Sunday, 16 October 2016

Makarau's sadistic "station-specific" voting is an echo of Afrikaners' "democratic right to starve".

For those of us old enough to have lived through the years of white colonial oppression and exploitation one of the things the whites loved doing was to take a serious concern of the blacks and mockingly ridicule and trivialize it. The essence of this cruel white indifference to the blacks’ suffering was captured beautifully in the Stephen Biko story, Cry Freedom.

Stephen Biko had died in Police detention, a very common occurrence in apartheid ruled SA. The region maintained he died of starvation and it was not government policy to force feed anyone.

“I congratulate the Minister,” came the chorus from the Afrikaners, “for granting blacks their democratic right to starve themselves to death!”

When Zimbabwe attained here independence in 1980; many of us thought it was the end of an era where those in positions of power and authority riding roughshod our freedoms and human rights much less to do and trivialize it. We were wrong on both counts; Robert Mugabe has continued to systematically deny us our basic freedoms and human rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections and even the right to life and to mock us just as Ian Smith had done!

In his 36 years in power Mugabe has murdered over 30 000 innocent Zimbabweans in his single minded pursuit to establish and retain the de facto one-party cum one-man dictatorship we have lived under since 1980. The nearest he has ever come to apologize for his murderous acts was to admit to “moments of madness”!

Zimbabwe is facing a serious economic meltdown today resulting in unemployment soaring to 90% plus, looting too has reached nauseating heights where $15 billion is looted and no one is ever arrested, etc. The economic meltdown has brought heartbreaking human suffering. 76% of our people now live in abject poverty.

The country’s main public hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo have stopped all “elective operations” because they have run out of drugs. So hundreds of thousands of poor people, who cannot afford the high fees charged by private hospitals much less fly to Singapore like Mugabe and his family, are suffering for need of simple and basic drugs and hundreds of lives every week are needlessly lost!

Donors are doing their best to help the most vulnerable in society such as those with HIVAIDS and to feed the hungry – since the violent seizure of white own farms to give to mainly Zanu PF loyalists back in 2000 the country have fallen from its perch as the region’s breadbasket to be the one dependent on imported food aid. With Mugabe admitting that $15 billion was looted but no arrests it is easy to see why donors are now loathed to help Zimbabwe!

Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown is socially and politically unsustainable; the country’s tittering on the edge total collapse and threatens to drag the whole SADC region with it. And yet as long as Zanu PF remain in power the economic meltdown is set to get worse and not better; it is the 36 years of the regime’s misrule that dragged the nation to this point and it is set in its ways to embrace meaningful economic reforms.

The way to end Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown is for the country to implement the democratic reforms designed to end its present political system that has institutionalized mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness. The country has been stuck with this corrupt and tyrannical Mugabe regime for 36 years because it has rig elections.

The carrion cry in Zimbabwe today is for free, fair and credible elections.

It is heartbreaking therefore to see how people like Justice Rita Makarau; the chairperson of Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), the one person who knows only too well exactly how the regime has repeatedly rigged the elections landing us into this hell-hole; not only pretend to know anything about the vote rigging but mock the nation by talking endlessly about nonsensical reforms!

“Let me start by relating the background to Zimbabwe’s electoral reforms,” wrote Justice Makarau in Zimeye. “Yes, we are aware that some people have been agitating for the protection of their interests. However, some of the reforms are reforms that we, as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, were already looking at on our own. These reforms were driven internally by the need to improve our service delivery as an elections management body.

“An example that quickly comes to mind is polling station-specific voter registration. Nobody asked us to do it. Nobody protested in the street for it; nobody agitated for it.

“We believe it’s a reform whose time has come, based on the long queues of voters we have seen in previous elections.

“(Queues were long) because we didn’t have polling station-specific voter registration, and one could register in any particular ward and vote at any polling station in that ward.”

In the 2013 elections nearly one million voters were denied the right to vote because their details were not in the constituency voters roll they expected. People who had lived in a given constituency for twenty years or more sudden discovered their details had been completely removed from the constituency voters roll. These people would have had the chance to put this right, assuming it was a mistake far-fetched as that might be – of the 3.3 million cast vote of which Mugabe won 2.1 million one million did not vote because their names were posted by mistake in wrong constituencies – if the voters roll was released for public scrutiny at least a month before polling day as is demand by law.

The regime has stubbornly refused to release the 2013 election voters roll even to this day because it knows any close scrutiny will reveal the voters roll had been tampered with. The regime paid NIKUV, an Israeli company associated with that country secret service, a princely sum of $10 million to tamper with the 2013 voters roll.

It was ZEC’s responsibility to ensure the 2013 voters roll was released timeously before that election. It was ZEC’s responsibility to investigate why so many people were denied the chance to vote (ZEC acknowledge 300 000 and not the nearly one million reported by many of the election observers) because to miss-posted personal data. There are other problems like the culture of violence, the lack of a free media, the looting of the nation’s wealth to bankroll Zanu PF’s elections, etc., etc.; all demanding ZEC’s attention.

How insulting that ZEC should ignore all the teething problems the nation needs to address as a matter of urgency if the 2018 elections are going to be free and fair to concentrate on “polling station-specific voting”!  

The regime is not interested in implementing any meaningful democratic reforms and holding free and fair elections. Justice Makarau’s offer of “polling station-specific voter registration” to the nation’s cry for free and fair elections is as cynical and sadistic the Afrikaners’ ruthless murders of blacks and claiming it is “Granting blacks their democratic right to starve!”

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