“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” said Albert Einstein. And when those in positions and power and authority are insane, the consequences of the insanity affects millions of others – we are see just that in Zimbabwe.
“Zanu-PF has not been marketable for the last two decades but does not need to for so long as it is prepared to intimidate the electorate and subvert the electoral system,” David Coltart readily admitted.
He readily admits too that all current efforts by the opposition to implement the democratic reforms to stop the vote rigging have been a total failure. Not even one reform has ever been implemented.
“Whilst I appreciate the great work that NERA is doing, we need to be realistic and remember that Zanu-PF is never going to agree to electoral reforms which will lead to a level playing field,” said the former MDC Senator and Minister of Education.
“We must certainly continue to wage this battle but our primary battle should be to forge agreement on a coalition team and then sell the electorate an array of policies which will be fundamentally different to the policies Zanu-PF has used to ruin Zimbabwe. Only then can we hope to achieve the landslide we need to overcome the chicanery of Zanu-PF and its acolytes in ZEC.”
So, David Coltart admits Zanu PF has remain in power not because the regime is popular but because it is able to frogmarch the electorate to vote for it and to rig elections. He has not offered anything to stop the vote rigging all he is offering is that we try even harder to win the elections regardless the vote rigging. This is totally unacceptable for three very good reasons:
1) For the last two decades, by Coltart’s own reckoning, we have contested flawed elections and the result has been the same – Zanu PF has blatantly rig the vote and secure its no-regime-change wish. To contest next year’s election, knowing fully well that with no reforms in place Zanu PF will once again rig the vote, and expect a different result – Zanu PF rigging the vote but somehow losing the election. That is insane!
There is nothing to prove that a united opposition will win a landslide victory next year and overwhelm Zanu PF’s vote rigging. We have heard all that before.
In the 2013 elections MDC-T had the mass support as was seen from the high turnout at its pre-election rallies. The people were very well motivated to vote because they believed Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders that the new 2013 constitution was going to deliver free, fair and credible elections. Instead, it was Mugabe who won the 2013 presidential election by 62% of the votes and his party won the parliamentary vote by a similar margin.
MDC leaders complained that Zanu PF “had stolen the elections”! The people were both shocked and disappointed to how easily Zanu PF had rigged the elections. After all the hype about the new constitution being “the best in Africa”, it failed its first test. Of course, MDC lost political credibility.
To win back public confidence, MDC-T has, first of all, vowed to force Zanu PF to implement the democratic reforms to stop the vote rigging. The party passed a “No reform, no election!” congress resolution and has boycotted all by-elections since then.
The party has not only failed to get even one reform implemented but worse still has since gone back on its “No reform, no elections!” without even bothering to explain why.
Second, the party passed another congress resolution to bring all opposition parties in coalition. The issue has become even more important as the party realised it was not making much headway in implementing the reforms. The coalition was soon billed as the game changer even if not even one reform was implemented – which was nonsense as field one opposition presidential in the 2013 would have given him/her 38% of the vote.
Still, it has taken Tsvangirai over three years to get three out of a possible twenty plus opposition partners to sign MOU, agreeing to talk about unity. With a year before the elections, time is running out!
The Zimbabwe public have noticed the failure to implement reforms, the failure to form the coalition and many other opposition blunders and their confidence in the opposition winning next year’s election is rock bottom compared to 2013!
Zanu PF is working hard to rebuild its youth militia who have taken up the role of the party’s ruthless foot soldiers doing the dirty of intimidating the electorate. Many opposition supporters have melted out of sight, especially in the rural areas.
Coltart’s landslide opposition victory in 2018 election is wishful think!
2) The 2008 elections were a land mark in Zimbabwe history in that the varied complexity and ruthlessness of the Zanu PF vote rigging machine; it is unbeatable and there is really no point in trying to. The whole point of the 2008 to 2013 GNU was for the MDC to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop the vote rigging.
MDC had five years to implement the reforms but failed to get even one reform implemented. President Mugabe bribed them with the trappings of the gravy train lifestyle, a $4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc. and they kicked the reforms into the tall grass.
Beside, being corrupt MDC leaders have also proven to be breathtakingly incompetent. Tsvangirai admitted after the rigged July 2013 elections that “MDC was confidence Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans would not be enough to overwhelm MDC’s mass support”. Coltart is still banking on the same mass support although it is less evident this time.
The 2008 election showed it was futile for the opposition contesting elections with no reforms and expect to win. This is the point SADC leaders made again and again to MDC leadership throughout the GNU and again in June 2013, just a month before the elections.
“If you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done,” SADC leaders warned Tsvangirai & co. at the regional summit meeting in June 2013. As we know, MDC leaders ignored the warning.
David Coltart admitted in his book that boycotting the 2013 elections was the right choice and MDC leaders did not do so out of 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,” he explained.
“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.”
MDC leaders were elected on a ticket of bring about democratic change, as the party’s name suggest. They have failed to bring about even one change in their 17 years in politics, they wasted the golden opportunity to deliver change during the GNU, because they are breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent.
They do not deny the futility of contesting flawed elections, however they will continue contesting no matter how flawed and illegal, how many voters are frogmarched to rallies and how many get beaten or worse, out of greed for the few gravy train seats Zanu PF gives away.
Contesting the flawed 2013 against SADC advice brought nothing but the misery of another five years of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF rule. And, of course, by contesting the election, the nation forfeited a golden opportunity to force the implementation of the reforms. The nation will once again gain nothing and pay dearly if next year’s elections go ahead with no reforms in place.
3) Zimbabwe is experiencing a serious economic meltdown that has send unemployment soaring to nauseating heights of 90% and millions of our people are now living in abject poverty. Zimbabweans are now the poorest in Africa and with that cursed crown comes the heart-breaking human suffering, the high infant mortality rates, the high criminal and prostitution figures, etc.
Only the other day, A USA think tank, Centre for Preventive Action, was warning of “political instability, violence, and further economic decline in Zimbabwe could see xenophobic violence directed against the country’s migrants in South Africa becoming worse if large numbers of refugees began fleeing the country.”
Another flawed election resulting in Zanu PF retaining power and extinguishing all hopes of meaningful political change and economic recovery could well trigger the political instability. Zimbabwe is standing right on the edge of the precipice, one false move and the nation will tumble over the edge. We cannot afford another rigged election next year.
Zimbabwe is in this political and economic mess because the nation has been stuck with this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship for 37 years. And as David Coltart rightly pointed out as long as the regime is able to “intimidate the electorate and subvert the electoral system” we will never dislodge it from power. The only time we did, at least partially by forcing it to accept a power sharing, was during the GNU when the regime lost legitimacy following the blatant vote rigging and wanton violence of 2008 elections.
If we can stop the opposition participating in next year’s elections with no reforms in place then the electoral process will lose credibility and legitimacy. Zanu PF will be forced to accept the implementation of democratic reforms just as it was forced to in the 2008 Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the GNU.
It is sheer madness to contest next year’s elections with no reform, knowing Zanu PF will rig the vote, and expect the opposition to win the election, a different result, after 37 years of Zanu PF rigging the vote and winning the elections. The cost to the nation in lost treasure, human suffering and human lives have gone up and up with each rigged election, it is insane to allow the nation to be dragged into yet another flawed election! And for what? To gratify the insatiable greed for power and gravy train lifestyle of a few ruling elite! Enough is enough; the cup is full to overflow.
We will have the reforms implement BEFORE the elections. We demand free, fair and credible elections and that is not too much to ask.