Analysts have said the MDC Alliance is abusing the opening up of the democratic space by embarking on frivolous demonstrations meant to hoodwink the international committee that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe.
The comments by the analysts come in the wake of an MDC Alliance organised demonstration against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Harare on Wednesday.
Thousands of the MDC-Alliance supporters marched in the streets of Harare’s Central Business District wearing party colors and holding up posters denouncing ZEC.
The MDC Alliance’s grievances against ZEC centred on ballot paper procurement, voter’s ink and comprehensive voters roll with all the bio metric details.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Nyasha Chidembo said the MDC Alliance is seeking to make ZEC accountable to the electorate and an attempt to gain the favour with the electoral outcome but they have come too late.
“The demands seem to be for the best interest of the opposition. However, the demands seem to have come very late and not possible for ZEC to institute the demanded reforms considering the fact that we have less than three weeks to go to the polls. Therefore, there are very slim chances that ZEC will do anything at this particular juncture,” Chidembo said.
Chidembo said the MDC realizes that its attempts to make ZEC conform to its demands were futile and are therefore trying by all means to portray a bad image of the government to foreign observers in the country.
“The party wants to show the independent observers and regional blocs that there are some grey areas as far as the Zimbabwe electoral process is concerned and that this could compromise the outcome of the elections and guarantee that the one who emerges as a the victor have a legitimacy crisis, especially the incumbent ED,” Chidembo said.
Another political commentator Professor Obvious Vengei said the MDC is abusing the goodwill of the new dispensation.
“The MDC is abusing the new political dispensation and has embarked on a political grandstanding. They are organising demonstrations of no significance and the followers need to be careful of what they are mobilized to get into the streets for,” Prof Vengei said.
Prof Vengei said the MDC is abusing the political tolerance and freedom brought by the new dispensation.
“The party is abusing the political goodwill that is currently in the country. It is abusing the tolerance being granted by the new dispensation,” Prof Vengei said.
He said that ZEC follows strict constitutional mandates that cannot be easily swayed by a few individuals.
Social and political commentator Eltion Ziki said street demonstrations and protests cannot solve the party’s grievance because elections are more institutional and are governed by the law.
“What the MDC is doing is fruitless, their grievances are more of a constitutional nature which cannot be solved by engaging in street protests or violence,” Ziki said.
Ziki said the MDC should acknowledge that there are constitutional regulations involved in the election process, which they cannot solve without directly approaching the responsible office- ZEC.
Earlier last week one of the MDC-Allience leaders, Tendai Biti issued a statement justifying the party’s demonstration as a part of their call for an external audit of the Biometric Voters Roll.
The MDC statement also stated that the demonstration is aimed at demilitarizing ZEC which it said was dominated by ex-army personnel who are used by the ruling Zanu-PF to rig the election.
This accusation came after ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba indicated that 15 percent of the commission’s secretariat is made up of retired military personnel and former members of the army.
However, Justice Chigumba also clarified that the retired military people were free to be employed anywhere both in the private and in the public sector.
Instead of making the best of campaign time, the MDC has chosen to tirelessly take to the streets crying foul.
Analysts have said the demonstrations are mere publicity stunts aimed at mobilising supporters and a mere show of force.