soaked legacy as well as the callous murders of Nyasha Zhambe, Mboneni Ncube and Moreblessings Ali mean that the threats must be taken seriously.

With almost a year to go before the next watershed poll, the signs are clear we are headed for yet another sham unless the country implements a raft of comprehensive reforms to ensure a truly free, fair and credible poll.

It is in this context that we have called for a special kind of dialogue to discuss and agree on the raft of reforms to be implemented so as to ensure a credible poll. We have dubbed the reform agreement PREPARE , which is an acronym for Pre-Election Pact for Reforms.

There has in the past weeks been regime change in both the UK and Sri Lanka, well outside the electoral process. Zimbabweans still retain some waning faith in elections, but if the regime continues to throw spanners and to rig the electoral route, the citizens retain their right to siege the State House showers and to bathe there as they reportedly did in Sri Lanka when they chased their incompetent leader from the citizens’ sacred House.

After all, the citizens are the State and there are always no qualms if they storm the State House in order to occupy it. After all, it’s their house!

As part of my civic responsibilities as a citizen and in light of the regime’s clear intention to subvert the people’s will in 2023, I spell out in greater detail the issues that need to be addressed if we are to have a credible plebiscite in 2023 that reflects the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe.

Electoral Reform must be the uninterrupted national chorus.

As we bask on the cusp of a watershed year, Zimbabweans appear to have gone agog about the watershed plebiscite of 2023. And yet for some of us, highly expectant conversations about the pending elections that are not grounded on context are a false discourse.

The proper discourse should be about agreeing and implementing a raft of comprehensive reforms so that we break the vicious cycle of disputed elections that has afflicted this country since independence in 1980.

Ahead of this crucial year, the nation should engage in animated conversations not about elections per se but about the quality and character of those elections so that this important exercise of choosing our national and local government leaders ceases to be a meaningless ritual.

For it is only the implementation of agreed reforms that can afford us herd immunity against the unfolding pandemic of illegitimacy that has now affected all pillars of the State. Indeed, we now have an illegitimate Executive headed by an illegitimate President, an illegitimate Judiciary headed by a disputed and illegitimate Chief Justice as well as an illegitimate Parliament where representatives legitimately elected by the people have been recalled through murky agents and processes. The spectre of illegitimacy has now permeated all facets of the body politic and only a truly free, fair and credible plebiscite undergirded by a raft of comprehensive reforms can take us back to an uninterrupted path to legitimacy.

Today, on the eve of the year 2023, the talk should not be simply about the forthcoming watershed polls. The deeper discourse should be about a basket of cogent reforms to ensure that our electoral processes do not continue to breed contested outcomes.

We have walked this tenuous road before and we must now move to the deeper discourse of the character and nature of our national elections. It is not enough to fulfill a calendar assignment when it comes to the holding of elections.

Meaningful elections must embed the undisputed sovereign expression of the people. Therefore, it is nationally profitable for the reform discourse to now start dominating all public platforms in Zimbabwe.

Without substantive electoral reforms in this country, our elections will continue to be a meaningless charade.

I have noted the so-called reforms that have been touted by the Political Actors Dialogue, which reforms some of us feel are grossly inadequate to cure the rot in our electoral processes.

Some of us have equally noted a self-serving “reform” in which our POLAD friends want the threshold for funding under the Political Parties Finance Act to be lowered so that almost every other political “party” qualifies for funding.

The POLAD crew argues this must be done to promote multi-party democracy in the country when in fact our comrades—who have received luxurious cars from Mr Mnangagwa—appear to be on a sinister crusade of self-enrichment. But that is a story for another day.

Let it be unequivocally stated here that notwithstanding their frailties—and there were quite a number of them—the combined MDC component in the inclusive government achieved a lot in the reform agenda by forcing the debate and adoption of a new Constitution on an adamant and reluctant Zanu-PF that did not even regard a new Constitution as a priority for the country.

The new Constitution, adopted and affirmed in a referendum in May 2013, goes a long way in setting the benchmark for a new culture of conducting political business in the country, including clarity on the nature, character and quality of our national elections.

The ancient regime in Zimbabwe and the so-called New Dispensation may have ignored implementing significant aspects of the new Constitution and brazenly and extra-judicially amended others but in many respects, our Constitution remains a major reform achievement that has set loftier parameters and higher benchmarks for a whole host of processes, including how our elections ought to be conducted.

When it comes to elections, it should be noted that the cumulative number of recommendations from observer mission reports after every election are often reflective of the inadequacies of those elections. The higher the number of recommendations from observer missions, the poorer the electoral standards and the higher the number of issues that ought to be addressed ahead of the next poll. It is therefore telling that there were a whopping 223 recommendations from observer mission reports after the 2018 polls in Zimbabwe, compared to just about 15 after the last election in South Africa.

This speaks to a high number of frailties that observer missions felt should be addressed to improve the quality and credibility of our national elections here in Zimbabwe.

This week, I table what we feel could be the reforms that will infuse legitimacy and ensure that the country breaks this vicious cycle of disputed elections that has bred disputed outcomes, blighted our electoral record in Africa and made us an international pariah.

The few reforms that I table here are largely culled from our PRICE document that we have developed. However, I have added fresh issues that are at the core of our disputed elections as well as some historical and personal experiences so as to contextualise the key demands and proposals in the electoral reform agenda.

PRICE is an acronym for Principles for an Inclusive and Credible Election. The electoral reform proposals contained therein are largely a summation of the recommendations from the electoral players in the last election as well as the key recommendations from the various observer mission reports from Africa and the broader International community who observed our disputed 2018 elections.

The recommendations by observer missions and the historical issues and experiences tabled below have all been made in good faith and in a bid to improve the quality and credibility of our electoral processes.

The nuggets for reform

1 . A truly independent ZEC

While the autonomy and independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is enshrined in the Constitution, the reality is somewhat different. The ZEC must truly be independent in both form and substance. Its financial independence must equally be guaranteed, not the current scenario where it appears to be an extension of the Executive through the Ministry of Justice.

The ZEC must be seen to be in charge of all matters to do with elections, not to allow members of the Executive to usurp ZEC’s powers by using subsidiary legislation to suspend elections ZEC would have pronounced, as happened when ZEC allowed Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga to ride roughshod over them by giving the impression that the Executive was in charge of all election business in this country.

