We present this briefing paper to the Sadc community and media in view of their role in standing in solidarity with the citizens of Zimbabwe and the quest for your continued support and assistance in the ongoing crisis. It is eight months since the exit of former president Robert Mugabe from state power and Zimbabwe is set to hold elections between. The exit of Mugabe from the echelons of state power saw the ascendancy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa with the blessings of the military after a week-long military coup veiled as a military operation codenamed “Operation Restore Legacy”. It is clear that the new president, who is heavily backed by the military, did not rise out of a popular democratic process and our previous initiatives have always called for security sector reforms to undo the militarisation of civilian and electoral politics in Zimbabwe. While Zimbabwe is set to hold elections on July 30, 2018, we raise key concerns around inadequacies on the part of the Zimbabwe Election Commission [ZEC] to administer a credible electoral process, the involvement of the military and traditional leaders in elections remaining unaddressed.
Based on pronouncements by the current government, there are valid fears that the elections will be highly militarised and traditional leaders continuing on a partisan path to influence electoral outcomes in violation of Section 208 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, which bars the former from engaging in partisan politics while the latter’s role is regulated by Section 281 barring them from aligning to political parties in the discharge of their duties.