Wednesday 14 October 2020

A Reminder that Zimbabwe is NOT a Democracy

Zimbabwe has a "democratic constitution" but beyond that document nothing resembles any form of democracy. The country is ruled by Zanu PF which has absolute control of the State Structures including the Police, Military, Courts, Electoral Commission, the Media and the country's Central Bank. Therefore, when it comes to the issue of who rules Zimbabwe, these structures always take a position that favours Zanu PF against opposition parties.

Democracy is important in that it gives people influence on the issues which affect their lives such as choosing the country's president. Democracy also brings accountability, whereby politicians have to justify their decisions to the electorate are asked important and difficult questions by a free media about their policies and practices.

In Zimbabwe none of that happens. The President, 'Government Ministers' and their friends are not asked questions about why they do what they do because the national broadcaster, the ZBC is under complete control of Zanu PF. This is why Zanu PF get away with murder, literally -  they don’t have to account for their actions to anyone, not the Courts and not the Media, and definitely not the public.

The most important election in Zimbabwe is the presidential election because the presidency has absolute control over everything that happens in the country. Yes, there are senate and parliamentary elections, but those structures have zero influence on what happens in Zimbabwe. So it’s really the presidential election that provides test whether Zimbabwe really is a democracy, and so far since 1980, the presidential elections have been rigged. Until there is a free and fair presidential election that is conducted by an external body like the UN, democracy will never be realised in Zimbabwe.

Sindile Ncube

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