Friday, 8 January 2016

"What ifthere are no reforms in 2018?" asked Vince Musewe - sadly a wrong and misleading question. By P Guramatunhu


The cynical phrase “Vote early …. and vote often!” is often attributed to Al Capone a USA, Chicago Mafia gangster notorious being corrupt and unashamed vote rigging schemes to manipulate the democratic process.

 

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Zimbabweans know all about rigged elections, you would think, after all 36 year after independence the nation is yet to hold free, fair and credible elections. There is one critical difference between vote rigging by Al Capone Mafia on the one hand and by President Mugabe’s regime on the other; the former is organized criminals against State machinery whereas the latter is State Institutionalized vote rigging against the individual.

 

Al Capone’s vote rigging schemes could add 5% maximum 10% of the votes and in a tight race that could make all the difference between losing and winning. In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe it is impossible to win because he controls every aspect of the voting process each with a potential to produce a 50% to 95% swing vote in his favour!

 

In 2008 Mugabe demonstrate that notion that it does not matter how the voting goes on the day it is controlling those doing the counting that matters. In the March 2008 vote count done at each polling station Tsvangirai had 67% to 73% lead to President Mugabe’s less than 30%. It was agreed that the final vote count was to be done in Harare. When the official count was finally concluded however, after five weeks, Tsvangirai’s vote had dropped to 46% hence the need for a run-off.

 

In the 2013 election Zanu PF demonstrated there was another tool in the regime’s vote rigging kit. Just two days before the elections the regime announced the number of Polling Stations had been increased from 2 000 to 9 000, a four and half fold increase in the number of Polling Stations. On polling day election observers came across Polling Station manned by Zanu PF officials only with no ZEC or opposition officials.

 

During the 2008 presidential run-off elections Zanu PF demonstrated a more sinister and lethal vote rigging tactic; wanton violence which included harassment, beatings, rape and even murder. The country had always had problems of politically motivated violence with those in authority like the Police turning a blind eye to it if the violence was by the ruling party operatives. The opposition supporters accused of causing any disturbance were always made to feel the full force of the law. Indeed sometimes the opposition supporters were arrested even though they were the victims.

 

In 2008 there was a truly more sinister and barbaric dimension in that State Security operative like the Police, CIO and Soldiers were actively involved in the planning and execution of the wanton violence against the opposition and the public at large. For the next four months the State “declared war” on the people as opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai described it when he announced his forced withdrawal from the race.

What 2008 demonstrated beyond all doubt is that an election pitting a State sponsored vote rigging machinery is simply unbeatable.

 

SADC refused to recognized President Mugabe’s presidential election run-off victory and forced him to sign the 2008 GPA agreeing to the implementation of a number democratic reforms designed to restore State Institutions’ independence and impartiality in ensuring elections are free, fair and credible.

 

Sadly the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, tasked to implement the reforms, failed to get even one reform implement at the end of the five years of the GNU. SADC’s advice to MDC was not to take part in the elections until all the reforms were implemented but MDC paid no heed.

 

Mugabe went on to rig the July 2013 elections running an elaborate vote rigging scheme involving paying an Israeli company NIKUV to corrupt the voters roll, bribing officials, bussing a few supporters to rallies and then later to one Polling Station after another casting multiple votes at each, etc. President Mugabe did not use violence still the scheme costed billions of dollars and bankrupted the nation in the process.

 

Many people are arguing that Zanu PF should be pressure to accept the implementation of the GPA reforms to ensure the next elections, due in July 2018, are free, fair and credible.

 

Few people would dispute that free, fair and credible elections are a basic human right and not a privilege to be given to some or denied to others at the whim of whomever. The government of the day has a statutory duty to the people to ensure the people enjoy this very important and crucial right.

 

The right to free, fair and credible election is the key requirement in whether the nation has a good and competent government or a corrupt and oppressive one. It all hinges on the regime being accountable to the people or not and the ability of the people to change the regime in a free and democratic vote is the ultimate expression of people’s power over those in power.

 

“What if there are no reforms by 2018?” asked Vince Musewe in his recent article. It is a legitimate question and it deserves a serious answer.