We need a truly independent ZEC that does not pander to the whims of the Executive and that does not appear to be subservient to partisan political interests. The conduct of ZEC over the years has exposed a malleable election-management body run from the Zanu PF headquarters. ZEC must be truly independent and must have guaranteed financial independence that enables it to prudently execute its Constitutional mandate.

2 . Real Time Auditable Result Transmission , Management and Announcement System

All election results, including Presidential election results, must be announced in real time after being signed off by all contesting parties at every level from the polling station to the National Command Centre.

Jonathan Moyo’s Excelgate has exposed the murkiness in the process in which the 2018 Presidential election results were transmitted. It was a dubious process that was shorn of accountability and transparency and in which massive fiddling took centre stage.

The charade that we saw in the last election in which President Nelson Chamisa’s election agents were made to wait in vain at the National Command Centre while the Presidential Election results were eventually announced without them being allowed the opportunity to verify the results and to sign them off before they were announced must be a thing of the past.

Our elections are harmonised polls and all results must be traceable and must be transmitted through a transparent and known process that is clean and auditable from the polling station to the National Command Centre. This did not happen in the last election.

3 . Security ServicesInvolvement in Elections

In Zimbabwe, the military has always been the elephant in the living room when it comes to political and electoral processes.

While there is a Constitutional cardinal that disallows the military from meddling in civilian processes including elections, the reality is that the army has always violated the supreme law of the land in this regard.

Perhaps the stand-out statement that showcases the military’s meddling in the country’s electoral processes was the infamous 9 January 2002 statement when the then ZDF commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe announced on the eve of a Presidential election that the Presidency was a “straitjacket” and that the army would only salute a President who had liberation war credentials.

This was a coup of sorts and a subversion of electoral processes as it meant that out of all the Presidential candidates who had successfully filed their nomination papers, the military was saying it would only accept one outcome.

At the time Zvinavashe made his infamous statement, the national election-management body, then called the Electoral Supervisory Commission, was chaired by Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, a retired soldier, while the chief executive officer was Douglas Nyikayaramba, then a serving military commander all pointing to the militarization of the country’s electoral process.

The 2002 Presidential election was run as a military operation because the National Command Centre, directly run by the military, was first established at the then Sheraton Hotel before it was moved to Manyame airbase.

The problem of the militarization of our elections is a historical problem that has endured to this day and is a matter loudly crying out for reform, especially after ZEC has now publicly confirmed that 15 percent of their secretariat are members of the security forces.

Utoile Silaigwana, a securocrat who is among the top bosses at ZEC is the biggest human evidence that the secretariat of the country’s election-management body needs to be de-securitised.

This is not to mention that former military commanders such as George Chiweshe, now a High Court judge, have at one point been allowed to take charge of the national election-management body and to actually run elections in this country.

In March 2008, after the Zanu-PF election loss, military commanders were assigned to the country’s 10 provinces where they orchestrated massive violence so as to reverse and subvert the people’s will in the contrived but bloody run-off poll that was held on 27 June of the same year.

The military must be proscribed from meddling in civilian processes such as elections. It is sad that even clear and unequivocal Constitutional provisions have failed to contain the military’s kantankerous and wayward behaviour when it comes to the country’s electoral processes.

The nation must debate and agree on how the military’s excesses during elections could be curbed, notwithstanding clear Constitutional provisions proscribing the same. These measures could include a public pledge by the military to abide by the true expression of the people as expressed in elections.

The pledge must be matched by concomitant behaviour. The other reform needed when it comes to containing military excesses is to operationalise section 210 of the Constitution by setting up an Independent Complaints Commission that protects complainants and/or witnesses against members of the Security services who perpetuate political and electoral malpractices.

It has not helped to inspire confidence that the members of the security services who brazenly killed citizens in August 2018 and in January 2019 have not been prosecuted in line with the recommendations of a Commission of inquiry set up by none other than Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa himself.

There is now no guarantee that any action will be taken against members of the county’s security services if they engage in violence and other malpractices ahead of and during the watershed 2023 plebiscite.

It has also not helped matters that on the eve of the coup in 2017, then ZDF commander and now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga went public and said the national army were “stockholders” in Zanu-PF, a poignant confirmation that the remit of the country’s military is not about protecting Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe’s interests but about protecting the interests of Zanu-PF as a political party, itself a brazen violation of the Constitution.

4 . Protecting and ensuring the right to vote for all citizens – – – including those in the Diaspora

The right of all Zimbabweans to vote is not negotiable as it is clearly and unequivocally enshrined in the Constitution. The full observation of the right to vote (universal suffrage) is guaranteed by the Constitution and the State must ensure that it puts in place mechanisms to enable every Zimbabwean with that cardinal right. The basic Constitutional principle enshrined in section 67 is that every citizen who is 18 years and above must be allowed to vote.

Every Zimbabwean, wherever they are including the millions of our compatriots that are in the Diaspora, must be accorded this right without fetter and without conditions. This tight must also be accorded to groups that include prisoners, hospitalised persons and all civil servants on duty on the day of the polls. No-one must be disenfranchised as has happened in previous elections to all the above mentioned groups.

It must also be mentioned that there must be full transparency around the so-called special voting where the secrecy of one’s vote must not only be guaranteed but where each of such special votes must count.

5 . Depoliticised State Institutions

Before, during and after elections, all State institutions including the police, the army and the courts, among others, must play a depoliticised role by stopping all actions that further or hinder the interests of a political party or cause in line with the dictates of our Constitution.

We have noted in previous elections the use of State institutions to advance the interests of Zanu-PF and to proscribe the political activities of other political players.

For example we have seen the weaponisation of the Covid-19 pandemic where Zanu PF electoral processes such as DCC elections and provincial elections have been allowed to take place while the political activities of other political players have been proscribed.

6 . Inclusive Voter Registration and an accessible , auditable voters roll

The State must ensure that all Zimbabweans register to vote and this starts by ensuring that it is made easy for anyone who wants to acquire IDs so that they can exercise their right to vote for a political party of their choice.

We have noted spanners and Impediments being thrown into the processes of ID acquisition and voter registration. Only in December 2021, a decentralised voter registration exercise that was scheduled to start on the 6th of December was cancelled for no apparent reason.

The RG’s office has also jumped into the disenfranchising fray, saying they can’t issue IDs because they have no ink due to sanctions.

All this is part of a well-choreographed script to disenfranchise Zimbabweans from exercising their right to vote.In the 2013 election for example, where I had a closer peek on the electoral issues, there was absolutely no transparency on the quantity and processes around the printing and procurement of election material. Ditto the situation in 2018.

