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 12-year-old son.
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 partners.