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Linda Masarira Proposes Power-Sharing Resembling Zimbabwe's Previous GNU

6ย months agoThu, 31 Aug 2023 05:59:27 GMT
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Linda Masarira Proposes Power-Sharing Resembling Zimbabwe's Previous GNU

Labour, Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) party President Linda Masarira has proposed a power-sharing arrangement similar to Zimbabweโ€™s former Government of National Unity (GNU) in response to the countryโ€™s disputed election results. Masarira suggests a 10-year hiatus from elections to allow for a negotiated government that can amend laws and promote national healing. Masarira was unable to contest the presidency after failing to pay the required US$20,000.

Masarira believes a GNU would reduce the likelihood of opposition party supporters resorting to violence. Her party did not field a candidate due to the high nomination fee of $1,000, which she argues excludes many from participating in politics. In a statement released on Wednesday, Masarira said:

As a political party that was involved in the Zimbabwean 2023 elections LEAD propose that since the elections stand disputed the only wayforwad is an all inclusive power-sharing arrangement. The LEAD proposed Power-sharing arrangement aims to reduce the risk of continued political polarisation and possibility of civil conflict by guaranteeing all political parties and civil societies a role in the Zimbabwean government, directly or indirectly, thus lessening the stakes of political contestation. In this way, the proposed power-sharing will reduce the risk that spoilers will resort to violence if they do not succeed in the process of democratic electoral contestation. While power-sharing can reduce the incentive of electoral losers to renege on their commitment to democracy, we argue that this depends on the nature of the relevant groups, as well as on the political institutions that will be chosen.

LEAD believes that, elections have three main functions in a democracy. First, they are means of choosing the peopleโ€™s representatives to a legislature, senate, and local authority or to a single office such as the presidency. Second, elections are not just a means of choosing representatives but also of choosing governments. Indeed, in many established democracies, elections are primarily a contest between competing political parties to see who will control the government. Finally, elections are a means of conferring legitimacy on the political system. When, at the end of the electoral process there is no notional consensus to the effect that the process has managed to serve it purpose the logical thing is to enter into a power sharing arrangement while setting up conditions and institutions for a better electoral showing.

As a nation, we have to understand that there is always the overarching issue of under what circumstances elections can help to build a new democratic order in Zimbabwe, and under what circumstances they can undermine democracy and pave the way for a return to polarisation and political violence. The high expectations, Zimbabweans often put on elections tend to be accompanied by a weakness in the preconditions for their success. As a polarised society, Zimbabwe lacks the political climate, social and economic stability, institutional infrastructure, and political will to mount successful elections.

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Zimbabwe held elections on 23 โ€“ 24 August and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared President Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner with 52.6% of the vote, while main rival Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) received 44%. Both Chamisa and Mnangagwa claim victory in the election.

The CCC has since called for fresh polls citing irregularities during the elections such as ballot shortages, lack of an auditable votersโ€™ roll, voter suppression, intimidation, and failure to address basic requests. Similar concerns were echoed by observer missions from the SADC, EU, and Commonwealth, which Zimbabwe plans to rejoin.

The previous Government of National Unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe was formed in 2008 after a disputed presidential election. It came about through a political agreement between the two major parties, ZANU-PF and MDC, facilitated by regional and international mediators. President Mugabe remained in power, while Morgan Tsvangirai became Prime Minister. The aim was to bring stability, implement reforms, and address economic challenges. However, the GNU faced difficulties, and it ended in 2013 with the subsequent elections and ZANU-PFโ€™s victory.

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