COMMENT: If there is a pertinent reality facing Zimbabweans as they await today’s Constitutional Court ruling on the MDC Alliance’s Presidential challenge, it is that the ruling may not be the panacea to the country’s myriad of socio-economic problems. If anything, the resolving of the country’s crisis goes beyond today’s ruling, which in actual fact will be a confirmation of the country’s defective political system.
As has always been observed, Zimbabwe is under a political system that cannot make democracy thrive. Never mind a few sweeteners and window-dressing practices and clauses, the net effect of the country’s constitutional and legal systems is the upholding of dictatorship. Under such a system, we can only have elections, but without democracy. We can have constitutional provisions for free expression, the right of access to information and freedom of the media and many other rights and freedoms, but without these rights and freedoms. This is the sorry state in which we are. A situation in which we have a constitution that grants liberties with one hand and immediately snatches them using the other.
This is precisely why we have an electoral act that did not guarantee the freeness, fairness, safety and credibility of the vote on 30 July. It is in this vein and for the same reasons that ZEC, ZBC and other strategic institutions remain captive to the ZANU PF oligarchy.
With deepened levels of state capture and an extreme corruption of the political, there is no way other than holistic political and institutional reform that Zimbabwe can simplistically be extricated from the obtaining comatose state. Just like the midnight declaration by ZEC could not make us move, today’s court declaration will also not help much.
As evidenced by the fatal shootings of 1 August, adverse reports from key electoral observer missions, the renewal of ZIDERA and many other indicative footnotes, our beloved country continues to be in socio-economic and political comma, which legalistic prescriptions lacking democratic grounding may not cure.
In going beyond today’s ritualistic court verdict, our political leaders need to find each other and chat a transitional path for solid and comprehensive political and institutional reforms that ensure a genuinely free, fair, credible and progressive election within the next five years.