BULAWAYO – Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has declared that the ruling Zanu PF government will not consider the electoral reforms that opposition parties are clamouring for as that would be tantamount to “reforming ourselves out of power”.
Moyo told journalists here on Friday last week that the mooted move by the opposition parties to hold nationwide demonstrations to push for electoral reforms will be a waste of time as government has “had enough of attempts to institutionalise and entrench unreasonability”.
A grouping of 18 opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) recently united to push President Robert Mugabe’s government to implement electoral reforms.
The parties, however, had their mega demos against the non-implementation of the reforms that had been planned for last Friday in Bulawayo and Harare banned.
But Moyo said even if opposition parties continue boycotting elections in protest — the ruling party will not move an inch because “their demands are totally unacceptable”.
“They (opposition parties) have been quiet for three years and now all of a sudden they want electoral reforms and give themselves a funny name, a parastatal name, like Nera,” Moyo said.
“Let us be clear, for a long time since 1999, the opposition had said the most important reform that must happen in the country is a new Constitution.
“…they were saying no Constitution, no elections, For a long time. We got that in 2013 and it was a negotiated Constitution among the political parties within the context of the Global Political Agreement (GPA),” Moyo said.
“The Electoral Act as it is right now is a product of GPA parties. Then they said no we must start talking about electoral reforms. It is totally unacceptable and we should not be in doubt about that because the fundamental laws of the land have changed.
“There is no law, conduct or practice or custom that supersedes the law or that is above the Constitution.”
Moyo said latest demands by opposition parties is an act of cowardice as the move is meant to disadvantage the ruling party and favour their opponents, something he said will not happen.
“Those people who made the laws they must be the ones who know what the provisions of section 2 of our Constitution say.
“Now they are coming out in their full colours as electoral cowards, they are now literally saying put in place electoral reforms that will ensure that you lose and we win and we are saying no,” he told journalists.
Moyo added: “That will never happen anyway in a modern constitutional democracy that a political party that is coming to government on the back of a new negotiated Constitution, on the back of a new negotiated Electoral Act to then come up with reforms intended to reform itself out of power.
“The reforms they are talking about are a clear code to say, come up with laws that will ensure that you are out.
“That will not happen. That will not happen because it is inherently unreasonable.”
The Tsholotsho North legislator said if the opposition parties were serious about electoral reforms they were supposed to put them in their electoral manifesto ahead of the 2018 watershed elections.
“We have heard enough of attempts to institutionalise and entrench unreasonability. We cannot continue doing that. If they want those reforms over and above what has been done they must put them in their manifesto.
“They must say we are contesting elections, we want these reforms implemented so that when we win we will reform ourselves out of power.
“Let them do that, that is what is done in a civilised world . . . let every party contest election on the basis of its reform agenda, let every party carry its own cross.”
The former Information minister also rubbished allegations from different quarters that he intended to destroy Zanu PF from within.
Opposition parties are demanding, among other things, the implementation of electoral reforms and also the announcement of a clear road-map to the next election by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission — a road-map complete with processes and time-frames. -Daily News