In 2013 for example, there were 343 187 voters above 80 years of age on the voters roll, even though the national census held in the preceding year had registered 155 753 people to be above 80 years in the country.

It is such discrepancies and inconsistencies on statistical data that open the room for electoral pilferage. The 2023 elections will come a year after the national census and the story of inconsistent statistical data between the census and the voting figures is likely to continue.

It was also highly suspicious in 2013 that in a country touted to have one of the highest literacy rates on the continent, some 206 901 people, almost a quarter of a million people, were assisted voters.

We even had an interesting case in Mashonaland Central province in 2013 where some Zanu-PF youths who had dropped out of school ensured that their former school head was an assisted voter ostensibly on grounds of illiteracy. They wanted to ensure that he voted for Zanu-PF.

Our voters roll, which in Zimbabwe is a highly secretive document that is often made available on the eve of elections as hard copies that are not electronically analysable, has always been shambolic document with multiple duplicated names.

A meeting between the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and then President Robert Mugabe on the eve of the 2013 election is a case in point.

The meeting was facilitated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and at that meeting, Mr Tsvangirai presented a couple of pages showing multiple duplicated names that showcased the shambolic state of the voters roll that was to be used the following day.

At that meeting, Mugabe reportedly feigned surprise as he reclined into his chair after the shambolic voters roll was presented and said ” Ivo vana Mudede vanombozvifambisa sei ?” (Just how is the Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede doing his work?).

The reform here is that the voters roll must simply be a clean roll and must timely be provided to all contesting parties and candidates in a searchable and analysable format.

7 . Media and political reforms

Political reforms include those issues that must ensure the free and unfettered legitimate political activity of all the political players contesting an election. Political reforms must generally enable free political activity and deal with issues that affect the electoral environment.

In this country, we have seen State-sanctioned political violence against opposition political players and activists. Over the years, we have also seen Zanu PF being allowed free reign to campaign while the activities of other players are brutally proscribed.

We have seen the legitimate leader of the country’s opposition Nelson Chamisa being prevented from making forays into Zimbabwe’s rural hinterland. His convoy was in fact viciously attacked in Masvingo, Gokwe and Chinhoyi.

In Gutu an innocent family man was brutally attacked and killed for having attended Advocate Chamisa’s political meetings. Because an election is a process and not an event, one can already safely conclude that the ground is not even ahead of the watershed polls of 2023.

The reform here is that punitive measures outlawing violence, vote-buying, intimidation, abuse of aid or the abuse of State resources for campaigning must be instituted for political parties, candidates and other election stakeholders.

Media Reforms

All politics is a battle of messages and the Constitution is very clear particularly on the role of the public media in affording divergent views and equal coverage to all parties and candidates . Section 61 of the Constitution is instructive in this regard.

Section 155 (2) (d) of the Constitution is clear and unequivocal that all contesting parties and candidates contesting an election must be granted equal coverage in the public media.

The sole national broadcaster, the ZBC, has often faulted in this regard as it has almost always granted exclusive coverage only to Zanu-PF and its candidates.

In the 2013 election, the AU in its observer mission report bemoaned the fact that the State broadcaster had only granted live coverage to rallies by the Zanu-PF Presidential candidate in violation of best international standards and regional guidelines exhorting fair and equal coverage.

I had a nasty personal experience in this regard. On Saturday, 6 July 2013, as the spokesperson for the late Morgan Tsvangirai, I wrote to the ZBC demanding live coverage for the MDC’s election campaign launch at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.

The State broadcaster wrote back to me and demanded US$165 000, even though they had granted Zanu-PF free live coverage only the previous day at Zimbabwe grounds in Highfield, Harare.

In July 2019, the High Court made a landmark ruling when Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that the public media were biased in favour of Zanu-PF in their coverage of the 2018 elections.

We cannot proceed to the next election unless and until there are guarantees that the public media will accord all parties and candidates fair and equal coverage as demanded by the Supreme law of the land.

It cannot be a free and fair election if the public media funded by the taxpayer are granting unfettered coverage to only one of the contesting parties and candidates.

8 . Depoliticised Distribution of Inputs and Food Handouts

The use of food as a political weapon especially during elections has been widespread in our context.

This is an election environment issue as the weaponisation of food handouts tilts the election scales in favour of Zanu-PF. In Goromonzi West in 2018, Energy Mutodi had tonnes of maize that he kept at Nyamande turn-off in Domboshava, which maize he distributed to voters on the eve of the election in a brazen case of vote-buying to which ZEC turned a blind eye.

Food must be distributed in a non-partisan manner and Zanu-PF must be stopped from reaping a political dividend from the people’s hunger.

9 . Agreement on the Procurement and Storage of All Election Material

The procurement, management and storage of all election materials must be transparent.

In particular the identity of the printers of electoral ballots, the number of printed ballots and the extras must be known to all contesting parties and candidates. We have seen in other countries in the region contesting parties agreeing on the firm that prints the ballots and the agents of all the contesting parties boarding the same plane to collect the ballots to be used in an election. That is as it should be.

In our case, only Zanu PF knows by who, how many and where the ballots have been printed, oftentimes amid serious anomalies on the printed ballots and the number of people on the voters roll.

On the whole, the procurement, management and storage of all ejection material must be transparent and above board.

Conclusion

Indeed, as the 2023 watershed polls beckon, we must all up the ante not on the rhetoric of elections but on the substance of those elections. We must all harp on the supremacy of the Constitution, which Constitution must be seen to be supreme in all our electoral processes.

The continued invocation of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act in setting the election date, amending the Electoral Act, and promulgating electoral regulations is in clear breach of best international practice. It means that the President, who in most cases will be a candidate in the election, is allowed to set and amend the rules of a game in which he is a player.

The national chorus must be about the agreement and implementation of a raft of comprehensive reforms so as to ensure credible polls that will break the vicious cycle of disputed polls that has been the hallmark of our electoral processes for the past 42 years.

In some cases, as in the case of media reform, the reform needed is simply compliance with the already set provisions of the Constitution. This is not a hard or expensive reform to implement. Indeed, only a credible, watertight harmonised plebiscite will clothe and cover up the nudity of illegitimacy engulfing the lot in power in this country.

They have stolen everything—from the county’s vast mineral wealth to our collective dignity, from elections to the future and the hopes of our children.

These kleptocrats want to continue stealing everything in their wake and it all starts by stealing elections. That is why the issue of comprehensive electoral reforms must be the dominant discourse.

