Zimbabwe Minister Says No Electoral Reforms Needed Ahead Of 2018 Polls

Zimbabwe’s new justice minister is rejecting calls for major electoral reforms ahead of nationwide polls expected later this year.

The Zimbabwe Election Resource Centre, a non-partisan think tank focusing on elections and democracy, wrote letters this week to parliament, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, urging them to enact new laws to ensure the 2018 general elections are free and fair.

Former president Robert Mugabe, who the military forced out of office in November, was accused by both international and domestic observers of using fraud and intimidation to win elections in 2002, 2008 and 2013.

ERC director Tawanda Chimhini said Mnangagwa’s government must take steps to ensure the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is independent and that prisoners and Zimbabweans living abroad are eligible to vote.

Thousands of Mugabe’s opponents were thrown in jail during his decades in power, and hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans left the country, mostly for South Africa, to escape political repression or Zimbabwe’s moribund economy.

The pressure is not just coming from the ERC. Twenty-two opposition parties, under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Electoral Reform Agenda, recently held protests and petitioned the government to institute reforms.

“A lot more still needs to be done in ensuring effective citizen participation in governance processes that lead to the selection of public officials,” Chimhini told VOA’s Studio 7 Zimbabwe program on Tuesday.

Ziyambi: No change needed

However, in an interview Tuesday, Justice Minister Ziyambi said the country’s laws need no reform.

“Everything that they are complaining about is clearly covered within our constitution and our laws,” Ziyambi told Studio 7. “Our constitution clearly stipulates that ZEC is an independent body not subject to the control of anyone.”

Ziyambi said the laws are compliant with the guidelines of the African Union and the Southern African regional bloc SADC.

“In so far as we are concerned,” he added, “we believe that we should not just waste resources doing cosmetic changes to the legislation that are already materially covered by the existing legislation.”

That legislation was passed by the ruling ZANU-PF party, which remains in power after the events of November which saw the military take over state institutions and force Mugabe to resign after 37 years.

Some Zimbabweans have expressed concern about the military’s influence as three of Mnangagwa’s cabinet members are former generals, including new Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, one of the central figures in Mugabe’s ouster.

Regarding the prisoner and diaspora issues, Ziyambi said the government is awaiting a court decision that is expected later this month.

“Once that determination has been given we then know the direction to proceed,” he said.

President Mnangagwa has promised that Zimbabwe would hold “free, fair and credible elections this year.” He said he would work hard to build a new democracy.-VOA

ZIFA BOSS Chiyangwa Claims That He Tried To Make Mnangagwa VP In 2004, Says He Was Brains Behind Tsholotsho Debacle

Businessman and Zanu-PF activist, Phillip Chiyangwa has claimed that he was the mastermind of the 2004 plot to elevate current  President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the Vice Presidency.


The plot which ultimately failed became known as the “Tsholotsho Declaration” or the ” Tsholotsho Debacle” and resulted in a most of the people involved in the plot getting expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party. The Tsholotsho Declaration also created acrimony between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his former ally turned fierce critic Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Almost 13 years after the incident, Chiyangwa is now claiming that he was the brains behind the plot and that the plan was conceived at his rural home in Zvimba. Chiyangwa told a funeral that his staring role in the plot resulted in him getting arrested in 2004 on allegations of spying.

Since the fall of former president Robert Mugabe and the corresponding ascendancy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chiyangwa has been at pains to distance himself from the Mugabe administration and the G40 Faction. Chiyangwa has gone as far as releasing a video trying to distance himself from Mugabe’s G40 Faction despite the fact that he recorded himself declaring his support for first lady Grace Mugabe. Chiyangwa also attended Grace Mugabe’s last public rally, the now infamous Super Sunday Church Interface Rally where the former first lady made numerous allegations against then-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.