Tuesday, 28 February 2017

MDC-T call for "nationwide demos" to demand UNPD buy BVS kits - no guarantee of free elections. N Garikai

As a nation, we have not paid much attention on who we elected into positions of power and authority, first it was President Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs and then it was Morgan Tsvangirai and his incompetent MDC friend. We married in a hurry and have regretted at leisure!

We elected MDC in the hope they will deliver the democratic changes we need to stop Zanu PF rigging elections so we can have free, fair and credible elections. Not only has MDC failed to implement even one democratic reform when they had the golden opportunity to do so during the GNU; worse still, it is now clear they have no clue what the democratic changes we need are much less how they can be effected.

“Since 2015, the MDCT through NERA has wedged a dedicated fight for electoral reform in Zimbabwe. These reforms are aimed at levelling the playing field in our country ahead of the crucial 2018 elections. To this end, NERA adopted a two pronged strategy,” Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T Secretary General. 

“The first was through mass demonstrations while the second was through direct engagement with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).”

These were just some of MDC-T’s attention seeking political posturing with no aim, no objective, nothing! Take the first one, mass demonstrations; if any of the authority had asked anyone of the demonstrators, anyone: what electoral reforms do you want? They would have got no answer. Even Morgan Tsvangirai himself, who was seen heading many of these demos, cannot give any details of even one single reform!

Zimbabwe is not the first country in the world to find itself in the situation we were in in 2008 when we needed a new democratic dispensation to replace the existing corrupt and oppressive autocratic system. Whilst other nations have successfully managed the transformation in six months Zimbabwe’s GNU asked for eighteen months. In the end the GNU lasted for sixty months – ten times as long – and still MDC failed to implement even one democratic reform. Not one!

The electoral reforms MDC keeps talking about are a poor substitute of the far reaching democratic reforms they were tasked to implement during the GNU. Veritas, a local group, expert of legal matters, amongst many others, have already said to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections we need to revert to implementing the far-reaching reforms. The electoral reforms MDC and 17 other opposition in the NERA grouping keep wittering about are a waste of time, they will never deliver free, fair and credible elections.

ZEC is one of the many public institution that was chalked-in for the far-reaching reformed to cut the corrupting and dictatorial control the State President have over the commission and restore its independence. To therefore engage ZEC without ending Mugabe’s corrupting influence first is futile as draining the sea dry with a tea cup!

Mr Mwonzora describes how NERA had successfully engaged ZEC and pressured the commission to buy the Biometric Voting System (BVS). UNPD was going to help in the procurement and funding of the new system.

“Suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVS kits procurement process! Among other things this means that the government will now select the supplier of these kits. Political parties and other stakeholders will thus not be able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora protested.

“NERA totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government will also manipulate the 2018 election process. In other words this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018 elections.

Even if UNPD had procured the kits they would have handed it all to ZEC sooner or later and, given ZEC is the same corrupt commission we have all been complaining about, it is therefore clear that government would still have had the opportunity to tamper with the system.

“We therefore call upon all Zimbabweans to rise up and resist this manipulation. To that end NERA is organizing nationwide demonstrations to show the people's outrage at this political abomination. Thus all Zimbabweans irrespective of their political affiliation are called to action. Together we will win.” Was the concluding clarion call from MDC-T.

This is just foolish grandstanding gesture politics! Even if we all answered MDC-T’s call and forced Zanu PF to allow UNPD to buy the kit; will this guarantee free, fair and credible elections? The honest answer is a NO!

Zanu PF is a grandmaster of grandstanding gesture politics in its own right; whenever the regime is under pressure it always created an elaborate scheme to draw attention away from the real Big Issue of the day to some trivial matter. After losing the referendum on the new constitution in 2000, for example, President Mugabe needed a smokescreen to hide his use of violence to win the 2002 elections. He used the violent seizure of white owned farms; the more gratuitous violence used the thicker the smokescreen! It was no accident that the violent white owned farm invasions always flared up during national elections.

It is no secret that not even one democratic reforms was implemented since the July 2013 rigged elections and therefore it is a certainty the party will rig the 2018 elections just as readily as it rig the 2013 elections. Still, it is in Zanu PF’s political interest to create the impression in the opposition and the public’s mind that the opposition can still win the elections regardless and what better way to do so than creating a mountain out of a mole hill over BVS!

Many people are losing confidence in the opposition’s ability to deliver any change. The much talked about grand coalition between MDC-T and ZimPF has fizzled out following humiliating defeat of the ZimPF candidate in Bikita West by-election followed the spectacular breakup of the party itself. Tsvangirai’s attempt to infuse  some political passion in the public took off like a lead-balloon with Tsvangirai blundering from pillar to post, as usual. He told party youths to join Zanu PF; everyone was dumfounded to hear it!

Zanu PF knows that the opposition needs an empty victory, they are so desperate for a political victory they will gratefully accept even a nonsense BVS victory!

Zimbabwe’s economy is in a serious mess and, without political change, there is no hope of economic recovery. We cannot afford another rigged election in 2018 and, without the reform, that is mathematical certainty that Zanu PF will rig the elections regardless of whether UNPD or government buys the BVS kit. Who buys the kit is immaterial what we need to focus on is the implementation of the far reaching democratic reforms, that is our ball. Let MDC-T and their NERA friends how their demo over who buys the BVS kit – we must keep our eyes glued on democratic reforms followed by free, fair and credible elections!

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