A politician’s work is never done! In the case of Zimbabwe’s politicians, on both sides of the political divide, they never do anything the people ask or expected them to do because they are always working hard pursuing their own selfish interests even to the extent of undermining public interests to promote their selfish interests.
There is no doubt that Morgan Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC leaders understood the need for democratic changes to end the pervasive corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship. They named their political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, to capture the nation’s popular sentiment and to underline that they understood what the nation needed. Alas, when Tsvangirai and his friends were sworn into office and had the political power to bring about the democratic changes, they failed to deliver even one reform. They were so preoccupied with feathering their own personal nest they pushed democratic reforms aside because implementing the reforms would have go in the way of feathering their individual nests.
Ever since MDC leaders’ GNU days, confusion has ruled the roost in MDC. They no longer talk of democratic reforms but talk instead of electoral reforms and realignment of the existing laws to the new 2013 constitutions. They will talk of the new constitution as the most democratic constitution in the world although the better informed among them will admit it is a compromise document giving “excessive power to the State President without any of the usual democratic checks and balances”. Clause 209 being one such example.
Ask them to give even one example of what these electoral reforms or realignments; it is lights out, they have no clue.
Whilst at one stage the opposition agreed on the need to implement the reforms before the next elections the sentiment has been quietly dropped. They will want to contest next year’s elections. In the morning, one might hear the opposition arguing that they have strategies to stop Zanu PF rigging the vote – although they will not say what these are. In the afternoon of the same day, the same opposition leaders will be claiming that they have given up on stopping Zanu PF rigging the vote, they have strategies on how to win rigged elections. Again, they will not say what these strategies are, they just want us the people to do as they instruct us.
The opposition have praised the need for them to form a grand coalition as the silver bullet to stop Zanu PF’s vote rigging and deliver opposition electoral victory. How the coalition would have stopped Zanu PF rigging the vote count to change the 73% for Tsvangirai in March 2008 to a 47% to force the run-off, for example? Again, they do not say. In any case the grand coalition has been a sorry looking MDC Alliance which has left some coalition partners divided more than ever.
The one drum rhythm all the 75 plus opposition parties in Zimbabwe have all been beating in unison is mobilizing the voters first to register as voters and then, come the election day, to go out and vote. The voter mobilization call has struck such a sweet and sympathetic note in the political consciousness of an otherwise comatose nation that individuals, groups like Election Resource Centre (ERC), media houses like VOA, etc. have all taken it upon themselves to mobilise people. They all could not wait for the voter registration exercise to start.
Of course, Zanu PF was aware of all this voter mobilisation hive of activity and the regime knew exactly what to do to make sure all the enthusiasm came not naught. The regime has delayed the voter registration, which should have started in in 2015 at the latest give this is a new system, to start last month. And, to compound it late start, the voter registration has been painfully slow!
There is no way ZEC is going to register all those wishing to register in the four months and there is no way they are going to produce a verified voters’ roll in time for the elections. Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friend contest the 2013 elections with no verified voters’ roll; this was downright stupid of them since releasing a voters’ roll is a legal requirement and, in this case, was the smoking gun to many of the regime’s vote rigging antics.
It is clear the opposition will, once again, contesting next year’s elections with not even one democratic reform in place and not even something as basic and fundamental as a verified voters’ roll!
“To date, ZEC has only managed to register about 40 000 people countrywide and the reports that are trickling in from all over the country, speak to a situation in which the BVR process is painstakingly slow and cumbersome. There are instances where prospective voters have each taken no less than two hours just to have the paperwork and the computer formalities finalised to have one voter registered,” said Gutu, acknowledging some of the hurdles the would-be voters are facing.
“At several BVR centres in cities and towns such as Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kadoma and Mutare, ZEC officials turn up very late (around 13.00 hours), to open the centres for the public to come and register. In addition, some essential paperwork such as the form VR9 are almost invariably in short supply thus making it extremely difficult for people to register as voters.”
“As the country’s largest and most popular political party, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai will continue to call upon Zimbabweans to turn out in their millions and register to vote regardless of the various hurdles that have been put in place by ZEC and its political masters. It is a fact that dictatorships the world over subsist on voter apathy,” admitted MDC-T national spokesman Obert Gutu.
We know from the past that hundreds of thousands of would-be voters failed to register because the regime used the same dirty tricks to stop many registering as voters. Even those who persist and jump over all the hurdles placed their way, many have found their names had been weeded off the voters’ roll or posted to some other constituency.
What is shocking here is that the opposition is ignoring the glaring need to reform such institution as ZEC so that they carry out the constitution take of registering voters, etc. professionally. No one should have to put up with all this nonsense of queuing for days just to be registered and then be denied the vote anyway! It is an insult that the very people who have stubbornly refused to have the democratic reforms implemented to end this abuse of power by Zanu PF and the circus of vote rigging should then accuse the real victim of these flawed and illegal elections, povo, of voter apathy! What cheek!
“Dictatorships the world over subsist on voter apathy!” No, you moron, if ZEC officials are taking two hours to register one voter or are not registering anyone at all because they do not have VR9 forms what do you want the ordinary people to do! The Zanu PF dictatorship has managed to stay in power all the last decade because MDC leaders have failed to implement the democratic reforms designed to stop the regime rigging the vote.
“If you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done!” SADC warned MDC leaders at the Maputo summit in June 2013. SADC leaders were warning against contesting elections with no reforms in place.
MDC leaders did not listen and Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the vote and win with a landslide because the regime had carte blanche powers to rig the vote – nothing to do with voter apathy!
What most Zimbabweans are not aware of is that by participating in these flawed and illegal elections process, be it by joining the queue of those trying to register to vote you are counted as having approved of the process and thus given it credibility.
Even this early in the process, it is clear that Zanu PF’s vote rigging is on course to deliver another landslide victory for the regime. The regime has billions of dollars looted from Marange to bankroll its many vote rigging schemes, the BVR registration exercise has all but killed the voter mobilization zeal from even the most fanatical zealots, etc. All participation in the process will not change the Zanu PF victory but give the process credibility!
Those who do participate cannot turn around after the result are declared and denounce the electoral process as flawed because they were warned of this in advance and participated regardless. By participating you are per se approving of the process! “Yatsvika musheche, yamwa!” as one would say in Shona.
It is madness to play any part in an electoral process one knows is flawed and illegal. Do not join the queue and try to register, attend any political rally, etc. it is all a waste of time. You must demand the implementation of the reforms and refuse to recognise any elections held before the reforms as legitimate.
The people of Zimbabwe must accept the political reality that Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends sold-out during the GNU by failing to get even one reform implemented. They have lost all credibility as honest and competent champions to deliver democratic change elections; they know and most important of all Mugabe knows it. The tyrant knows that as long as MDC remains as the country’s main opposition party, Zanu PF will retain its carte blanche powers to rig elections because MDC will never demand the implementation of the reforms. Never!
MDC will would rather blame the voters for their apathy than admit Zanu PF rigged the vote because nothing has been done to implement the reforms. Zanu PF will allow Tsvangirai to stay in his $4 million Highlands mansion and even pay his medical bills, etc. for taking the spotlight from the reforms and blame the victims, povo, for another rigged election