Zim: It's too late for free, fair polls
24 June 2013, 16:08
Cape Town - The US and international civic organisations
have hinted that it could be difficult for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
to relinquish power if he lost in the forthcoming elections, News Day reported
Giving testimonies in Washington during the US Senate
Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on Zimbabwe, organisations represented
said prospects of a free and fair election were low due to increased
intimidation and influence of the army chiefs.
The army bosses have declared their allegiance to Zanu-PF.
Chairperson of the subcommittee Senator Christopher Coons
said there was growing concern on government’s untruthfulness to SADC and the
international community to ensure free and fair elections in the country.
"I am concerned by recent reports that the Zimbabwean
government is not working in good faith with SADC and other international
partners to ensure these elections will be free and fair, especially
considering the lengths to which Mugabe and his Zanu-PF loyalists went to
preserve power in 2008,” Coons said.
"I am also alarmed by the uptick in targeted harassment and
intimidation of the civil society leaders and human rights defenders who are
seeking to ensure a just contest. Leaders of the security forces are openly
partisan and using their positions to suppress democratic expression, and there
are reports that diamond revenues are being diverted to the security forces for
Todd Moss of the Centre for Global Development said it was
too late to guarantee free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
"It's already far too late for a free and fair election in
2013. The Zanu-PF intimidation machine has been running full steam for the past
five years and the systematic campaign of fear is already in place. Thus we
shouldn’t be surprised if election day passes peaceably," Moss said.
"Even if Mugabe somehow loses, Zanu-PF won't allow Morgan
Tsvangirai to become President. We know this because it has already happened in
2008. And if the outcome is already decided, then how can we possibly ever
declare it a competitive election?"
He said the US government should stop being passive and "get
"Zimbabwe doesn't want to remain a pariah state, so let’s
leverage that. Refuse to endorse a sham election."
He said the US must not rush into normalising relations with
Zimbabwe until reforms are met.