Sunday, 2 July 2017

Zimbabwe is at a cross road implement reforms and end suffering or continue to suffer

Election time is a very important time in a democratic country where elections are free, fair and credible because it offers the ordinary people the rare opportunity to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country. The people have a chance to reaffirm their support on what was done right and elect new faces with fresh ideas to reinvigorate the nation.

Elections is nothing more than spring cleaning; if you do a thorough job then you will have a fairly clean house for the rest of the year. It is heartening therefore to see that many Zimbabweans are taking an active interest in Zimbabwe’s next elections. But, like any other activity but especially one that requires careful planning and coordination, there will be no advantage in having all-hands on deck if we are pulling in opposite directions or worse still in the wrong direction.

SADC leaders warned Tsvangirai and company not to contest the July 2013 elections without implementing the democratic reforms first.

“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 Violet Gonda in a recent interview.

“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’.

As we know MDC leaders failed to heed the warning and the contested the elections and, as we also know, Zanu PF went on to rig the vote.

SADC leaders’ warning not to contest the flawed 2013 elections was addressed at MDC leaders in the first instance but at us, the people, as well. It is our duty to be vigilant and be aware what those we have entrusted with power and authority are doing at all times. We, the people, failed ourselves in letting MDC leaders contest the July 2013 elections with no concrete guarantees the elections will be free, fair and credible. If we had been paying attention at all throughout the five years of the GNU then we should have known long before the June 2013 SADC summit that MDC leaders had sold-out as they had not implemented even one reform in spite the repeated reminders to do so from SADC and many others.

So, whilst it is heartening that so many Zimbabweans are taking an active interest in Zimbabwe’s next year elections, no doubt the country’s worsening economic situation has helped sharpen our focus; it is important that everyone understand the two choices before them and the consequence of each. We are at a cross road:

Turn left: Contesting the elections with no reforms.

Many of the opposition parties including MDC factions and Mujuru’s NPP are determined to contest next year’s elections although they accept that no reforms have been implemented since the rigged July 2013 elections. It is important that we, the people, understand why Tsvangirai et al are contesting elections they know will be rigged. They are doing so out of greed; pure and simple, as David Coltart was honest enough to admit in his book.

“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 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.”

Of course, Tsvangirai and the rest in the opposition camp will never ever admit they are contesting the flawed elections for the sake of the few gravy train seats – they must be cursing Coltart for letting that cat out of the bag! They are torn between blame Zanu PF for its tyrannical arrogance in refusing to implement the reforms (they will never admit they sold-out and failed to implement any reforms when they had the golden opportunity to do so) and down playing Zanu PF’s vote rigging powers.

The opposition have spent a lot of sweat and treasure in promoting coalition building, voter education and mobilisation, Biometric Voter Registration and many such activities to create the impression that these will counter if not completely stop Zanu PF’s vote rigging and thus deliver electoral victory to the opposition. Only the naïve and gullible have been fooled.

Some Zimbabweans, without considering the merits of contesting the elections, they have accepted the elections as fait accompli; have turned their attention on how they can help the ordinary person have some say, compromised or whatever. There are some Church groups, civic society and NGOs that have taken it upon themselves to help with the voter education and voter mobilisation.

“In previous elections many gross human right violations have gone unreported because many people did not have a secure way place and means to get their story out. Ziso/ Ilihlo gives people of the ability to send a simple text or to simple document the abuse including the geolocation and download it on the application,” announced VOA Zimbabwe. They were announcing launch of social media application Ziso/ Ilihlo launched last week by Zimbabwe Citizen Initiative.

Whilst one would not want to be seen as the one throwing cold water on such initiatives, still one must point out the glaring shortcoming here – all these activities will make it harder to commit human rights abuses and to rig the elections, at best.

No one in the opposition or these NGOs would dare claim that any of their activities will stop Zanu PF rigging the next elections because none of the activities address any of the democratic reforms designed to dismantle the vote rigging juggernaut. After 37 years of rigged elections and with the country in a real mess; a route that will not deliver any meaningful political and economic change is unacceptable.

