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I remember quite well in September of 2008 when the whole world witnessed the Historical signing of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe. I wrote something about this and you can read it here. No-one had ever imagined this kind of thing to be possible in any way in Zimbabwe and everyone hoped for a new Zimbabwe and a new Beginning. The GPA also led to the formation of the Government of National Unity that was formed on 13 February 2009 following the inaugurations of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara as Deputy Prime Ministers.

This was a coalition organized among President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, and Mutambara’s MDC, as agreed to during  negotiations. The life-span of this “Marriage of Inconvinience” was set to be not more than two years meaning that some time next year, the new elections will be the talk of town but I have a good question for you. Are we ready for new elections yet?  Well, I guess your guess is just as good as mine.         

                                 By  CHRIS MADONDO – HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

We all have a general sense of fear and anxiety concerning the upcoming elections scheduled for mid-next year.  Zanu PF is fighting for its survival and analysts say violence is likely to flare up following reports that President Robert Mugabe has reactivated the state security apparatus to intimidate people into voting for him, (typical isn’t it?).

With the announcement by Mugabe that polls are likely to be held next year, with or without a new constitution, there is always speculation that the soon to be 85 year-old dictator has started mobilizing people for the elections. His plans obviously include deploying the army, Central Intelligence Organization agents and the police not least the so-called “war veterans” and the un-educated Green Bombers to ensure his victory in the forthcoming elections.

The political environment is not conducive enough for elections considering that the same situation that saw the March 2008 elections turn bloody has not changed despite the fact that we are now in the GNU. The military has been deployed in Zanu PF’s terror campaign in the constitution-making outreach program (COPAC). Military bases are reportedly still intact in rural areas while the Joint Operations Command (JOC) is active at district level to plot Mugabe’s way to an election victory.

Mugabe is pushing for elections next year because he believes MDC-T is limping and his party has a chance to win the elections with a landslide victory. I totally agree with Morgan Tsvangirai when he says International observers and peacekeepers should be deployed to Zimbabwe to contain Mugabe’s violence but Zanu Pf will always dismiss his plea for a free and fair internationally monitored election.

Mugabe has always said that “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again” and if my memory serves me right, he also said that Zimbabwe will not be ruled by anyone without the Liberation Struggle credentials and we all know that Tsvangirai lacks this kind of advantage. 

I am sure that Constituencies that were hit by political violence are still being haunted by the events of 2008 and are not ready to face another wave of violence next year, I mean, who would want to face the same ordeal over and over again? Intelligence officers will if not already set up “command centers” in the districts to coordinate Zanu PF’s violence. Under the current situation, we are not guaranteed of free and fair elections because of security forces armed to the teeth to intimidate innocent civilians.

More than 200 MDC supporters were killed and thousands others were seriously injured and some mysteriously disappeared in state-sponsored violence in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential run-off election and I can still see the same thing happening again when we have elections next year. The rural electorate still lives in fear as perpetrators of the 2008 violence have not been made accountable and only God knows if justice is going to be served.

There are no legislative or institutional mechanisms to prevent violence and intimidation in the event of another election and I wish for the international community to deploy a peace-keeping force to Zimbabwe before and after elections to monitor and prevent violence and intimidation.

Violence is likely to escalate in the next polls given that Mugabe and his cronies can’t afford to lose power and face The Hague, they would rather die dictating to the children of Zimbabwe.

Say for instance the elections have been called, what then are we going to do to make sure that they will be free and fair?  I think that everyone must play their part to prevent another bloody, illegitimate election. Churches, civil society and communities must find a way to reject and expose violence wherever it occurs.

For your own Information, here is a quote from Dydmus Mutasa, the Presidential Affairs Minister: “ZANU PF will never hand over power to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, even if he wins next year’s elections.” ‘Who is Tsvangirai? He will never rule this country, never ever. How can we let the country be ruled by sell-outs? He will only do so over our dead bodies. If we go to the polls and he defeats Mugabe, ZANU PF and the people of Zimbabwe will not allow that.”

That being said, I am sure everyone knows where we stand but to my surprise, the British Home Office still plans to send back failed asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe when they know for sure that nothing has ever changed. It never rains for us Zimbabweans.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what is the point of going for an election when we have been warned already of the consequences that will follow?  That being said, we are NOT yet ready for another illegitimate bloodshedding in the name of New elections.