Indeed, the mantra must be reform, reform and more reform. There must be reforms or else the deluge. If they insist they won’t reform themselves out of power, then they must for the national good be goaded and stampeded into the reform agenda, by any means necessary.

Only a free, fair and credible poll and an assured process of peaceful transfer of power can stop this thieving lot that appears hell-bent on making Zimbabwe an upper middle kleptocracy by 2030.

Luke Tamborinyoka , a citizen from Domboshava , is an awardwinning journalist and ardent political scientist . He is the interim deputy champion for Presidential Affairs in the Citizens Coalition for Change ( CCC ). You can interact with him on his Facebook page or _Lukeing the Beast in the Eye

Friday , 30 September 2022

Agenda 2023 : The specific reforms the citizens want for a credible poll

By Luke Tamborinyoka

Introduction

It is 10 months or just over 300 days before the watershed 2023 plebiscite that must be truly free, fair and credible if Zimbabwe is to break the vicious cycle of disputed elections that has afflicted this country for decades. Only yesterday, we in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) formally put on the political market in specific detail the case for the dire need of a raft of comprehensive reforms if Zimbabwe is to hold credible polls. We have always maintained that there is a need for a Pre-Election Pact for Reforms that we have dubbed PREPARE.

As part of my civic duties as a citizen, I add my own voice and in specific detail by republishing an earlier piece that I wrote late last year which contains the key matters that must be tackled if we are to hold a truly credible poll that must yield truly legitimate national political leaders.

Current settings that point to a flawed poll
We recently saw the Zanu PF second-in-command’s daughter being appointed as a ZEC commissioner; the same week that the Zanu PF national spokesperson bragged that the national army was part of their party structures.

We also saw a video going viral in which a Zanu PF supporter says Nelson Chamisa must be killed; and in which yet another party mandarin quips that Chamisa’s children too must be eliminated. To date, no action has been taken against the culprits.

Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa’s blood–soaked legacy as well as the callous murders of Nyasha Zhambe, Mboneni Ncube and Moreblessings Ali mean that the threats must be taken seriously.

With almost a year to go before the next watershed poll, the signs are clear we are headed for yet another sham unless the country implements a raft of comprehensive reforms to ensure a truly free, fair and credible poll.

It is in this context that we have called for a special kind of dialogue to discuss and agree on the raft of reforms to be implemented so as to ensure a credible poll. We have dubbed the reform agreement PREPARE , which is an acronym for Pre-Election Pact for Reforms.

There has in the past weeks been regime change in both the UK and Sri Lanka, well outside the electoral process. Zimbabweans still retain some waning faith in elections, but if the regime continues to throw spanners and to rig the electoral route, the citizens retain their right to siege the State House showers and to bathe there as they reportedly did in Sri Lanka when they chased their incompetent leader from the citizens’ sacred House.

After all, the citizens are the State and there are always no qualms if they storm the State House in order to occupy it. After all, it’s their house!

As part of my civic responsibilities as a citizen and in light of the regime’s clear intention to subvert the people’s will in 2023, I spell out in greater detail the issues that need to be addressed if we are to have a credible plebiscite in 2023 that reflects the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe.

Electoral Reform must be the uninterrupted national chorus.

As we bask on the cusp of a watershed year, Zimbabweans appear to have gone agog about the watershed plebiscite of 2023. And yet for some of us, highly expectant conversations about the pending elections that are not grounded on context are a false discourse.

The proper discourse should be about agreeing and implementing a raft of comprehensive reforms so that we break the vicious cycle of disputed elections that has afflicted this country since independence in 1980.

Ahead of this crucial year, the nation should engage in animated conversations not about elections per se but about the quality and character of those elections so that this important exercise of choosing our national and local government leaders ceases to be a meaningless ritual.

For it is only the implementation of agreed reforms that can afford us herd immunity against the unfolding pandemic of illegitimacy that has now affected all pillars of the State. Indeed, we now have an illegitimate Executive headed by an illegitimate President, an illegitimate Judiciary headed by a disputed and illegitimate Chief Justice as well as an illegitimate Parliament where representatives legitimately elected by the people have been recalled through murky agents and processes. The spectre of illegitimacy has now permeated all facets of the body politic and only a truly free, fair and credible plebiscite undergirded by a raft of comprehensive reforms can take us back to an uninterrupted path to legitimacy.

Today, on the eve of the year 2023, the talk should not be simply about the forthcoming watershed polls. The deeper discourse should be about a basket of cogent reforms to ensure that our electoral processes do not continue to breed contested outcomes.

We have walked this tenuous road before and we must now move to the deeper discourse of the character and nature of our national elections. It is not enough to fulfill a calendar assignment when it comes to the holding of elections.

Meaningful elections must embed the undisputed sovereign expression of the people. Therefore, it is nationally profitable for the reform discourse to now start dominating all public platforms in Zimbabwe.

Without substantive electoral reforms in this country, our elections will continue to be a meaningless charade.

I have noted the so-called reforms that have been touted by the Political Actors Dialogue, which reforms some of us feel are grossly inadequate to cure the rot in our electoral processes.

Some of us have equally noted a self-serving “reform” in which our POLAD friends want the threshold for funding under the Political Parties Finance Act to be lowered so that almost every other political “party” qualifies for funding.

The POLAD crew argues this must be done to promote multi-party democracy in the country when in fact our comrades—who have received luxurious cars from Mr Mnangagwa—appear to be on a sinister crusade of self-enrichment. But that is a story for another day.

Let it be unequivocally stated here that notwithstanding their frailties—and there were quite a number of them—the combined MDC component in the inclusive government achieved a lot in the reform agenda by forcing the debate and adoption of a new Constitution on an adamant and reluctant Zanu-PF that did not even regard a new Constitution as a priority for the country.

The new Constitution, adopted and affirmed in a referendum in May 2013, goes a long way in setting the benchmark for a new culture of conducting political business in the country, including clarity on the nature, character and quality of our national elections.

The ancient regime in Zimbabwe and the so-called New Dispensation may have ignored implementing significant aspects of the new Constitution and brazenly and extra-judicially amended others but in many respects, our Constitution remains a major reform achievement that has set loftier parameters and higher benchmarks for a whole host of processes, including how our elections ought to be conducted.

When it comes to elections, it should be noted that the cumulative number of recommendations from observer mission reports after every election are often reflective of the inadequacies of those elections. The higher the number of recommendations from observer missions, the poorer the electoral standards and the higher the number of issues that ought to be addressed ahead of the next poll. It is therefore telling that there were a whopping 223 recommendations from observer mission reports after the 2018 polls in Zimbabwe, compared to just about 15 after the last election in South Africa.