If that was to happen then the opposition must not take part in an electoral process everyone knows they will never win. SADC’s advice to the opposition before the July 2013 elections was not to take part; it was sound advice then and it is sound advice now. This advice becomes even more ominous when the possibility of Zanu PF resorting to wanton violence cannot be discounted.

 

The attitude of some opposition politicians of considering the acts of violence including murder of the innocent as “patriot blood watering the tree of liberty” is totally irresponsible and unacceptable.

 

Even if the regime resist all peaceful efforts to force it to accept democratic reforms it should be noted that the country’s economic chaos will not go away since the nation will still have the same corrupt and incompetent system of government. In other words the nation will still have to deal with this issue of ending the present corrupt and oppressive system of government.

 

Vince Musewe is therefore asking the wrong and misleading question. The right question should be “After 36 years of denying people their right to a free vote, a pre-requisite for good governance; how much suffering does are we to endure before every Zimbabwean is granted this right and the nation has good governance?”

 
Zimbabwe is in this hell-on-earth because for the last 36 years we have failed to formulate a system of government in which the rulers are democratic accountable to the ruled; we are not getting out of this hell until we have such a system of government. And the only sure way of creating a democratic system of government is by implementing the GPA reforms, all of them!

6 comments:

  1. Thank Patrick, you have hit the nail on the head; asking what if there are no reforms in 2018 is asking the wrong and misleading question.

    We all know what Vince Musewe wanted us all to say and do; if there are no reforms we should all accept as the political reality that there will never be free, fair and credible elections in Zimba-bwe, not as long as Mugabe or Zanu PF are in office because he will never commit political sui-cide and i implement the reform.

    We, the people know already that the Zanu PF dictatorship has been a complete disaster millions are out of work and millions are living in heartbreaking poverty and as long as the dictatorship remains in place things are set to get worse and not better. We all know that and so does Vince Musewe. He in his infinite wisdom is advising us to accept that as a political and economic reality, a fact of life we cannot change.

    Although Musewe ask about what if the reforms are not implemented in 2018; what he really meant is is for us to the reality that Mugabe has not implemented the reform as of now, July 2013 and so we should give up because he will not.

    Musewe has never ever question MDC why they failed to implement the reforms during the GNU; he has never accused them of betraying the nation. To him MDC did nothing wrong because Mugabe would have never wanted to commit political suicide by implementing the reforms. He is ignoring the fact Mugabe committed political suicide by signing the GPA committing himself to implementing the reforms. SADC Heads of State were keen to see the reforms implemented and egged MDC to do so.

    The only reason not even one reform was implemented was because MDC had sold-out; Muga-be bribe them to forget implementing any reforms and they took the bribes!

    Getting the GPA reforms implemented during the GNU was achievable if MDC had implemented the reforms.

    Getting the GPA reforms implemented post the GNU is also achievable because Mugabe is un-der pressure from the worsening economic situation and from pressure from the infighting within his own party.But of course he will never accept implementing any reforms if we the people have already accepted that the Zanu PF dictatorship is here to stay.

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  2. When the nation committed itself to the war of independence we also committed ourselves one and all to make independence work for ourselves and posterity. That commitment included de-fending our basic freedoms and human rights if they should be threatened or denying. On 18 April 1980, whether we were ready or not for independence and to carry on the burden of making it work was ours.

    To have asked on 18 April 1980 or any another time thereafter "what if Mugabe deny us our freedoms and rights?" was to ask the wrong question because it was too late. Before independ-ence the answer would have been; if we are not ready to demand our freedoms and rights then we should not seek independence until we are ready. After 18 April 1980 there can only be one answer; fight for your freedoms and basic rights, with your very lives if need be!

    The reason why tyrants like Mugabe have found it easy to deny the people their freedoms, hu-man rights, hopes, dreams and the future is because the very people who should have been leading the charge to fight for these freedoms and rights have been the ones willing to allow Mugabe deny the people the freedoms as long as the tyrant gave them a share of th spoils of political power and the looted national treasures.

    If we, the people, are serious about getting the reforms implemented and have free, fair and credible elections; we only have to fight Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs to accept reforms but will have to fight Tsvangirai, Musewe and all the other opposition politicians who are disparate that we accept the Zanu PF dictatorship as fixture of Zimbabwe political landscape because they see the opportunity of establishing their own dictatorship now that Zanu PF is set to implode.

