ZIMBABWE is now in election mode, with political parties already on the campaign trail.
The ruling Zanu PF intends to recruit five million members ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections, while the MDC and the MDC Alliance have been making forays into rural areas to mobilise support.
Rural areas are synonymous with Zanu PF and the opposition is pretty aware that without its support, there are zero chances of success at the polls.
The youth vote is also critical. Sixty percent of the country’s population is below 35 years and considered crucial in the 2023 polls.
Zanu PF has roped in prosperity preachers and the economic empowerment Affirmative Action Group to woo the youth, while the MDC Alliance targets to get one million votes from the youngsters.
The MDC, on its part, has embarked on a door-to-door campaign to get support from the youth.
All this comes amid a noble push for electoral reforms ahead of the 2023 elections to level the playing field.
At the weekend, members of the Political Actors Dialogue met in Nyanga to deliberate on an Electoral Amendment Bill that was submitted to parliament by civic society.
The good news is that the political parties embraced most of the contents of the bill aimed at creating a free and fair environment to hold undisputed democratic elections.
The country’s elections have been contested since independence in 1980 with the opposition making all sorts of allegations, among them rigging, vote buying and violence.
This they blame on poor electoral laws and incompetent electoral management.
It is, therefore, critical for the country to embark on electoral reforms to level the playing field ahead of the general elections.
Reforms are necessary so that the country doesn’t have sham elections.
The reforms must include a comprehensive voters’ roll; the completion of media reform; the completion of legislative reform; the compliance by Zimbabwe with the Sadc electoral guidelines on free and fair elections; the putting in place of mechanisms to ensure that violence will not be a factor in the polls.
Without these reforms, any election in Zimbabwe will be contested.
Polls should give legitimacy to whoever will win.
It’s high time the nation had free, fair and incontestable elections.