For Immediate Release
As the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA), we respect the rule of law and believe in the sanctity of the judiciary. The credibility of the same is drawn from its independence and transparency insulated from undue influence. The December 9, 2023 by-elections, declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), aim to fill vacant seats in the National Assembly and the Senate. These, apparently are a result of intra party conflicts which led to undemocratic recalls. This has been complicated further by the recent High Court ruling to uphold the recalls.
Our Way Forward
As UZA, we firmly believe that at this time of highly contentious politics in Zimbabwe, our country is in dire need of a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue that can address the root causes of the political crisis and implement meaningful reforms. This is not a call for a government of national unity, but a sincere and genuine negotiation aimed at restoring trust and stability before the situation escalates to another 2018.
The United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA), we will not participate in the December 9 by-elections. This decision was reached after extensive consultations with our National Directorate, our members, and our supporters across the country. We have also taken into account the views of other democratic forces, civil society organizations and the international community. Our decision is a principled one, driven by the belief that real change must come through reforms that guarantee fairness, transparency and justice in the Zimbabwe electoral process.
We emphasize that this decision is not an attempt to shirk our democratic responsibilities, but a bold stand against a flawed system. We urge other political actors, both major and minor, to consider joining in this collective effort to demand the change that Zimbabwe so desperately needs. Our decision is based on the following reasons:
1. We do not have confidence in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which has proven to be biased and has not implemented any meaningful electoral reforms since the disputed 2023 harmonized elections. The August 2023 elections were condemned by local and international observers as neither free nor fair, yet ZEC has not addressed the issues of intimidation, militarization of staff, lack of transparency and the shambolic voters’ rolls that marred the elections.
2. We do not recognise the by-elections as legitimate due to the unconstitutional and undemocratic recall of the elected representatives.
3. We do not believe that participating in the by-elections will advance the cause of democracy and the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe. The by-elections appear to be a diversion from the real issues affecting the nation, such as the economic crisis, the human rights violations, the corruption and the constitutional amendments aimed at entrenching ZANU-PF dictatorship.
Reportedly, the December by-elections will cost at least US$5 million. This is an unacceptable and irresponsible waste of resources that could be better used for national development and service delivery in our country at a time when we are facing a Cholera outbreak, severe shortages of essential drugs, medical equipment and medical personnel.
As UZA, we believe that these reasons are sufficient to justify our decision to not participate in the by-elections. We do not want to legitimize a process that is illegitimate, unfair, and unsafe. We do not want to waste our resources and energy on a futile exercise that will not bring any meaningful change. We do not want to betray the aspirations and expectations of our supporters and the people of Zimbabwe. We have resolved to channel our resources and energies towards mass action for electoral reforms and democratic change. We will use all constitutional means available, such as mass petitions, court challenges and civic education to demand that the government of Zimbabwe and ZEC implement the necessary reforms before any election. We will also continue to engage with other progressive forces to build a broad and united front for democracy and social justice.
We call upon all Zimbabweans to join us in this decision, and to stand with us in solidarity and unity. We call upon the government to respect the will of the people, and to engage in a genuine dialogue that can pave the way for a peaceful and democratic transition. We call upon the ZEC to reform itself, and to conduct free and fair elections that reflect the true voice of the people.
We believe that our decision is in the best interest of our nation, and that it will contribute to the realization of our vision for a new Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe that is free, prosperous, and democratic. A Zimbabwe that respects the dignity and diversity of its people. A Zimbabwe that upholds the values of justice, peace, and solidarity.