Turn Right: Demand the implementation of the democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

The fact of the matter is Zimbabwe is in this political and economic mess today, we are the poorest nation in Africa when 37 years ago we were one of the richest; because, for all these years we have been stuck with a corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical regime. Our failure to hold free, fair and credible elections is at the very heart of our political and economic mess and, more significantly, to get out of the mess we must hold free and fair elections.

Yes, Zanu PF has wormed its way back into power thanks to MDC’s betrayal in failing to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU and in contesting the 2013 elections to forfeit the chance to get the reforms implemented. Still the regime has no right to refuse to implement the reforms and the holding of free and fair elections because free elections are a right to a privilege.

The right to free, fair and meaningful vote is a fundamental right and not a privilege to be given to some and denied to others.

Rigging elections is a very serious offence and Zimbabwe must institute a high-powered investigation into the contact of past elections with the view of establishing the truth, punishing the traitors and setting a precedent that the nation does not tolerate electoral fraud because it undermines the very foundation of law abiding, stable and prosperous nation.

For anyone to contest in an election knowing the election process is rigged is madness but them to entice others to participate in such elections for their selfish reasons is itself high treason.

Morgan Tsvangirai et al are the reasons the country is in this present mess fighting to get the reforms implemented the very least they can do is deny Zanu PF the modicum of credibility after holding a flawed electoral process. We, the people, must force the opposition politicians to honour the “No reform, no elections!” pledge.  


The 2008 to 2013 GNU offered Zimbabwe a golden opportunity to end the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship. Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends failed to get even one reform implemented and went on to contest the July 2013 elections contrary to SADC leaders’ advice not to do so. The Zimbabwe populous followed MDC no questions asked and we have paid dearly for our folly. Zanu PF rigged the elections and now threatens to rig future elections too.

The task of implementing the elections was much easier during the GNU than it is now. We, the people, will have to grit our teeth and confront both Zanu PF and the opposition to get the reforms implemented. Trying to bring about change without upsetting the status quo, even by assigning additional chores to ourselves, is just an excuse for avoiding the difficult task of implementing the reforms. After the rig election we will still be talking of the need to implement the reforms!

It is either we implement the reforms now or pay dearly for not to do so until we finally implement the reforms. This is all we have done these last 37 years!


Nomusa Garikai said...

“Now that I think we know that Morgan Tsvangirai supposedly won that election (2008), but instead of Zimbabweans saying that we are not accepting anybody doing anything else with our results, we collectively let it happen,” said Dr Nkosana Moyo.

“Do not say Morgan Tsvangirai sold out, but it is us, we Zimbabweans who messed up and once we take that responsibility we will be able to mend our mistake.”

When you are wrong there my brother! It was Tsvangirai who foolishly argued that people should be patient and when he finally realise his mistake it was too late.

Dr Moyo, you can continue dreaming that the next elections will be similar to the 2008 elections the truth if Zanu PF has moved on. In 2013 the regime rig the vote to secure 62% of the vote, it did not need cook the result then. Zanu will do the same next year!

Now that I am getting to know you better, it is clear that you are not as smart as I thought!

Nomusa Garikai said...

“We always hear youths from the (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) MDC saying that they do not have jobs. I say to them come to me and I will laugh at them first before telling them to go and herd cattle,” said Mugabe speaking in the vernacular Shona language.

How insulting!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

Zanu PF rigged the 2013 elections and has been rigging elections for years but of course the regime will never admit to rigging. Even after losing by 73% to Tsvangirai in the March vote, after six weeks of recounting this was reduce to 47%.

"I must also refer to nuisance parties NPP, Tendai Biti and MDC. They have no hope of winning, but are simply there to let our supporters vote in protest. There was bhora musango in 2008. Let that not happen again," Mugabe said.

