'No space for opposition in Zim politics'

2013-02-28 10:21


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Second Zimbabwean man arrested for insulting Mugabe: Lawyers
Second Zimbabwean man arrested for insulting Mugabe: Lawyers

Zimbabwean man has spent two nights in custody last month after allegedly saying President Robert Mugabe read the wrong speech in parliament because he was "old", rights lawyers say.

Cape Town – Zimbabwe is not ready to hold fair and free elections this year as there is little space for opposition politics in the country, the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (Idasa) has said.

According to News Day, the regional think-tank also accused the Southern Development Community (SADC) of failing to fulfil its mandate to stop Zanu-PF dominance and the structures responsible for the 2008 bloody campaign.

"There is little space for opposition politics and therefore inadequate oversight . . . In Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF continues to dominate the political arena... The use of state resources for personal and party gain is common. For this reason, no level playing field has been created for fair elections to take place," said Idasa in research paper titled Ready or not? Elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe 2013.

"In contrast [with Kenya], the Zimbabwean process is incomplete and highly politicised. In addition, the draft [constitution] that has been released does not address contentious issues adequately such as dilution of presidential powers and devolution. In both cases, repressive legislation remains in the statutes.

"This situation is exacerbated by a lack of enforcement of the GPA [Global Political Agreement] reforms by the SADC mediators. It is also considered a shortcoming of the MDC formations that, despite holding a majority in parliament, they have not pursued possibilities for legislative reform vigorously."

The report comes at a time when Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional referendum on March 16 and to go for polls later this year. Already there have been reports of increased violence in the country with the latest being an arson attack on the home of an election candidate in the eastern part of the country, which resulted in the death of the politician's 12-year-old son.

The attack, according to the Movement for Democratic Change was one of 120 incidents of violence recorded so far this year.

Idasa is an independent public interest organisation that strives to build sustainable democratic societies in collaboration with African and global partners.

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Read more on:    idasa  |  sadc  |  mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  zimbabwe  |  kenya  |  east africa  |  southern africa


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