Alex Tawanda Magaisa, a former Chief of Staff in the office of a former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the late Morgan Tsvangirai, has urged Zimbabweans to vote in the by-elections pencilled for 26 March.
Magaisa, a Law lecturer in the United Kingdom, observed that by-elections have often been taken for granted in Zimbabwe compared to general elections.
In his Big Saturday Read (BSR) published on Saturday 5 February 2022, Magaisa that trend has in the past aided the ZANU PF government to rig elections. Pindula News presents an extract from Magaisa’s BSR:
By-elections traditionally draw a lower voter turnout than general elections. This is the biggest challenge that the CCC faces in the forthcoming by-elections. Its opponents are keen to discourage voters by planting information that is designed to frustrate them into not bothering to go to the polls. When they say the MPs will still be recalled, they are essentially communicating that voting is a pointless exercise. They realized that their plan to confuse voters by grabbing the MDC Alliance name came to naught when the CCC adopted a new name. The next strategy is to manufacture yet more confusion over it. However, citizens must remain steadfast and vote in large numbers in the by-elections.
The first reason is that the by-elections present an opportunity for citizens to correct the democratic anomaly caused by a small group of individuals who were driven by vindictiveness to subvert and undermine the will of the people. When people voted in 2018, they believed they were voting for the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa. It never occurred to them that someone else, let alone a rival like Thokozani Khupe or Douglas Mwonzora would wield the power to remove their elected representatives. The unjust removal of MPs left several constituencies, provinces, and wards without representation. The people know that these removals would not have been possible without the connivance of the ZANU PF regime which was hell-bent on destroying the main opposition. This is an opportunity for citizens to correct the state-engineered anomaly but also to present a vote of confidence to ZANU PF’s surrogates.
Magaisa added that the by-elections are an opportunity for citizens to participate in the democratic process from which they have so far been excluded.
He said the law does not provide for the consultation of the electorate when a party decides to recall a member thereby robbing the citizens of a chance to participate in a democratic process but the by-elections give them a chance to be heard.
He added that the 26 March by-elections are a chance for the electorate to punish political elites who have wasted taxpayers’ money through unnecessary recalls.
Magaisa also said the fourth reason is that an overwhelming vote in the by-elections will represent a vote against the creeping judicialization of politics adding that political elites are now growing a tendency to rely on judges to decide purely political questions.