President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legislative agenda for the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe gives an impression that he is not interested in implementing electoral reforms.
Lack of electoral reforms have largely made it difficult or impossible for Zimbabwe to hold elections that would pass the ‘’credible, free and fair’’ test as required locally, regionally and internationally.
Electoral observers and monitors have indicated in their 2018 general election reports that Harare needs to implement electoral reforms for its elections to be recognised.
Even the preliminary reports by observers to the 2023 general elections such as SADC EOM, EU, COMESA , and Commonwealth have called for reforms on how the country conducts its elections.
The Electoral Amendment Bill that was passed in the last days of the previous Parliament was generally half-baked as it did not address critical issues that would make the polls acceptable.
Political commentators had hoped that Mnangagwa would prioritise the electoral reforms in his legislative agenda for the 10th Parliament.
However, Emmerson Mnangagwa who is now serving his last term of office according to Section 91(2) of the constitution, preferred the PVO Amendment Bill, over electoral reforms.
Interestingly, the PVO Bill has earned Zimbabwe a bad name internationally, to the extent that the issue has been debated in the British Parliament.
Various other international institutions and bodies have also registered their displeasure with the Bill, which sailed through Parliament in the 9th Parliament , but was sent back before being signed into law.
On the other hand, implementing electoral reforms has many advantages for Zimbabwe, in that it will give the country a good name and elections will be recognised globally which could help in the re-engagement efforts.
Credible, free and fair elections will also help Zimbabwe in its efforts to rejoin the Commonwealth.
Elections in Zimbabwe have largely caused the isolation of the country, where investors have largely looked elsewhere, they have played a role in blocking lines of credit for the country.
They have also resulted in Zimbabwe being deemed a high risk country among many others.
In Zanu PF circles, electoral reforms are see as an opposition agenda, that is being sponsored by the West to unseat the revolutionary party.