In 2013 he bribed all the Zanu PF candidates in that election with new cars plus $10 000 each spending money. But when one is as unpopular as he one cannot be certain that his money can buy him the support and votes particularly when one is known to going back on one’s promises or worse, back stabbing, as soon as they have what they wanted.

So President Mugabe is worried that even his looted wealth from Marange may not be enough to bribe all in his own party, Zanu PF. He is spending money hand over fist already and by the time the last vote is cast he will have spent a staggering $10 billion on bribes alone but with the country’s economy still in a real mess even those who get the bribe must know they are feasting today but will be starving tomorrow.

The nation is heading for a catastrophic crash the bribe is not a gift of love but a token share of the loot making all partners in crime. Woo to those who will be left holding the beg when the light of justice is switched on!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

Former Finance minister and PDP president Tendai Biti has warned of the army's involvement in next year's elections and a possible implosion directly linked to the volatile Zanu-PF succession wars.

True enough, Zimbabwe is highly unstable right now; any country in such an economic mess and with all state institution barely functioning in bound to be unstable. The country had it last golden opportunity to end this corrupt, tyrannical and totally dysfunctional system of government during the 2008 to 2013 GNU; all the country needed to do was implement a raft of democratic reforms. Sadly, the opportunity was wasted as not even one reform was implemented in five years! NOT EVEN ONE REFORM!

It is all very well for Mr Tendai Biti to be tell us what a fine mess we are in but he must never forget that he has played a major role in landing us in the mess. Instead of implementing the reforms he spent his time composing and singing ballads in honour of President Mugabe. Well the man he called “the fountain of wisdom, unflappable father of the nation,” is the one who has landed the nation in this fine mess.

If Biti had any sense of propriety and honour; he would apologize to the nation for his role in landing us in this mess and retire out of public life. Why would the nation ever trust such a corrupt and incompetent individual to hold public office again!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

It is much easier to just go along with the mob. The country’s opposition politicians may be corrupt and incompetent but in a country with no tradition of questioning leaders, where Tsvangirai, Mujuru and others lead the populous will follow. The opposition leaders are going to contest next year’s flawed elections; it is madness but most Zimbabweans out there do not know that, they do not want to even hear about it.

The Zimbabweans involved in such activities as voter mobilisation and now this Ziso/ Ilihlo are hoping their work will make a difference. Doing something in this case has taken precedence over doing the right thing!

The real difference in Zimbabwe will come from making sure the elections are free and fair and for that to happen we must implement the reforms. To demand the implementation of the reforms of Zanu PF and to look the opposition leaders in the eye and tell them they are traitors is tough. Only the tough in this world ever pick the narrow and straight road and they must, necessarily, love their own company because there will be many lonely days and miles ahead!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe has had to make an emergency trip to South Africa to secure accommodation for her two sons.

Only the other day, President Mugabe was praising Zimbabwe's "14 universities". So it turns out that none of these universities are good enough for his children. Some of these universities are nothing more than the university equivalent of the many post-independent Upper Tops.

How many millions of people have lost out instead of getting a proper education got this upper top rubbish!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

@ David Barber

A very good read, thank you David.

I would like to comment on two points you made:
“But, unfortunately, bravery alone does not win battles. To win, one must still fight in the right way. And it hurts to see people hurling themselves impotently against a solid door when all the time the key was there if only they knew how to use it,” you said.

You have that one right; when you look at just how corrupt and incompetent the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai have proven to be it would be no exaggeration to say President Mugabe conned the MDC leaders into locking the door and stopping democratic change taking place because they believed Mugabe had accepted them in the ruling elite exclusive club. By the time MDC leaders realised they had been conned it was too late to implement the reforms.

“This puts a huge question mark over the recent actions of Nkosana Moyo in entering the presidential battle so late in the day and refusing to join the coalition. Moyo had better make sure he is right and win the election because, if he doesn’t, he will be directly responsible for Mugabe or ZANU-PF remaining in office, and for consigning every Zimbabwean to yet more years of oppression and poverty. He bears a heavy responsibility for his decision,” you continued.

