The stage is set for yet another MDC-T election boycott flip-flop. Since Mugabe blatantly rigged the July 2013 elections all the country’s main opposition parties including Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, PDP and MDC led by Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube respectively vowed not to take part in any future elections until democratic reforms are implemented to ensure the next elections are free, fair and credible. MDC-T has since flipped!
Last year MDC-T Secretary General, Douglas Mwonzora, told New Zimbabwe that the party had figured ways of forcing Zanu PF, “kicking and screaming”, to implement the reforms. The party was so sure of getting the reforms implemented it was calling off its threat to boycott the elections.
Mwonzora promised all the reforms will be implemented by the end of 2015 and we are getting to the tail end of 2016 and still not even one meaningful reform has been implemented. MDC-T is now admitting that no reforms are going to be implemented and the so the threat of the party boycotting the next election is back.
“As President Morgan Tsvangirai has lucidly pointed out to the media, it would be utter and complete folly for the MDC to blindly go into an election without reforms. We have learnt the bitter lesson that the Zanu PF regime will always rig any election that is conducted without electoral reforms. Once beaten, twice shy,” wrote MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu.
MDC has foolishly take part in elections “without reforms” on numerous occasions in the past and will do so again in the next elections. True the party will flip-flop, even go into oscillation, on this but in the end MDC-T will take part in the elections with or without any reforms implemented.
MDC has been elected on a ticket to deliver democratic change resulting in free and fair elections. The truth is MDC leaders have no clue that these democratic changes are and who is supposed to implement them.
“As Election 2018 fast approaches, it is critical for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to play a leading role in setting out a well –defined and precise roadmap to the next election,” wrote Gutu, for example.
He does not say what exactly Parliament is supposed to do but whatever it is; it is absurd to expect a Zanu PF controlled parliament to implement meaningful reforms designed to end the party’s iron grip on power.
It was for MDC during the GNU to implement the reforms; MDC had the majority in parliament then and, more significantly, Mugabe had his hands tied by the GPA which SADC, as the guarantor, would have insisted that he honoured. Since July 2013, when the GPA expired, the only way to get the reforms implemented is by entrusting an independent body to carry out the task; Zanu PF was to be pressured to accept the formation of this body.
MDC leaders failed to get even one reform implemented in five years of the GNU because they sold-out; Mugabe offered them the gravy train lifestyle plus the $4 million Highlands mansion for Tsvangirai and in return MDC kicked the reforms into the tall grass. MDC would not listen even to the repeated pleas by SADC Heads of State for them to take part in the elections without reforms.
MDC leaders have paid dearly for selling-out during the GNU; they have lost all political credibility, especially with SADC and the world at large. Having lost their parliamentary majority in the rigged elections and lost the sympathy of SADC, MDC lost all meaningful leverage with which to pressure Mugabe to implement any reforms. By pretending they would ever get Mugabe to implement any meaningful reforms MDC were playing into the tyrant’s hands, he will happily string the nation along forever on this.
In their usual eagerness, but inattentive to detail, to remove Mugabe from office the people have made the fatal mistake of assuming anyone can be trusted to remove the tyrant. Tsvangirai has had 16 years to implement the necessary democratic reforms required to stop the tyrant rigging the elections and has failed to get even one reform implemented. It is now for the people to wise up to the political reality that Tsvangirai will never ever implement any reforms, he has settled for the crumbs falling of Zanu PF’s table.
Zanu PF know that they will never have to implement any meaningful reforms as long as the they leave some seats, crumbs, for the opposition to fight over they will never boycott elections. So Zanu PF can rig elections to secure its landslide victory and allow opposition some seats to give the process the veneer of democratic competition and thus legitimacy.
It is for the people to realize that not everyone who promises change can deliver it and, after 16 years of repeated failures, Tsvangirai will never implement any meaningful reforms to stop Zanu PF rigging elections. If the people want free, fair and credible elections it is for them to understand what the democratic reforms required are and how they are to be implemented because it is only can they be 100% sure of electing someone up to the task!