This speaks to a high number of frailties that observer missions felt should be addressed to improve the quality and credibility of our national elections here in Zimbabwe.

This week, I table what we feel could be the reforms that will infuse legitimacy and ensure that the country breaks this vicious cycle of disputed elections that has bred disputed outcomes, blighted our electoral record in Africa and made us an international pariah.

The few reforms that I table here are largely culled from our PRICE document that we have developed. However, I have added fresh issues that are at the core of our disputed elections as well as some historical and personal experiences so as to contextualise the key demands and proposals in the electoral reform agenda.

PRICE is an acronym for Principles for an Inclusive and Credible Election. The electoral reform proposals contained therein are largely a summation of the recommendations from the electoral players in the last election as well as the key recommendations from the various observer mission reports from Africa and the broader International community who observed our disputed 2018 elections.

The recommendations by observer missions and the historical issues and experiences tabled below have all been made in good faith and in a bid to improve the quality and credibility of our electoral processes.

The nuggets for reform

1 . A truly independent ZEC

While the autonomy and independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is enshrined in the Constitution, the reality is somewhat different. The ZEC must truly be independent in both form and substance. Its financial independence must equally be guaranteed, not the current scenario where it appears to be an extension of the Executive through the Ministry of Justice.

The ZEC must be seen to be in charge of all matters to do with elections, not to allow members of the Executive to usurp ZEC’s powers by using subsidiary legislation to suspend elections ZEC would have pronounced, as happened when ZEC allowed Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga to ride roughshod over them by giving the impression that the Executive was in charge of all election business in this country.

We need a truly independent ZEC that does not pander to the whims of the Executive and that does not appear to be subservient to partisan political interests. The conduct of ZEC over the years has exposed a malleable election-management body run from the Zanu PF headquarters. ZEC must be truly independent and must have guaranteed financial independence that enables it to prudently execute its Constitutional mandate.

2 . Real Time Auditable Result Transmission , Management and Announcement System

All election results, including Presidential election results, must be announced in real time after being signed off by all contesting parties at every level from the polling station to the National Command Centre.

Jonathan Moyo’s Excelgate has exposed the murkiness in the process in which the 2018 Presidential election results were transmitted. It was a dubious process that was shorn of accountability and transparency and in which massive fiddling took centre stage.

The charade that we saw in the last election in which President Nelson Chamisa’s election agents were made to wait in vain at the National Command Centre while the Presidential Election results were eventually announced without them being allowed the opportunity to verify the results and to sign them off before they were announced must be a thing of the past.

Our elections are harmonised polls and all results must be traceable and must be transmitted through a transparent and known process that is clean and auditable from the polling station to the National Command Centre. This did not happen in the last election.

3 . Security ServicesInvolvement in Elections

In Zimbabwe, the military has always been the elephant in the living room when it comes to political and electoral processes.

While there is a Constitutional cardinal that disallows the military from meddling in civilian processes including elections, the reality is that the army has always violated the supreme law of the land in this regard.

Perhaps the stand-out statement that showcases the military’s meddling in the country’s electoral processes was the infamous 9 January 2002 statement when the then ZDF commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe announced on the eve of a Presidential election that the Presidency was a “straitjacket” and that the army would only salute a President who had liberation war credentials.

This was a coup of sorts and a subversion of electoral processes as it meant that out of all the Presidential candidates who had successfully filed their nomination papers, the military was saying it would only accept one outcome.

At the time Zvinavashe made his infamous statement, the national election-management body, then called the Electoral Supervisory Commission, was chaired by Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, a retired soldier, while the chief executive officer was Douglas Nyikayaramba, then a serving military commander all pointing to the militarization of the country’s electoral process.

The 2002 Presidential election was run as a military operation because the National Command Centre, directly run by the military, was first established at the then Sheraton Hotel before it was moved to Manyame airbase.

The problem of the militarization of our elections is a historical problem that has endured to this day and is a matter loudly crying out for reform, especially after ZEC has now publicly confirmed that 15 percent of their secretariat are members of the security forces.

Utoile Silaigwana, a securocrat who is among the top bosses at ZEC is the biggest human evidence that the secretariat of the country’s election-management body needs to be de-securitised.

This is not to mention that former military commanders such as George Chiweshe, now a High Court judge, have at one point been allowed to take charge of the national election-management body and to actually run elections in this country.

In March 2008, after the Zanu-PF election loss, military commanders were assigned to the country’s 10 provinces where they orchestrated massive violence so as to reverse and subvert the people’s will in the contrived but bloody run-off poll that was held on 27 June of the same year.

The military must be proscribed from meddling in civilian processes such as elections. It is sad that even clear and unequivocal Constitutional provisions have failed to contain the military’s kantankerous and wayward behaviour when it comes to the country’s electoral processes.

The nation must debate and agree on how the military’s excesses during elections could be curbed, notwithstanding clear Constitutional provisions proscribing the same. These measures could include a public pledge by the military to abide by the true expression of the people as expressed in elections.

The pledge must be matched by concomitant behaviour. The other reform needed when it comes to containing military excesses is to operationalise section 210 of the Constitution by setting up an Independent Complaints Commission that protects complainants and/or witnesses against members of the Security services who perpetuate political and electoral malpractices.

It has not helped to inspire confidence that the members of the security services who brazenly killed citizens in August 2018 and in January 2019 have not been prosecuted in line with the recommendations of a Commission of inquiry set up by none other than Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa himself.

There is now no guarantee that any action will be taken against members of the county’s security services if they engage in violence and other malpractices ahead of and during the watershed 2023 plebiscite.

It has also not helped matters that on the eve of the coup in 2017, then ZDF commander and now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga went public and said the national army were “stockholders” in Zanu-PF, a poignant confirmation that the remit of the country’s military is not about protecting Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe’s interests but about protecting the interests of Zanu-PF as a political party, itself a brazen violation of the Constitution.

4 . Protecting and ensuring the right to vote for all citizens – – – including those in the Diaspora

The right of all Zimbabweans to vote is not negotiable as it is clearly and unequivocally enshrined in the Constitution. The full observation of the right to vote (universal suffrage) is guaranteed by the Constitution and the State must ensure that it puts in place mechanisms to enable every Zimbabwean with that cardinal right. The basic Constitutional principle enshrined in section 67 is that every citizen who is 18 years and above must be allowed to vote.

