“The ruling ZANU-PF is exploiting the many weaknesses of Zimbabwe’s electoral system to outpace the country’s divided opposition. Yet without a real change of policy, the country seems doomed to steeper decline,” wrote Piers Pigou.
Stating Zimbabwe’s seemingly intractable economic and political chaos!
“The region could help. The Southern Africa Development Community and African Union have developed a framework for electoral conditions, and should launch an assessment of Zimbabwe’s democratic progress and shortfalls. They should carefully consider the concerns raised by NERA and others, and propose realistic reform implementation timelines ahead of the polls,” he suggested, as a solution.
Pigou is right, both SADC and AU could help Zimbabwe get out of this political paralysis; the truth is they will be very reluctant to help. The two were involved, especially the regional body SADC, throughout the 2008 to 2013 GNU; they regional advised Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to implement the raft of democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging elections. Their advice fell on deaf ears.
President Mugabe had turned his charm offensive, bribing the MDC leaders with the trappings of power and, as bonus, gave Tsvangirai a $4 million Highlands mansion. In return, MDC leaders kicked the reforms into the tall grass and failed to get even one reform implemented in five years of the GNU. Not one!
SADC leaders accused the MDC leaders of “enjoying themselves whilst in the GNU and forgetting why they were there,” in sheer frustration! It is therefore not surprising that SADC leaders have stayed out of Zimbabwe’s seemingly intractable political mess. At least for now, and not have to deal with the same dishonest Zanu PF tricksters and the breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent opposition leaders of the failed GNU!
The truth is Zimbabwe’s political and economic mess have a solution, implement the democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging elections; this is what SADC leaders tried to get MDC to do but failed hence their resigned frustration. So why is it that not even one democratic reform was implement during the GNU when we had the golden opportunity to do so? The answer is obvious; we have a breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent opposition and a naïve electorate.
Even in the dying last months of the GNU MDC had the chance to save the nation from another Zanu PF rigged 2013 election, as Senator David Coltart readily admitted in his book.
“The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections,” explained Senator Coltart.
“The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”
It was only after the rigged elections in which many MDC politicians lost their seats on the gravy train that the cataract scales, born out of greed, finally fell off. They saw the wisdom of boycotting flawed elections. They will never take part in any future elections until reforms are implemented. “No reform, no elections!” they said.
Sadly, they soon forgot their resolution; they cannot resist contesting the 2018 elections for the few gravy train seats Zanu PF gives away to entice opposition participation. The cataract fog born of greed has returned!
It is for the people of Zimbabwe themselves, not SADC, to stop yet another flawed election taking place in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans should have been awake to monitor the goings-on throughout the GNU years. They would have picked the truth of Tsvangirai and his MDC friends “enjoying and forgetting why they were there,” as SADC leaders rightly said. Zimbabweans too would have seen the futility of participating in flawed and illegal elections, etc. and demanded decisive action.
The people have allowed MDC to waste the golden opportunity to implement the reforms, etc. out of sheer laziness on their part, as contrast to MDC leaders’ myopic blindness brought on by greed!
The people of Zimbabwe have had the last four years, since the rigged July 2013 elections, to review the GNU events and understand why Zanu PF was able to blatantly rig the 2013 elections.
“THE landslide victory of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party in a 21 January by-election in Zimbabwe’s Bikita West constituency is a troubling bellwether for the future of the country,” warned Pier Pigou.
“It signals that presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-2018 are unlikely to be credible, free or fair, and also that without fundamental change through a legitimate election, Harare will maintain the self-destructive policies that have done so much damage.”
Pigou’s warning underlines the reality that the country cannot afford yet another rigged election and thus focus the minds of Zimbabweans on what THEY, not someone else, must do to ensure the next elections are free and fair!
The people of Zimbabwe must wake up from their sloth-like slumber and demand of Zanu PF the implementation of the democratic reforms, the pre-requisite for free, fair and credible. A free and meaningful vote is a right and not a privilege that Zanu PF can give to some and deny others. Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is now dependent on meaningful political change.
As of the double-crossing opposition, the people must demand that they promise to deliver democratic change by honouring their “No reform, no election!” resolution.
Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems are not really intractable, after all they are man-made – 37 years of incompetent, corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorial rule – and per se within the realms of mortals to solve. The Zanu PF dictatorship is itself a manifestation of the real root cause of Zimbabwe’s problems – a populous that has yet to take its responsibility of elect competent leaders with some common sense, at least, with the seriousness and urgency the matter demands!