Zanu PF is already busy rigging the elections, there is no chance of opposition dislodging them from power. The only reason Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends will not give up the claim of winning the elections to the bitter end, the morning after voting day when they will complain the elections were stolen, is because they are refusing to see the vote rigging going on before their own eyes. There is no one more blind that he who closes their eyes and mind and will not see!
When Professor Jonathan Moyo boasted to the world that Zanu PF was connected to the people, he was boasting of the party’s most tried and tasted vote rigging dirty tricks. Tricks the party is all the time.
“We relate to them (the voters) every day. We don’t have to hash tag them. We don’t have to telephone them, we interact with them and say, ‘Here is your 20kgs of inputs. How are you doing!’”
Zimbabweans are the poorest people in Africa, AfrAsia Bank has just confirmed that for the record. And Zimbabwe’s poorest of the poor are in the rural areas, Zanu PF’s strong holds, and Professor Moyo has just told us why this is no accident. Ordinarily one would expect the rural poor to hate Zanu PF with a burning passion since it is the regime’s 37 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption that has destroyed the country’s once promising economy. But because Zimbabwe is not norm country with a healthy and functional democratic system so instead of the people holding those in power to account it is those in power who hold the people to account.
It is Zanu PF misrule that has made the people poor but instead of the people holding the party to account by voting it out of office, the ultimate censure; it is Zanu PF that is using poverty to secure its hold on power by creating the poverty and make the poor dependent on Zanu PF for aid. It is the people who should wield the political power, in Zimbabwe it is the ruling elite who wield absolute power; it is the tail that wags the dog.
To a rich person with a generous income a 20 kg of farm input is nothing but to someone eking a living on $200 per year the donation is worth a great deal! An unscrupulous donor like Zanu PF know this only too well and exploit the situation to the full.
Zanu PF does not just give away plenty of food to eat and beer to drink it is rallied but also give away farm inputs, food and other basic needs to take home. It is normal for senior party leaders like Ministers, the First Lady Grace Mugabe and, of course President Mugabe himself, to give away bicycles, computers, motor cycles, tractors, etc. to such notables as traditional leaders, who in return have become the party’s de facto political commissars.
All these donations are directly or indirectly paid for by the taxpayer but are distributed on the clear understanding the party will want the individual’s supporter and vote in return. Known opposition supporters are singled out and denied any handouts.
In the 2008 elections, with the country is a real economic mess with inflation at 500 billion % empty shops, etc. President Mugabe faced his toughest elections ever. To retain power the regime pulled no punches as the harassing, beating, rape and even killing of political opponents. Over 500 Zimbabweans were murdered in cold blood in three months. The nation knows exactly what Professor Moyo’s “connectedness” mean!
People have often dismissed Grace Mugabe as a simpleton whose insatiable greed for very expensive luxurious like Gucci shoes into a lunatic! It is the fear of losing her privileged lifestyle as anything short of First Lady that has forced her to throw herself at the deep end of Zanu PF politics and claim the presidency for herself! God forbid that a complete idiot like her with no common sense or anything of value to offer should ever hold public office.
And yet, ever our Gucci shoes collecting magpie has understood the undemocratic hegemonic power Zanu PF wields over the nation’s poor and its pivotal role in the party’s continued rule – which is more than can be said about our opposition politicians. Last week Grace was calling for NGOs, especial foreign funded ones, to be deregistered because “they interfere in Zimbabwe’s politics,” she said.
Of course, Zanu PF blatant vote buying and downright vote rigging using threats and worse is totally unacceptable and an affront to what free, fair and credible elections should be. The West has expressed their disappointment with Zanu PF’s failure to hold free and fair elections by imposing the 2002 targeted sanctions on the tyrant and those around him. Mugabe has refused to reform and dismissed the criticism with a defiant “Zimbabwe is mine!”
SADC leaders managed to force President Mugabe to agree to a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop him rigging the elections. Sadly, Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends who were tasked to implement the reforms during the GNU failed to get even one reform implemented in five years.
Zanu PF has get away with frog marching people to attend its rallies, bussing in its supporters to cast multiple votes, denying nearly one million opposition supporters by deliberately posting their details to wrong constituent voters’ roll, etc. not because these things did not happen. They happened but the opposition have again and again done nothing to put an end to then.
SADC leaders were very clear as to what the opposition should do; “Do not contest the elections without reforms,” they told Tsvangirai and company in June 2013.
In his recent book, The Struggle Continues, David Coltart, MDC Senator and Education Minister during the GNU, said why the opposition contested the 2013 even when it was evident to opposition members themselves that the election was being rigged already – greed.
“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.”
So, Zimbabwe would not still be in this mess if the nation had forced Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to open their eyes and implement the reforms during the GNU and, as a last minute desperate act, to withdraw from contesting the flawed 2013. It is imperative that we force Tsvangirai to open his eyes this time; there is absolutely no excuse for contesting 2018 elections with no reforms in place.
There is nothing to be gained contesting 2018 elections with no reforms. The most likely outcome is another Zanu PF landslide victory which means the economic situation will not change much. There is a chance of street protests flaring up again or worse to press for change. This will bring the nation back to where we are right now – demanding the implementation of the reforms.
An opposition victory is highly unlikely but was it to happen it will not bring about any significant changes as both Tsvangirai and Mujuru are corrupt and incompetent, as their past records show. Those who say the country use the opposition victory as a stepping stone to getting a better government in future are naïve. Tsvangirai and/or Mujuru will not implement any of the reforms to pave the way for such changes for the same self-serving selfish reason that Zanu PF is refused to implement reforms now. An opposition victory next year will set the scene for a succession of mediocre governments to follow, as happened in Zambia. Zambia should have implemented democratic reforms to end the corrupting laws and practices introduced by Kenneth Kaunda before the late Frederick Chiluba took over.
We are the poorest nation in Africa today, proof we have made some serious blunders in the last 37 years! Well here is our chance to make amends and start the climb out of the hell-hole we have dug for ourselves – stop next year’s elections taking place until reforms are implemented.
Tsvangirai and company must be forced to open their eyes and see the futility of contesting flawed elections! MDC must be forced to honour their “No reform, no elections!”