Every Zimbabwean, wherever they are including the millions of our compatriots that are in the Diaspora, must be accorded this right without fetter and without conditions. This tight must also be accorded to groups that include prisoners, hospitalised persons and all civil servants on duty on the day of the polls. No-one must be disenfranchised as has happened in previous elections to all the above mentioned groups.

It must also be mentioned that there must be full transparency around the so-called special voting where the secrecy of one’s vote must not only be guaranteed but where each of such special votes must count.

5 . Depoliticised State Institutions

Before, during and after elections, all State institutions including the police, the army and the courts, among others, must play a depoliticised role by stopping all actions that further or hinder the interests of a political party or cause in line with the dictates of our Constitution.

We have noted in previous elections the use of State institutions to advance the interests of Zanu-PF and to proscribe the political activities of other political players.

For example we have seen the weaponisation of the Covid-19 pandemic where Zanu PF electoral processes such as DCC elections and provincial elections have been allowed to take place while the political activities of other political players have been proscribed.

6 . Inclusive Voter Registration and an accessible , auditable voters roll

The State must ensure that all Zimbabweans register to vote and this starts by ensuring that it is made easy for anyone who wants to acquire IDs so that they can exercise their right to vote for a political party of their choice.

We have noted spanners and Impediments being thrown into the processes of ID acquisition and voter registration. Only in December 2021, a decentralised voter registration exercise that was scheduled to start on the 6th of December was cancelled for no apparent reason.

The RG’s office has also jumped into the disenfranchising fray, saying they can’t issue IDs because they have no ink due to sanctions.

All this is part of a well-choreographed script to disenfranchise Zimbabweans from exercising their right to vote.In the 2013 election for example, where I had a closer peek on the electoral issues, there was absolutely no transparency on the quantity and processes around the printing and procurement of election material. Ditto the situation in 2018.

In 2013 for example, there were 343 187 voters above 80 years of age on the voters roll, even though the national census held in the preceding year had registered 155 753 people to be above 80 years in the country.

It is such discrepancies and inconsistencies on statistical data that open the room for electoral pilferage. The 2023 elections will come a year after the national census and the story of inconsistent statistical data between the census and the voting figures is likely to continue.

It was also highly suspicious in 2013 that in a country touted to have one of the highest literacy rates on the continent, some 206 901 people, almost a quarter of a million people, were assisted voters.

We even had an interesting case in Mashonaland Central province in 2013 where some Zanu-PF youths who had dropped out of school ensured that their former school head was an assisted voter ostensibly on grounds of illiteracy. They wanted to ensure that he voted for Zanu-PF.

Our voters roll, which in Zimbabwe is a highly secretive document that is often made available on the eve of elections as hard copies that are not electronically analysable, has always been shambolic document with multiple duplicated names.

A meeting between the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and then President Robert Mugabe on the eve of the 2013 election is a case in point.

The meeting was facilitated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and at that meeting, Mr Tsvangirai presented a couple of pages showing multiple duplicated names that showcased the shambolic state of the voters roll that was to be used the following day.

At that meeting, Mugabe reportedly feigned surprise as he reclined into his chair after the shambolic voters roll was presented and said ” Ivo vana Mudede vanombozvifambisa sei ?” (Just how is the Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede doing his work?).

The reform here is that the voters roll must simply be a clean roll and must timely be provided to all contesting parties and candidates in a searchable and analysable format.

7 . Media and political reforms

Political reforms include those issues that must ensure the free and unfettered legitimate political activity of all the political players contesting an election. Political reforms must generally enable free political activity and deal with issues that affect the electoral environment.

In this country, we have seen State-sanctioned political violence against opposition political players and activists. Over the years, we have also seen Zanu PF being allowed free reign to campaign while the activities of other players are brutally proscribed.

We have seen the legitimate leader of the country’s opposition Nelson Chamisa being prevented from making forays into Zimbabwe’s rural hinterland. His convoy was in fact viciously attacked in Masvingo, Gokwe and Chinhoyi.

In Gutu an innocent family man was brutally attacked and killed for having attended Advocate Chamisa’s political meetings. Because an election is a process and not an event, one can already safely conclude that the ground is not even ahead of the watershed polls of 2023.

The reform here is that punitive measures outlawing violence, vote-buying, intimidation, abuse of aid or the abuse of State resources for campaigning must be instituted for political parties, candidates and other election stakeholders.

Media Reforms

All politics is a battle of messages and the Constitution is very clear particularly on the role of the public media in affording divergent views and equal coverage to all parties and candidates . Section 61 of the Constitution is instructive in this regard.

Section 155 (2) (d) of the Constitution is clear and unequivocal that all contesting parties and candidates contesting an election must be granted equal coverage in the public media.

The sole national broadcaster, the ZBC, has often faulted in this regard as it has almost always granted exclusive coverage only to Zanu-PF and its candidates.

In the 2013 election, the AU in its observer mission report bemoaned the fact that the State broadcaster had only granted live coverage to rallies by the Zanu-PF Presidential candidate in violation of best international standards and regional guidelines exhorting fair and equal coverage.

I had a nasty personal experience in this regard. On Saturday, 6 July 2013, as the spokesperson for the late Morgan Tsvangirai, I wrote to the ZBC demanding live coverage for the MDC’s election campaign launch at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.

The State broadcaster wrote back to me and demanded US$165 000, even though they had granted Zanu-PF free live coverage only the previous day at Zimbabwe grounds in Highfield, Harare.

In July 2019, the High Court made a landmark ruling when Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that the public media were biased in favour of Zanu-PF in their coverage of the 2018 elections.

We cannot proceed to the next election unless and until there are guarantees that the public media will accord all parties and candidates fair and equal coverage as demanded by the Supreme law of the land.

It cannot be a free and fair election if the public media funded by the taxpayer are granting unfettered coverage to only one of the contesting parties and candidates.

8 . Depoliticised Distribution of Inputs and Food Handouts

The use of food as a political weapon especially during elections has been widespread in our context.

This is an election environment issue as the weaponisation of food handouts tilts the election scales in favour of Zanu-PF. In Goromonzi West in 2018, Energy Mutodi had tonnes of maize that he kept at Nyamande turn-off in Domboshava, which maize he distributed to voters on the eve of the election in a brazen case of vote-buying to which ZEC turned a blind eye.

Food must be distributed in a non-partisan manner and Zanu-PF must be stopped from reaping a political dividend from the people’s hunger.

