National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku has dismissed suggested that Zimbabwe’s political landscape has slipped into a bi-partisan political system, to the exclusion of smaller political parties to participate in the by-elections last month.
In a report titled ‘‘Ecumenical Election Observation Preliminary Findings on the 26 March 2022 By-Elections”, ZCC expressed concern over the shrinking space in the political landscape as a result of some participating parties failing to field candidates to represent them in the by-elections.
As a result, only ZANU-PF and the newly formed Citizens Coalition of Chance (CCC) successfully fielded candidates to contest in all the vacant constituencies.
This, for the ZCC- was tantamount to set the precedence for a shrinking space in the political landscape with the country slowly slithering into a bi-political instead of a multi-party political system.
Among these opposition parties is a member of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), the MDC-T which is led by Douglas Mwonzora which failed to field candidates to represent the party in some areas.
However, Professor Madhuku whose party is also a member of POLAD ran to the defence of their grouping as well as his own party the NCA which did not participate in the by-elections.
“It is a very wrong impression to try and draw a conclusion from the recent by-elections. It was clear when the by-elections were called that not every party was to participate for different reasons. The NCA for example did say those by-elections were really useless and a waste of resources because we have an election that is coming in just about a year from now in 2023,” said Professor Madhuku.
“Zimbabwe will never be a bi-party democracy and whoever thinks otherwise is just wasting their time. It will continue to be a multi-party democracy and in fact if anything, the by-elections show that we are a very lively multi-party democracy. So when we get to 2023, it will not just be that there will be a number of political parties who will be in the race, but you’ll see that the number of votes that will go to parties other than these two, will be much higher than the votes we had in 2018.”
Professor Madhuku further said that Zimbabwe will always remain a multi-party system because the two biggest political parties in the country are clueless and incompetent.
“At the end of 2023, you will see that Zimbabwe does not have a by-party political system but it is becoming more and more multi-party which is what POLAD has been working towards and the electorate will show that come 2023,” he said.
“We can’t be a bi-party in a country where the two biggest political parties are just generally incompetent, why should Zimbabwe pin their hopes on these parties? That’s why we didn’t want to participate in the by-elections, we wanted to do our homework and this is what we are doing.”
Instead of asking why POLAD or the NCA did not participate in the polls last month, Professor Madhuku said his party was working behind the scenes to ensure electoral reforms are put in place before 2023.
“The NCA has already taken steps towards electoral reforms by being in POLAD where we have already convinced ZANU-PF to impress a number of reforms. We believe that those reforms will be in place before 2023 in fact, in the next two months we will be publishing a sect of the proposals that have been accepted,” he said.
“These reforms will be announced in the course of two months, which we have managed to get. Other reforms that we are not able to get we will fight for them possibly after increasing our political influence when we get much more votes than we got in 2018. Our voice will become bigger and I think we’ll push more and we will get some reforms for 2023. After 2023, we will continue to work for reforms for the next election.”
POLAD was launched by President Emerson Mnangagwa in 2019 as a platform to engage with losing presidential candidates to collectively work together and share ideas on moving the country forward.