What remains worrisome is that several issues related to the biometric voter register remain a bone of contention among the contesting parties. If un-addressed, they will raise concerns about the credibility of the poll.
And with just a few weeks remaining until the election and after the official confirmation of candidates, the voters’ roll has not been made available to opposition parties.
On top of this a comment by Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba has raised concerns because it suggests that the elections will take place, no matter what. Her words were:
“The first thing to take note of is once the President has proclaimed the election date, there is nothing short of an earthquake which can stop the election so whether candidates scrutinise the voters’ roll, whether they see any anomalies in it, whatever the anomalies are, whatever legal recourse they have will not stop the election. I want that to be very clear, that is the law.”
Another concern is the fact that the political space is very crowded given that there are 23 aspirant presidential candidates. One possible outcome is that the opposition vote will be split. The likelihood of this happening is more so, given that the main opposition parties have been unable to come together and field a single candidate.
The People’s Rainbow Coalition led by Joice Mujuru, Elton Mangoma’s Coalition for Democrats, Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T, and Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance are all fielding candidates in most constituencies nationwide.
The over-crowded opposition field have diminished chances that Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF could be dislodged.
There are also concerns that a bloated ballot paper will confuse the average voter.
Questions abound as Zimbabwe prepares for the polls. Would Mnangagwa have risked dethroning Mugabe only to allow the opposition to assume the reins of power without a fight? In a telling sign of what might be in store for Zimbabwe, Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe and Minister of State for Masvingo province, Josiah Hungwe revealed that the army would not accept a Chamisa win in the event that ZANU-PF lost.
Mnangagwa’s favourite dictum is: “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Will it still be the case once the people have spoken in the upcoming historic poll?
By Gift Mwonzora for The Conversation