9 . Agreement on the Procurement and Storage of All Election Material

The procurement, management and storage of all election materials must be transparent.

In particular the identity of the printers of electoral ballots, the number of printed ballots and the extras must be known to all contesting parties and candidates. We have seen in other countries in the region contesting parties agreeing on the firm that prints the ballots and the agents of all the contesting parties boarding the same plane to collect the ballots to be used in an election. That is as it should be.

In our case, only Zanu PF knows by who, how many and where the ballots have been printed, oftentimes amid serious anomalies on the printed ballots and the number of people on the voters roll.

On the whole, the procurement, management and storage of all ejection material must be transparent and above board.

Conclusion

Indeed, as the 2023 watershed polls beckon, we must all up the ante not on the rhetoric of elections but on the substance of those elections. We must all harp on the supremacy of the Constitution, which Constitution must be seen to be supreme in all our electoral processes.

The continued invocation of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act in setting the election date, amending the Electoral Act, and promulgating electoral regulations is in clear breach of best international practice. It means that the President, who in most cases will be a candidate in the election, is allowed to set and amend the rules of a game in which he is a player.

The national chorus must be about the agreement and implementation of a raft of comprehensive reforms so as to ensure credible polls that will break the vicious cycle of disputed polls that has been the hallmark of our electoral processes for the past 42 years.

In some cases, as in the case of media reform, the reform needed is simply compliance with the already set provisions of the Constitution. This is not a hard or expensive reform to implement. Indeed, only a credible, watertight harmonised plebiscite will clothe and cover up the nudity of illegitimacy engulfing the lot in power in this country.

They have stolen everything—from the county’s vast mineral wealth to our collective dignity, from elections to the future and the hopes of our children.

These kleptocrats want to continue stealing everything in their wake and it all starts by stealing elections. That is why the issue of comprehensive electoral reforms must be the dominant discourse.

Indeed, the mantra must be reform, reform and more reform. There must be reforms or else the deluge. If they insist they won’t reform themselves out of power, then they must for the national good be goaded and stampeded into the reform agenda, by any means necessary.

Only a free, fair and credible poll and an assured process of peaceful transfer of power can stop this thieving lot that appears hell-bent on making Zimbabwe an upper middle kleptocracy by 2030.

Luke Tamborinyoka , a citizen from Domboshava , is an awardwinning journalist and ardent political scientist . He is the interim deputy champion for Presidential Affairs in the Citizens Coalition for Change ( CCC ). You can interact with him on his Facebook page or via the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .via_ the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .

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When President Mnangagwa signed a document purporting to be his mate, see the reality?

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Hopewell Chin’ono’s Hypocrisy Exposed by Mr. Tinashe Mpasiri

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On 24 November 2022, Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono shared this tweet on his wall: https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595758807392534528?s=20&t=YflO7bnB-32EN89x_0fPfQ with the following message directed to nameless and faceless South Africans:

“What we ask from South African citizens is for your President to STOP sanitizing Corrupt Rule in Zimbabwe and to STOP lying that our economy was destroyed by sanctions Listen to our President speak about the LOOTING in 1996.

Why doesn’t your president speak about free elections?”

The above mentioned tweet led to a conversation between Mr. Mpasiri, a member of the Justice Under Rule of Law (JUROL) and Mr. Chin’ono as set out on this link: https://heyzine.com/flip-book/d47b109920.html.

When asked why he had chosen to share a video of 1996 in support of his narrative that President Ramaphosa was guilty of sanitizing the corrupt practices by President Mnangagwa and his administration, Mr. Chin’ono responded as follows:

“ZPF leading Public officials operate with criminal business partners to loot public resources. For all intents and purposes sanctions are not the cause of Zim economic quagmire but ZPF looting public purse thru its puppet business partners from as far back as 1996?”

Advocate Matiza, a member of the Justice Under Rule of Law made the following observations and also a participant in the Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) – Legal Literacy WhatsApp group, commended as follows: “It is clear from the above that by importing the video in which Mr. Mawere was featured with Minister Mnangagwa as he was known then, Mr. Chin’ono was openly alleging that Mr. Mawere was Mnangagwa’s then criminal business partner who was his accomplice in looting public resources of Zimbabwe.

However, when exposed by Mr. Mpasiri, a member of JUROL and BOAF, Mr. Chin’ono backtracked as set out below:

TINASHE MPASIRI v HOPEWELL CHIN’ONO
TM: Good morning Mr Chin’ono.
My name is Tinashe Mpasiri and I am a member of the Justice Under Rule Of Law (JUROL).
I am an avid follower of your posts and exposé and certainly wish that there were more
Zimbabweans like you, working towards a diverse, inclusive, progressive and prosperous future
for all.
I just wanted to greet you and share with you a post that was shared in a group I am a part of,
that you may be able to shed more light on it.
https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595758807392534528?s=08
HC: Thank you. I did an interview last night on the issue. Feel free to share it in your group
Find it here;
https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595853417355784192?s=46&t=6iHx7x2V4i8IiLZyIobk_g
TM: Thank you very much sir.
Just for your information, I belong to a group with officials from Wits University and questions
arose yesterday after your sharing of the video.
I have been asked to communicate with you so I get clarity, so we can share with a proper
context.
Your narrative on the tweet is about president Ramaphosa’s failure to act on corruption in
Zimbabwe, but the content of the video, appears nothing to do with the corruption angle.
Kindly assist with the link between the two.
HC: Good morning. Thank you for the question and you can share this audio in your group, you have my permission.
President Ramophosa has been at the forefront of saying incorrectly that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe has been caused by sanctions, which is not true.
The video that you are referencing, is meant to show that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe
started way before sanctions were imposed by western countries.
The economic crisis was authored by looting of public funds by ZANU PF elites and their business surrogates and the plunder of the country’s natural resources.
That video shows president Mnangagwa when he was Finance Minister in 1996, speaking at an event in Washington explaining how public funds have been looted.
So my point is that the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa shouldn’t be going around
misleading unsuspecting audiences, by saying that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is being
caused by sanctions.
So for instance, president Ramaphosa talks about the social services pressures that are exerted by Zimbabweans coming into South Africa to use things like public services like health care. And all hospitals in Zimbabwe, all central hospitals in Zimbabwe, five of them, they only require 50 million to run without any shortages and that will make sure that Zimbabweans don’t have to cross the border into South Africa to seek public services that are provided through hospitals but these hospitals in Zimbabwe don’t have paracetamol.
The biggest hospital in Zimbabwe, Sally Mugabe hospital does not even have paracetamol, it
doesn’t have basic things like bandages and 50 million is only, that’s all we need to run our
central hospitals, but it’s not being availed to these central hospitals.
Now, ZANU PF by its own admission, says that 150 million USD worth of gold is being smuggled by ZANU PF elites and their surrogates every month. Which means what they steal in one month can run our central hospitals for 3 years.
That is the point that I making that president Ramaphosa is misleading unsuspecting audiences by saying that the crisis in Zimbabwe which is over spilling into South Africa, is being caused by sanctions, it’s not true it’s caused by sanctions. It’s caused by mis-governance. Thank you.
TM: Thank you very much Mr. Chin’ono.
This is very helpful and I believe we can build a shared understanding of only when we engage.
I will share your insights in my circles and beyond.
A number of questions emerge from your audio. By surrogates and having had the benefit to watch the video, who would be the surrogates and especially having regard to the fact that Minister Mnangagwa (as he were then), was speaking to a different subject matter involving empowerment and the role of government in financing it.
I could be wrong, but it is self-evident that he was talking about government programs whose
execution resulted in financial support being diverted to personal use.
Your response to the above would greatly assist.
HC: Surrogates were people like Mutumwa Mawere who was his front until they fell out.
Today surrogates refers to people like Kuda Tagwirei who has been a front for State looting
using his myriad of companies.

