“You can lead a horse to the river but you cannot make it drive.” So, goes the common proverb. People are like an animal, you can present them with a golden opportunity, but you cannot force the individual to take advantage of it. There are some opportunities not to be missed and doing so is insane. Sadly, our world if full of insane individuals and here is one.
"That is not an option (boycotting). As a party, we are in these talks for a coalition to work on how best we can have the electoral field levelled, but boycotting is not our strategy," said Mai Mujuru.
She was responding to reports that some opposition parties are considering boycotting the elections in the face of Zanu PF’s stubborn refusal to implement the democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections.
"I know there are some, especially the youth, who might feel the need to boycott by not voting, or registering to vote in next year's elections. That's very wrong. There is no need to boycott elections. For whose benefit? For the benefit of those that have hurt everybody?" she said.
"Our approach is to ensure we have a level electoral ground, to have a free and fair election next year, but already, we have seen signs that show the elections will not be free, signs that rigging is already taking place.”
This is where the insanity kicks in: she accepts the need for free and fair elections; she accepts that the opposition have been asking for reforms and, last but most important of all, she accepts Zanu PF has not given an inch and is already rigging the vote. For her to maintain that her party will still contest the elections regardless of how flawed the process happens to be flies in the face of logic!
Zimbabwe experience some of its worse blatant vote rigging in 2008 when ZEC was asked to cook the result to change Tsvangirai’s 73% vote to 47% after six weeks of recounting. And in the presidential run-off that followed, the country witnessed some of the worst wanton violence. SADC proposed a raft of political reforms which the GNU was tasked to implement to ensure the political nightmare of the 2008 will never be repeated ever again.
When it was clear that not even one reform had been implemented, SADC leaders tried to force through the reforms and advised Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to boycott the July 2013 elections.
“In 2013 the Maputo Summit, in June 2013, before the elections, the Maputo Summit was all about having the elections postponed – the SADC summit. I went there,” Dr Ibbo Mandaza told Journalist Violet Gonda.
“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 are done’.”
Sadly, MDC leaders, for their own selfish reasons, paid no heed as David Coltart pointed out.
“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,” admitted David Coltart in his recent book, The Struggle Continues 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.
“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.”
After the GNU years Mugabe know that the MDC leaders were corrupt to the core; he had bribed them to forget the reforms and they did. He knew that as long as the opposition were offered a few gravy train seats they will contest the elections regardless how flawed the electoral process happened to be. And that is exactly what happened. Those few gravy train seats are even more irresistible to Mai Mujuru and her former Zanu PF friends, than they are to MDC leaders, after their 34 years of unparalleled luxury on the gravy train.
In the 2013 elections, Zimbabwe was spared a repeat of the wanton violence of 2008 but only because Zanu PF was able to bankroll a very expensive vote rigging scheme thanks to the billions the party is looting from Marange and Chiadzwa diamonds. The price the nation has paid for the rigged election was being stuck with the corrupt and tyrannical regime for another five years.
Zimbabwe is in serious economic trouble as the country’s soaring unemployment rate of 90% shows. Zimbabweans are now the poorest people in Africa, according to an AfrAsia Bank report. The country cannot afford yet another rid elections and another five more years of Zanu PF misrule.
So, the pressure for making sure next year’s elections are free, fair and credible is not just political – the people have the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country. It is economic too – the country’s tragic human suffering brought on by the economic meltdown will only end if there is meaningful political change; because meaningful economic recovery is only possible if there is meaningful political change.
There is a distinct possibility that Zanu PF will set up the wanton violence especially now that Joice Mujuru and her supporters, who are former Zanu PF thugs themselves, are itching for a fight.
“You can’t expect us to reform ourselves out of power.” Was Professor Jonathan Moyo, Zanu PF cabinet minister and politburo member’s blunt dismissal to demands to implement democratic reforms. As if it is not bad enough that Zanu PF is blatantly denying the ordinary people the freedoms and basic human rights including the right to free and fair elections; the regime has chutzpah to now claim the tyrannical oppression as if it was its God given divan right!
Mai Mujuru was booted out of Zanu PF nearly three years ago but she is still as cold heart as ever. Her resolve to contest next year’s elections regardless how flawed the process and damn the consequences is proof that she does not care about the povo, all she cares about is power! She will readily walk over hundreds, even thousands, of victims of Zanu PF’s culture of political violence just to get her old gravy train seat back. All she cares about is securing political power and damn the consequences!
SADC leaders were right in edging MDC leaders to boycott the 2013 elections until reforms are implemented. The country gain absolutely nothing by MDC’s participation instead we paid dearly for MDC’s folly in that we were stuck with the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF regime another five years. And we forfeited the chance implement the reforms.
SADC leaders’ advice to MDC to boycott the elections until reforms are in place was valid in 2013 and is even more valid for the 2018 elections. It was foolish to contest the 2013 elections but to do so again in 2018 is the crass of insanity! It would be totally irresponsible to let Mai Mujuru drag the whole nation into yet another election madness just because she cannot contain her insatiable greed for power.
Free, fair and credible elections is the foundation of good and competent government. Zimbabwe is dying because of the 37 years of this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship. The only way the country can end the dictatorship in by implemented the reforms the sooner this is done the better. The reforms must be implemented BEFORE the elections. We know many in the opposition camp would prefer to contest the flawed elections just to win the few seats Zanu PF gives away. Ladies and gentlemen, you will all have to wait until the reforms are implemented. Yes, you too, Mai Mujuru, will have to wait!