    Nothing would please Musewe more that for Zimbabweans to just give up on demanding free and fair elections right now that would make life much easier for his own Tsvangirai/Mujuru led coalition government. It is good that someone should for once stand up for the common man, woman and child’s freedoms and rights without selling-out!

    So if Mugabe does not implement the reforms necessary for free and fair elections by 2018 the fight to have the reforms implemented will go on until they are implemented! The struggle continues until final victory! Lluta continuou até a vitória final!

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  3. @ Mudhara

    President Mugabe is smart enough to ensure the opposition wins a few seats in parliament and those opposition members are well looked after and given all the comforts of the gravy train. Come elections time he will have plenty of opposition candidates to give the elections an outside appearance this is a democratic contest.

    There are some opposition candidates who know that they will never win a free and fair elec-tion and so it makes sense for them to settle for the scraps the dictatorship throws at them.

    Even if we were to talk all genuine opposition not to contest, Zanu PF can fund an opposition party the same way it has Zanu PF sponsored Trade Unions, Government Organized NGOs (GONGO), etc.

    Fighting to restore the rights and dignity of all Zimbabwe is not going to be a walk in the park and it pays to know that obvious enemy is not always the only enemy; the hidden enemy amongst one's own ranks is sometimes the greatest enemy of all!

    The Zanu PF dictatorship is falling apart and we should seize the opportunity to demand real democratic change but first we have to deal with those who want to lure us into believing the system is fine except for the Al Capone type gangster operation, there is no institutionalized thuggery. Others accept the institutionalized thuggery and want us to just give up our free-doms and rights as a lost cause.


    If Zimbabweans had accepted this defeatist logic, Zimbabwe will still be under white colonial oppression! There are millions of Zimbabweans who have suffered and thousands have died because they believed that we are as human as anyone else and thus worthy of the freedoms, human rights and dignity others the world over take for granted but so blatantly denied us. To give up on our freedoms and rights would be to betray all those who have sacrificed so much for us to get here!

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  4. @ Mukanya

    Do not be pathetic; what would Wilbert catch fishing in the MDC pond? Those wildebeest herd who will follow blindly a village idiot like Tsvangirai to the end of the world! Only another village idiot would want that mindless lot in his/her party!

    What Tsvangirai is worried about is the number of former MDC followers who were ignorant but were certain not stupid, they minds have started working and have begun to see Tsvangirai for the corrupt and incompetent village idiot he is. These are the ones leaving MDC in droves and there is absolutely nothing Tsvangirai can do to stop them leaving!

    You have been blaming Wilbert for exposing to the nation Tsvangirai and his MDC friends for the corrupt and incompetent village idiots they are. So you want the nation to continue to suffer the consequences of having these sell-outs as national leaders? How naïve, selfish and breathtakingly stupid of you!

    What you and Tsvangirai must learn is that politicians and political parties are there to serve the people and when they seize to do so, as is the case here with Mugabe and Zanu PF on the one hand Tsvangirai and MDC on the other, they must be thrown out on the heap of history. Forget the nonsense ideology pedalled by foul mouthed tyrants and sell-outs that the people are there to serve politicians and their political parties!

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  5. After 36 years of misery and criminal waste of resources from all this mismanagement and corruption one would think everyone would have realized by now that the one-party dictatorship does not work and therefore will be pushing to end it. It is unbelievable that some people, especially respectable leaders like Mr Musewe, would be campaigning for more of the dictatorship!

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  6. Someone said that Vince Musewe see the Tsvangirai and Mujuru coalition as his ticket to get on the gravy train and his mind is so focus on that he now blind to reality and even reason; now I can see this is true.

    Musewe wants us to give up our demand for freedom, human rights including the right to a free vote and the right to life itself; for what? So that Vince can have his coalition and his chance to get on the gravy train.

    For 36 years we have allowed President Mugabe to have his way and year after year he has comeback and demanded even more. He is pocketing $2 billion from the looting in Marange at a time when most cities and towns have no clean running water and millions are sick and hungry. Musewe wants us to let him to have it all and no doubt demand even more. Of all the stupid ideas I have heard that really is dumb!

    Musewe is not in power and yet already he is scheming ways of selling out! He must be stopped by all democratic means possible!

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