Here Mr. Chin’ono identifies Mr. Mawere as Mnangagwa’s front until they allegedly fell out.

This narrative is similar to the one peddled by Chin’ono’s friend and President Mnangagwa’s confidante and lawyer, Mr. Edwin Manikai as follows:

The message above was authored by Mr. Manikai on 27 March 2021 and was addressed to Mr. Fred Mutanda. The version peddled by Mr. Chin’ono is the same as Manikai’s version.
Mr. Manikai in the middle with Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono
Mr. Manikai in the picture with the visiting American delegation of Senators to Zimbabwe and his wife and Hon. Mliswa, Manikai’s best friend.
The SMM heist gang who authored and executed the divestment and deprivation of the control of 26 companies employing 20,000 people in 2004 using public power described as the precursor to the coup of November 2017 that was orchestrated by the same gang against Mugabe after successfully prosecuting the coup against SMM and related entities.

TM: Thank you for the honest response and obviously when I watched the video, I could not make the link between Mutumwa Mawere and the looting.
Perhaps you can share evidence supporting the allegation of surrogacy and the corruption
therefore in, so that I can afford both president Mnangagwa and Mawere to give their own
account of the precise nature of the alleged link between public power and private benefit.
Unfortunately, the video’s content does not establish the causal link which is vital in determining any dispute in an Independent and impartial manner.
HC: I didn’t say Mutumwa was corrupt.
I said that there were public funds that were doled out which amounted to looting.
You are misinterpreting what I said.
The video has nothing to do with Mutumwa being corrupt, it was meant to illustrate how public funds were looted way before sanctions.

Hopewell denies what he said before and claims the video that he intentionally and constructively shared to demonstrate the origins of Mnangagwa’s corruption had nothing to with Mawere being party to the looting of public funds.

TM: Thank you for clarifying and I am intrigued by your response.
You have asserted as true and fact that Mawere was Mnangagwa front and this aspect is not
evident in the video, suggesting that evidence exists that the alleged fronting you are talking
about, is supported by concrete evidence which is required in any bona fide process, seeking to hold people accountable for their conduct or misconduct. I would be grateful if you can identify in precise terms what Mawere front for Mnangagwa.

Mr. Chin’ono on SABC repeating the narrative of corruption as the cause of the Zim crisis.

Advocate Jack Matiza who was incensed by Mr. Chin’ono’s utterances remarked asked: “How can he be held responsible and accountable for social media post that damage another person reputation? My take is Hopewell is also guilty of selective amnesia he is accusing Ramaphosa of when it comes to sanctions, by stating that Mutumwa Mawere was an front of ED without providing any proof to that. Our self acclaimed award winning journalist and human right defender…ought to know that he who alleges must prove, is he not using or abusing social media or public media platforms to make unfounded statements without allowing the accused an opportunity to air their side of the story is itself an abuse of that person’s basic human rights?
To which Mr. Mawere responded as follows: “What if there exists no shared understanding on what are the obligations and rights of citizenship? What Hopewell could be saying is that information that he may possess is true and fact unless proved otherwise because he holds a privileged position in society as a journalist. In this case, affinity politics would compel him to conclude that because I shared the same platform with the current President of Zimbabwe this reality confirms a generally corrupt relationship. You can imagine what the true import of state capture and the legal consequences arising for its existence.”
Advocate Matiza by stating as follows: “There is certainly need to actively contribute to development of such shared understanding and common standards.”
Mr. Mawere commended as follows: “If asked to explain why the conversation is intriguing, what would be your response?

Mr Chin’ono genuinely believes that CORRUPTION is the elephant in the room.

He hold the view that he occupies a special and exceptional position in relation to the affairs of Zimbabwe.

He has a view on the 1996 video.”

When asked by Mr. Mawere, what identified questions arise from the hypocrisy inherent in Mr. Chin’ono’s open attack against Mawere and when confronted by Mr. Manikai, he quickly denied what he had stated as true and fact, Advocate Matiza responded as follows:

1. Abuse of the profession of journalism by an acclaimed journalist who has no respect for the truth in his narratives.

2.How should one define a human rights defender especially having exposed Mr. Chin’ono’s embarrassing performance by first alleging that Mnangagwa was using Mawere as a front only to backtrack and deny his own bold assertions.


3.In the face of hypocrites masquerading as award-winning journalists, what should be the best response to deal with divisive characters who have captured the profession and are using it as a weapon to advance their ulterior motives?

4. Section 2 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe imposes a binding obligation on every person to ensure that the rule of law is promoted, protected and upheld and in this case, what should be done by ordinary citizens to ensure that people like Mr. Chin’ono are accountable for their conduct which is inimical to the rule of law?

5. Does a person like Mr. Chin’ono know that he is also subject to the constitution and possesses no title or authority to maliciously defame other people. How best can he be held accountable for his reckless and dangerous assertions he makes under the cover that he is a journalist par excellence?

6. Does his conduct based on Mpasiri’s excellent interrogation not fall within conduct that is inconsistent with the constitution of Zimbabwe?

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Please take notice of this announcement by ZIMRA

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