“His argument that the coalition will fail because it is trying to “mix oil and water” is pathetic. Probably every successful opposition in history has managed to mix oil and water very successfully, so is he saying that Zimbabweans are not mature and adult enough to do that?”

Give me a break, what did the successful opposition use the oil and water mixture for?

Tsvangirai, Mujuru, Biti and all the others in the opposition right now have a mile-long record of failures and betrayal. There is nothing to be gained by recycling this lot. If there is one thing Zimbabwe needs desperately is to get rid of the deadwood and get quality leaders.

The only big mistake Dr Nkosana Moyo has made was agree to contest a flawed election, that is just being foolish!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) could be forced to suspend the 2018 election if a repeat of the 2008 violence is experienced, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has warned.
ZHRC is just another tooth dog, there were countless serious human rights violations in 2013 and in all the by-elections that have followed. ZHRC has done nothing to stop these violations, only a fool would believe the commission will ever do anything of substance!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

Throughout the GNU both MDC and Zanu PF leaders did not want to talk about the democratic reforms for the later they naturally did not want any reforms implemented and weaken they iron grip on power. For Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues, they did not want to talk about reforms for a variety of reasons being corrupt and incompetent being the main reasons.

After President Mugabe gave Tsvangirai the keys to the $4 million Highlands mansion Tsvangirai was convinced there was nothing the tyrant would not do for him and his MDC friends; they were now fully accepted members of the country’s ruling elite. The Zanu PF dictatorship is there to keep the ruling elite in power and guarantee them all the benefits that comes with absolute power. Since MDC leaders were now an integral part of the country’s ruling elite, there was real no point in MDC dismantling the dictatorship.

Tsvangirai and his MDC friends expected Zanu PF to rig the July 2013 elections but did not expect “Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans to overwhelm the party’s mass support,” as Tsvangiarai latter admitted. Well the vote rigging shenanigans did overwhelm MDC’s support.

Since the rigged July 2013 elections MDC leaders have avoided talking about reforms for three basic reason:
a) They did not want to admit they had failed to implement the reforms

b) They did not want to admit they had been warned not to contest the elections without reforms and ignore the warning

c) After the GNU MDC leaders knew Zanu PF was now in the driving seat on reforms and discussing reforms only underlined MDC’s weak position. They pursued the watered down electoral reforms in the hope that Zanu PF will indulge them and implement some of these reforms. That was not to be!

Ordinary Zimbabweans have shied away from discussing politics and democratic reforms was no exception. Even when SADC leaders flagged the need to implement reforms before holding elections, many Zimbabweans have still continued to shy away from the subject. The truth is the country will never recover from the mess it is in until the reforms are implemented.

I agree groups like Zimbabwe Citizen Initiative are not doing the nation any favour with their Ziso/ Ilihlo project because many people will think it is ok to contest the elections which is the exact opposite. We need to send a clear and consistent message now more than ever that we must not participate in any elections until the reforms are implemented!

Zimbabwe Light said...

Implement ALL the democratic reforms followed by free, fair and credible elections; that is the holy grail and we must not allow ourselves to be distracted or settle for anything else! 

We have been short changed and cheated repeatedly for the last 37 years and today we are the poorest nation in Africa and with that singular "honour" comes the curse of the highest child mortality rate, etc. All this because we have failed to hold free and fair elections! Well this must change right here right now. We will not accept another flawed election, if those in power think they can impose another meaningless election on the nation they must and will be force to think again because we are not going to give up on our freedoms and rights! 

We have been cheated of our share of the nation's wealth and resources and robbed of our self-respect and humanity. The only one thing we have left is our human dignity and what better way of expressing it then in calling the usurpers, treacherous, corrupt and murderous tyrant in his face and defiantly demand the implementation of the democratic reforms and restoration of all individual freedoms and rights.

