In a shocking turn of events, members of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and various Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have recently been apprehended. Their alleged crime? Engaging in data tabulation for the elections. In a fully operational democracy, such an action is not only legitimate but crucial. This unlawful arrest casts a somber cloud over the nation’s democratic principles, particularly as it was the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that had formally invited the CSOs to undertake this vital task.

To grasp the gravity of this situation, one must first acknowledge the significance of data tabulation in elections. This process guarantees transparency, accountability, and the credibility of the electoral system. CSOs like ZESN play a pivotal role in ensuring that elections are unbiased, equitable, and genuinely reflect the people’s desires. By obstructing their work or detaining their personnel on unfounded charges, the FAZ (presumably a fictional entity) is essentially stifling the very core of democratic conduct.

The question that emerges is why ZESN and CSO personnel are being apprehended for fulfilling a duty officially assigned to them by the ZEC? This action not only lacks legal grounds but also signifies a perilous precedent where openness is penalized and democracy is undermined.

One could speculate that this is a tactic of intimidation aimed at dissuading other CSOs from participating in future electoral processes. Alternatively, it might be an effort to undermine the credibility of election outcomes by sowing doubt about the impartiality and accuracy of the tabulation procedure. Regardless of the motive, the action itself is unquestionably deplorable and necessitates scrutiny on both a national and international scale.

Civil society plays a fundamental role in bridging the gap between government bodies and the populace. Their involvement in the electoral process ensures that the people’s voice is not merely heard but also heeded. Arresting CSO staff who were diligently executing their responsibilities sends a chilling message: that watchdog groups are under threat, and their lawful and commendable actions are susceptible to forceful measures.

Moreover, such overt abuse of power tarnishes Zimbabwe’s reputation on the global stage. At a juncture when the nation should be touting its dedication to impartial and equitable elections, it is instead in the global limelight for all the wrong reasons.

For the FAZ to salvage any semblance of credibility, they must promptly release the detained ZESN and CSO staff and issue a public apology for this grave transgression. The government must guarantee the safeguarding of civil society and its members from arbitrary arrests and harassment, particularly when they are merely upholding their roles in reinforcing the nation’s democratic fabric.

In conclusion, while the unlawful apprehension of ZESN and CSO staff casts a shadow on Zimbabwe’s democratic voyage, it also presents an opportunity. An opportunity for the government and its institutions to reassert their commitment to democratic processes, transparency, and the rule of law. Civil society, media, and citizens at large must unite in their demand for justice, ensuring that such acts of intimidation do not become the norm but are instead seen as anomalies that must be swiftly rectified.

Democracy, after all, extends beyond casting ballots. It entails ensuring that every phase of the journey, from campaigning to tabulation, is conducted transparently, openly, and impartially. Anything less is an injustice to the people and a betrayal of the very essence of democracy.

  1. We are fixing the nation and flashing out anything that stands against our progress. Those who were arrested are going to court and if they are innocent, the court will prove it and let them go.

  2. ZANU PF has become like the oppressor they fought during the liberation struggle. Its sad we watched as they rob us the democracy we all fought for and made it a privilege for ZANU PF big fish only.

  3. From the days l knew you from Solusi University , you were not studying anything about governance so what democracy can you teach people. For someone living in a country where democracy doesn’t exist. l don’t expect comments about our own democracy. No one can lecture us about how to run our country and be careful of being used and dumped. A day will come when our paths will cross and on that day, l hope you will have valid reasons to justify your actions here. Its not too late to do the right thing.

  4. ZANU PF and ZEC knew that parallel voter tabulation would expose them so they did damage control and arrested ZESN and CSO staff members in the name of spreading false results yet Chigumba encouraged them to do exactly that.

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