My case for calling ordinary Zimbabweans to boycott next year’s elections is based on the eyewitness accounts of two senior MDC politicians, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and David Coltart.
“We (MDC) failed to secure critical reforms before participating in the elections. The whole world advised us not to get into the elections without reforms, and so in everything that we have been saying we have failed to acknowledge that we also made a mistake,” admitted former MDC Minister Samuel Sipape Nkomo in a Zimbabwe Independent report May 2014.
One can go to town on how Zanu PF rigged the 31st July 2013 elections, MDC-T went on to produce a 54-page report going into detail on such matters as the role played by the Israeli company NIKUV in rigging the elections. The dossier gives details of when Mugabe first met Nikuv Project boss how much the latter was paid (a cool $13 million) and when, how many youths Zanu PF trained for the vote rigging, etc.
It was NIKUV who corrupted with the voters roll so that nearly one million voters (ZEC admits to only 300 000) were denied the vote because their details were not in the constituency voters roll although the details were in the national voters roll. If the Zanu PF control ZEC had release the voters roll at least one month before voting day, as is required by law, many people will have discovered this error and corrective action taken. ZEC, to this day, has refused to release the voters roll; proof this was a deliberate and calculated move.
Since the rigged July 2013 elections all the MDC factions have since agreed that they will not contest in any other future elections until meaningful democratic reforms are implemented. “No reform, no elections!” they said in their various party congress resolutions.
Sadly, to date not even one democratic reform has been implemented. The Zanu PF regime that won over two thirds majority and the presidency in the rigged July 2013 elections has already said the party “will not reform itself out of power” (it is no secret the regime will not win free, fair and credible elections).
Given the nation’s desperate need for free and fair elections, the prerequisite for any meaningful economic recover – the country’s economic meltdown has reached danger level as exemplified by the unemployment rate that has soared to 90% -, the nation is expecting the opposition to be firm in their demand for reforms before elections.
When the MDC factions came up with the “No reform, no elections!”; it was empty words devoid of any conviction. The resolution was made to take the heat off MDC leaders for contesting election they knew were flawed. The resolution implied that had MDC leaders known of the critical importance of the reforms in stopping the vote rigging then they would have boycotted the elections as they are doing then by adopting the resolution. As we head from Sipepa Nkomo, they knew about the importance of the reforms before the elections.
As the date for new national elections has approached all the country’s opposition parties, including the MDC factions who made the resolution to boycott elections until all reforms are implemented, have all decided to contest 2018 elections knowing fully well not even one reform has been implemented. They are doing so for the same reason MDC leaders contested the 2013 elections as former MDC Senator and cabinet minister in the GNU, David Coltart explained.
“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,” wrote Senator Coltart in his book.
“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.”
In the passage before Senator Coltart described how ZEC had more voter registration centres in Mhondoro than Harare, a rural constituency and Zanu PF stronghold, with a population of 100 000, an urban constituency and MDC strong hold with a population of 2 million respectively. He had seen enough to convince him the elections were “flawed and illegal”!
The only reason the opposition politician still want to contest the 2013 elections regards of all the mountain of evidence the elections will be rigged was a simple one – greed. They knew Zanu PF was giving away some “bait” seats and they could not bear the thought of someone else winning the seat!
There is no point in anyone asking on the opposition politicians to boycott 2018 elections until meaningful reforms are implemented because they have their beady eyes fixed on the “bait” seats, just as MDC leaders before them in 2013, they will not listen.
The warning not to participate in the 2018 elections until meaningful reforms are implemented is directed at the ordinary Zimbabweans. The reason why the people must boycott the elections is simple; with no reforms in place Zanu PF will blatantly rig the vote just the party did in 2013.
It is insane taking part in a process again and again expecting a different result, an impossible opposition victory. The opposition are doing their best to create the impression that this time the result will be different when all they want the people to do is help them win the “bait’ seat.
Like it or not, the more people participate in the election they more they will give the process a stamp of legitimacy just as the opposition politicians’ participation are too giving the process the modicum of legitimacy regardless how blatant the vote rigging.
If there is anyone out there who still believe boycotting the elections is not the answer then I respectively ask; Is there any vote rigging act(s) which, if committed, would justify boycotting elections?
I do not believe the position that the people must take part in national elections regardless how torturous the process and totally meaningless the result have become. Zimbabwe’s electoral process is not just flawed and illegal it is now a torturous ritual of months of harassment, beating, being frog matched hither and thither, rape and many have lost their very lives. No one should ever have to be asked to offer a stamp of approval in their own torture even if it is indirect approval!
What the people must do is do anything in their power to show their disapproval of the whole process designed to rob them of their basic freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful and free vote.
The right to vote is the only effective tool the ordinary people have with which to punish those in power and therefore the people must do the best to keep it. Zanu PF’s vote rigging schemes are designed to rob the electorate their right to vote and so the more reason people should make a determined effort to register to vote then, come voting day, go and vote. Spoil the vote.
The determined effort to register and then to vote complete with details of the observed vote rigging irregularities will unnerve the regime; a determined fight back by povo is last thing the regime expect.
I will ready admit that by bribing the opposition politicians with the bait seats Zanu PF has povo by the scuff of the neck but that does not mean povo cannot fight back.
If the village bully has you by the scuff of the neck; you must fight back but be subtle. Pick the bully’s pocket with one hand and drop a millipede in his back pocket with the other!
The mouse giving the middle finger to the eagle before empting the revolver up its back side! https://goo.gl/images/8hDGXb
Guess who will have the last and longest laugh then!
I rest my case!