By Nkosikhona Dibiti
Barely a week after the harmonized July 30 harmonized elections in Zimbabwe, US President Donald Trump signed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) 2018 amendment into law. Notably, aspects such as restoration of the rule of law, credible elections, non-participation by Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in elections, human rights among others still remain unresolved.
The preliminary reports by the European Union, Commonwealth Observer missions attest to the non-independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and further exacerbated by the contestation of the elections results by the main opposition coalition MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
The ZIDERA ACT seems to be in rhythm with the opposition political cry to a level playing field in the election period.
In Section 6, Sub Section 4(d)(2)(a) on pre-election conditions says “Establishment and public release, without cost, in both paper and digital formats of a biometric voter registration roll that is endorsed by all registered political parties”
(b)An independent electoral management body is selected, the members of which 14 should be nominated by all political parties represented in the parliament of Zimbabwe, and 16 permitted to entirely carry out the functions assigned to it in section 239 of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution in an entirely independent manner.
(c)The Defense Forces of Zimbabwe are neither permitted to actively participate in campaigning for any candidate nor to intimidate voters, and must verifiably and credibly uphold their constitutionally mandated duty to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan in character.
The above clauses could be the stimuli to Washington’s decision as to reviewing and endorsing of the bill.
Mrs. Vere NANGO Board Chairperson commented on their preliminary report on elections said, “The BVR voters roll received by political parties was incomplete, unverifiable and availed late to election stakeholders”
The opposition parties further complained on issues such as ballot design favoring the incumbent speaking into a non-independent election management body.
Soldiers were reported to have been deployed in rural areas to campaign for ZANU PF in civilian clothes. A day after the polling day, soldiers were deployed to attack and stop demonstrating Zimbabweans and six people were reported shot dead.
Security sector officials are on record issuing contradicting statements on this issue and the President Mnangagwa in a statement said, “we are setting up a commission of enquiry to investigate the matter”. Until today there is no detail as to who deployed the army.
However, Zimbabwe political leaders draft a recovery plan for the nation. US stance on Zimbabwe is to pile up pressure for both economic and political reforms. Unfortunately, the sanctions affect mostly the ordinary Zimbabwean and over years these have become an excuse for the ruling elite.