“Nhamo inenharo!” (Intellectual) poverty is stubborn!) so goes the Shona adage. Nowhere is this more true and tragic than in Morgan Tsvangirai’s case.
"Fellow Zimbabweans, this being Workers' Day, we must remember that as
a nation we have our work cut out for us as we brace for next year's watershed
polls,” he told the workers in Dzivaresekwa.
"We can only
be able to fight unemployment, poverty and inequalities if we use the perfect
opportunity next year to vote for visionary men and women who will be able to
extricate our country from its parlous predicament.
"Yes, we have
serious work to do next year and that great work starts by registering to vote
as soon as the voter registration exercise is rolled out in the coming days.”
The MDC buoyant with confidence of winning the next elections is all very familiar
territory to many of us!
“In 2013 before the elections, the Maputo Summit was all about having the
elections postponed at the Sadc summit. I went there,” Dr Ibbo Mandaza told
Violet Gonda in her recent Hot Seat programme. “I was there at the summit and
Mugabe pretended to agree to a postponement of the elections.
“If you recall, the postponement was based on the need to reform at least
electoral laws, and after that summit, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman
Ncube, all of them were called to a separate meeting by the Heads of State of
SADC in the absence of Mugabe, that same evening.
“And they were
told; I was sitting there outside the room with Mac Maharaj; they were told
"if you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections
As we all know, Tsvangirai & co. ignored the SADC leaders’ warning and
contested the flawed 2013 elections and lost.
We also know that since the 2013 elections not even one of reforms were implemented
and therefore it stands to reason that Zanu PF will once again rig the 2018 elections.
Whilst voter registration will certainly do no harm to the electoral process
it must be emphasised that the opposition did not lose the 2013 elections
because the people had not tried to register to vote. There is no denying that
many people, in known opposition strongholds, failed to register last time
because they were made to jump through so many hoops. No doubt the regime will
come up with similar demands for the coming elections.
So, the problem here is not just motivating people to register to vote but stop
the regime making it so damn difficult to register and that is precisely what
the SADC reforms were meant to achieve. Indeed, Tsvangirai and company lost the
2013 elections precisely because they had failed to address the core reform
Voter mobilization, coalition building, biometric voter registration (BVR)
kits, etc. are not the core reforms we need for free, fair and credible
elections, opposition leaders know this well enough. They have abandoned the
core reform issues because they are hard to get and are instead spending all
their time, money and effort on voter mobilization, etc. because these are
The real reason why Tsvangirai & co. participated in the 2013, knowing
fully well that Zanu PF will rig the vote was a simple one – greed. They knew
Zanu PF will be giving away a few seats to the opposition to give the electoral
process some modicum of democratic legitimacy and it was these seats they were
after. They are lining up to contest the flawed 2018 elections for the same
gravy train seats!
Tsvangirai and his MDC friends should have implemented the democratic
reforms necessary for free and fair elections during the GNU when they had SADC
and international community backing. Since the 2013 elections which marked the
end of SADC’s involvement in Zimbabwe’s political mess, it has become hundred
times more difficult to get the reforms implemented. If we go into the 2018
elections still with no reforms in place, we will make implementing the reforms
even more difficult not easier.
No, the real “serious work” before the people of Zimbabwe is for them to
realise that opposition leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai are not interested in
implementing any democratic changes; they sold out during the GNU when they had
the best chance ever to implement the reforms. Since then they have contested
in elections without reforms for the sake of the scraps offered to the by Zanu
The sooner the people realise opposition leaders like Tsvangirai are running
with the hare (povo) but hunting with the hounds (Zanu PF regime), the sooner
they can start the real tough task of searching for competent leaders with some
common sense, at least. The sooner the people can finally realise that meaningful
change will only result after implementing the core democratic reforms the
sooner the nation will stop wasting time on trivial side issues like voter
mobilization, BVR kits, etc.
Tsvangirai and his opposition friends have been advised on numerous
occasions that they need to implement the core democratic reforms to ensure
elections are free and fair they keep ignoring the advice because they are who
they are – corrupt and incompetent. And, as we can see, intellectually
impoverished people can be very stubborn especially when their judgement is impaired
by greed. The most important task before the people of Zimbabwe today is for
them to finally realise that Tsvangirai will never ever get out of the economic
and political hell-hole Zanu PF landed us in by pursuing the easy tasks of
voter mobilisation whilst neglecting the tough ones of ZEC reform, etc.
Tsvangirai & co. were warned against participating in the 2013 elections
with no reforms. This time it is not only Tsvangirai and rest of opposition who
have been warned against the folly of contesting flawed elections, the rest of
Zimbabwe society is being warned too!