Zimbabwe Light said...

@ Tinashe

"With due respect no one can dispute the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai is the father of democracy and the most respected opposition leader who can be accepted by all common loving Zimbabweans. This fact remains and it's binding," you said.

How can Tsvangirai be "the father of democracy" when he is the one who sold-out during the GNU and failed to get even one democratic reform implemented. Zimbabwe is still a de facto one party dictatorship right now so how can Tsvangirai be the father of something that does not exist.

The trouble with shallow minded people like you Tinashe is you are big headedand so you think you are clever when all you have is a big but empty head.

Your "father of democracy" is the one, against the good advice from SADC leaders, dragging the nation into the flawed July 2013 elections and it going to drag us to yet another meaningless election next year if we failed to stop him.

Tsvangirai "father of democracy"! Only an first class idiot like you Tinashe can come up with such nauseating nonsense!

Zimbabwe Light said...

What reforms does he expect to be implement now with a year before the elections? This is just a crow making its usual noise out of habit than anything else.

If Zanu PF ignores your call will MDC-T boycott the elections? The party has already said it will contest the elections even if no reforms are implemented. Given that is the case, why would Zanu PF implement the reforms?

Happymore Chidziva is just looking for an opportunity to be in the limelight, as with all opposition politicians are. Ask him what reform he is demanding and it is lights out, such is the calibre of the MDC leaders!

Zimbabwe Light said...

"I miss my friends (in Zanu PF)…when you are part of ruling fraternity, most of your programs (official and private) are taken care of by government; you just use the same resources (to implement them); it's like killing two birds with one stone" said Dr. Mujuru during the interview on being asked how life outside ZanuPF was.
Zimbabwean voting public has been skeptical about Dr. Mujuru's ultimate aim of entering into the opposition politics. She has been inconsistent and her speeches seem to suggest she is still ZanuPF at heart.
She recently denied that Zanu PF ever used any NIKUV rigging technics in elections. Most opposition parties are fighting against ZEC for being partisan and using NIKUV to rig elections. Recently NERA has increase tempo in fighting for election reforms before the elections. Mujuru has refused to join NERA with NPP, seemingly to protect the unorthodox ZanuPF election engineering.

Of course, Joice Mujuru misses the pampered lifestyle of the gravy train ruling elite and the looting. Indeed, the only reason Mujuru is back in politics is for her to worm her way back into power so she can take up her opulent gravy train lifestyle from where she left off when she was “baby dumped” in 2014.

She will never implement the democratic reforms the nation is dying for, she will dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship but only to relaunch it in her own image! Zimbabweans will be very foolish to vote her back into power.

Zimbabwe Light said...

The case why the opposition needs a coalition, especially in the presidential race, is a red herring to distract the politically naïve and gullible people.

To win the first round the presidential candidate must poll 50% plus one of the cast votes. The best the opposition can do is for one of them getting the 50% plus one. Yes, if no other opposition candidate(s) had contested the winning margin would have been even high but that does not matter. The next best thing is for the opposition candidates’ total to be the 50% plus one. There is no reason why opposition candidate should not win in the run-off.

If the Zanu PF candidate gets the 50% plus one in the first round then it really does not matter how many opposition candidate contested. In 2013 Mugabe polled 62%.

The real big issue in 2013 was stopping Zanu PF rigging the vote and to do that we needed to implement the reforms. Not even one reform was implemented since the July 2013 elections and so Zanu PF is certain to rig next year’s vote. The Zanu PF’s vote rigging juggernaut is already in full swing and this time even better funded than 2013; whether the opposition have a coalition or not, will not affect its smooth running.

All this talk of coalition is helping Zanu PF’s grand plan because is taking attention away from its vote rigging schemes. The regime wants to rig the vote but claim it was a free and fair elections and so it is in its interest that all the vote rigging is kept under wraps.