MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says the country cannot go into 2023 harmonised elections without having resolved political glitches that arose during the disputed 2018 polls through a comprehensive national dialogue.
Speaking at the Bulawayo Press Club last week, Chamisa said going into the next elections without comprehensive reforms would be meaningless.
He said the nation continued to be plagued by socio-political and economic problems due to failure to engage in a national building agenda.
“Right now, we are talking about 2023 elections. There can never be an election without resolving the 2018 political issues.
“So, if we are going 2023, I can assure you, we will be back to square one. We will win the election in 2023, V11 forms will be manipulated and altered.
“We will go to the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Court will make a verdict and there will be a reproduction of what we have seen since the year 2000,” Chamisa said.
The MDC president said since the turn of the millennium, the country’s leadership failed to resolve political problems resulting in a continuous cycle of disputed elections.
“We did not resolve 2000 and therefore we had a replica in 2005. We did not resolve 2005 and therefore we had a replica of the same in 2008.
“We did not resolve 2008 when then South African President Thabo Mbeki came and we had a problem in 2013. The year 2013 repeated itself in 2018.
“What is very clear is what (Zanu PF political commissar Victor) Matemadanda has said elections are insignificant in this country and that they do not matter. They are just a ritual,” he said.
“We cannot continue to have a cycle of disputed elections. Those who are putting their hopes on 2023 elections might as well forget it if we have not resolved the issue of elections in Zimbabwe.
“Why should we go to rituals that are not giving effect to our voices? That is why we must resolve the governance crisis,” Chamisa added.
Chamisa is pushing for political dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has since endorsed Mbeki to mediate between the two protagonists.
On his part, Mnangagwa agreed to talks with Chamisa, but is adamant that the dialogue should take place under the Political Actors Dialogue, a grouping of losing presidential candidates in the 2018 elections.
Mnangagwa had also ruled out talks under Mbeki mediation.
Despite his concerns, Chamisa said the MDC was ready for the 2023 elections, adding that no party would defeat the country’s main opposition.
He also maintained that he was willing to give peace a chance.
Commenting on the government planned delimitation of constituencies, Chamisa said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) cannot carry the exercise in a credible manner as its composition is disputed.
“Zec is in the process of de-linking delimitation of boundaries from the national census on the basis that the exercise involves the number of registered voters and does not rely on the country’s census that captures data of the population.
“Zec cannot have a credible process of delimitation when they are contested themselves. It is an issue we are putting as one of the key reforms needed.
“Mnangagwa and his government want to separate a census from delimitation because they do not want people to compare the statistics through an objective scientific census against the figures that then come out of their new boundaries,” Chamisa said.
The delimitation exercise is usually conducted after the national population census.
The country is due for a census in 2022, with elections the following year. However, the government has already decided to amend the Constitution to de-link the two.