By Mambokadzi wekwaMasarira
Zimbabwe has been in tragedy and political turmoil since 1999. At times we have to introspect and find lasting solutions to the toxicity and polarity which is bedevilling Zimbabwe. MDC and Zanupf have always been in a death match and most recently CCC and Zanupf with the people of Zimbabwe in the middle. When the elephants fight, the grass suffers.
Zimbabwe is facing a slew of problems such as inequality, economic sabotage, corruption, poverty and currency volatility yet arguments between these three parties regarding these issues have brought government to a standstill. An issue cannot be tackled without the parties being able to discuss them rationally.
What if the problem is the system? What if the problem is a system that makes every election a battle between a single Zanupf and a single CCC? Maybe the solution isn’t new people or new parties. Maybe the solution is changing the way we elect people. Zimbabwe is theoretically a multiparty system, but the reality is that it is a two-party system;
• 2000- Zanupf and MDC
• 2005- Zanupf and MDCT
• 2018- Zanupf and MDC Alliance
Most likely if elections succeed this year, we might have Zanupf – CCC. This two-party system has torn Zimbabwe apart, destroyed our social fabric and destroyed any possibility of national cohesion.
This two-party system has evidently failed to unite and transform Zimbabwe, it brings government to a standstill. Zanupf and MDC/CCC cannot agree on certain issues and as such, can’t discuss anything rationally. There are no clear solutions to problems and rather than help each other, parties decide to fight one another. Zimbabwe is facing a lot of complex and controversial issues right now, yet, there seems there aren’t many solutions being thrown out there to get these issues fixed. The divide between the ruling party and opposition is so great that they can’t even stay in one room to solve issues to help their country.
Have you ever wondered why corruption continue to be a menace in Zimbabwe? A two-party system promotes corruption.
Politics is always linked with corruption no matter where you are in the world. Practices like patronage may be frowned upon but it’s a common sight in the political sphere. Even the awarding of government contracts to party insiders is a practice rampant in two-party systems globally. This is one aspect that our electorate have to bear in mind as they cast their vote.
A two-party system ignores alternative voices. Two-party systems that want to stay united usually ignore alternative options, especially radical ones. In a multi-party system, debate and diverse views are encouraged because coalitions are formed by stronger and weaker parties in order to achieve dominance. Third parties, on the other hand, are often ignored in two-party systems because of the winner-take-all voting mechanism where a losing candidate loses relevance even if they had a significant following.
I am raising these issues so that we have a critical analysis of our electoral system. We need to seriously consider a new electoral system which is inclusive, truly representative, uniting & progressive. The Westminster first past the post electoral system we use to elect the President, MPs and Councillors d not represent all the votes cast as the only benefit the outright winner. We need to adopt the Proportional representation electoral system which we currently use to elect Senators to elect MPs and Councillors with the President being voted for in Parliament.
The PR system will help unite Zimbabweans, aid diversity in the August house and local authorities.
This is the time to consider a new political trajectory for Zimbabwe, the delimitation report is a mess and should be rejected and redone.
What would be the way forward after rejection of the delimitation report? Food for thought.