25 Jan 2017 - With elections due in 18 months' time, the opposition's call for electoral reforms is gradually becoming less vocal as attention shifts to the quest for a grand coalition of opposition parties to dislodge Zanu PF in 2018, analysts have said.
Since their devastating defeat by Zanu PF in the 2013 general elections, most opposition parties, led by MDC-T, resolved never to contest any other election before critical electoral reforms are implemented to ensure a level playing field.
Government has, however, stubbornly dragged its feet; with Zanu PF spin doctor Professor Jonathan Moyo clearly stating that 'we will never reform ourselves out of power'.
Analyst, Rashweat Mukundu criticised the opposition for losing focus on the issue of reforms with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) having already rejected calls for the diaspora and prison vote under the pretext of logistical challenges.
"Opposition parties seem lost in a maze of strategy confusion. Without dealing with issues of voter registration, delimitation of constituencies and power transfer, then any coalition, even if victorious, will not assume power.
"There is need for a balance on all aspects; that is coalition talks and demanding electoral reforms," Mukundu said.
Another respected analyst, Takura Zhangazha said the ruling party, the opposition and civil society are concentrating their efforts mainly on the biometric voter registration system.
"Not everyone will get what they want but reforms are inevitable," Zhangazha said.
National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) convener, Didymas Mutasa, however, said there is still a chance to achieve all the required reforms if the opposition works hard enough to force the government into negotiations.
"It doesn't take a month to implement all the reforms that we are talking about. It just needs us to come together and meet the government over the matter. There is still enough time to achieve all that and we will continue working for reforms," said Mutasa
The MDC-T, which is signatory to Nera, expressed cautious optimism that reforms will be possible before the elections.
"We have always known that the Zanu PF regime is stubborn and recalcitrant. We know that the regime will not give in to electoral reforms without a strong and persistent push from opposition parties and other pro-democracy movements.
"Be that as it may be the MDC is vigourously pushing for electoral reforms under the Nera trajectory; which is a platform of more than 13 opposition parties. The greatest threat to political success is fear of failure. We don't fear failure because we know that our cause is just and the democratisation of Zimbabwe is an irreversible process," said Gutu.
He also vowed Zanu PF will be "confined to the dustbin of political history after the 2018 elections" but when asked if that means the party will be defeated with or without reforms, he chose to be diplomatic.
"We will continue to push for electoral reforms. The regime is now just a paper tiger. It's totally broke and cannot survive for long. The Zanu PF regime is in terminal decline," Gutu said.news