Monday, 24 October 2016

Mliswa by-election victory is no proof Zanu PF vote rigging is broken - opposite By W Mukori

The victims of a conman will know, if at all, he was playing with a loaded dice when it is too late. What distinguishes the ordinary run-of-the-mill conman from the grandmaster conman that the victims known the dice is loaded dice and his mastery is in making them believe they will con the conman! Mugabe is a grandmaster conman; how else can one explain the over the top reaction to the independent candidate, Temba Mliswa’s victory in Norton by-election.

All the characteristic features that have made it impossible to hold free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe in the past are still there and many came out for all to see during the by-election. There were the usual reports of the Police teaming up with Zanu PF Youths to disrupt opposition candidates’ rallies and Zanu PF using State resources such as land to build houses to buy votes.

Although Zanu PF’s continued complete monopoly over the public media and the only radio and TV stations was not as critical in the by-election still remains a key factor in national elections.

The nature of Zimbabwe’s diamond industry, especially in Marange and Chiadzwa, has allowed this bounty to be exploited and the proceeds shared by a few. It is little wonder corruption has been rampant; Mugabe has admitted that $15 billion dollars of diamond revenue was “swindled” in six years – there is evidence to show that the amount is but the ears of the hippo the true sum remains buried under the muddy water. As long as Zanu PF continues to tap into the billions of dollars of looted wealth from Marange the sky is the limit to extravagancy and complexity of its vote rigging schemes!

The complexity and ruthlessness of the Mugabe vote rigging machinery was graphically illustrated in 2008. The regime took five weeks to declare the initial March election result in which Tsvangirai’s 73% lead, by Mugabe’s own inadvertent admission, was whittled down to 47%. The presidential run-off that followed was marred by some of the worst politically motivated violence in modern history.

Mugabe claimed the July 2008 run-off was free and fair but not even the AU or SADC, known for endorsing dodgy elections, would agree with him. Mugabe was forced to agree to a raft of democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF vote rigging machinery so that the country’s future elections will be free, fair and credible.

Sadly, not even one democratic reform was implemented in the five years of the GNU. Mugabe, the conman grandmaster that he is, conned Tsvangirai and his MDC friends into believing MDC would win the next elections “regardless of all the Zanu PF shenanigans”, as Tsvangirai admitted after the July 2013 rigged elections

"We are not sleeping and relaxing for we know exactly what we are demanding from ZEC,” said Joelson Mugari, NERA Organizing Secretary. “Nothing has, so far, shown that Mliswa's victory was a result of free, fair and credible elections.

"We actually witnessed a lot of irregularities which will be available to the public after we finish compiling our Norton by-election report."

Mr. Mugari’s words are reassuring in one regard – that there is nothing in Mliswa’s Norton by-election victory to make us believe that the next elections are going to be free, fair and credible. What the victory has done however is renew the same foolishness that Tsvangirai implementing the reforms during the GNU. The victory has made Temba Mliswa himself so big headed he really believes he is unstoppable!

"President Mugabe sent his small bulls in Mnangagwa, President Mphoko and Kasukuwere and I defeated them,” said Mliswa in his victory speech.

"Now I'm going for the biggest bull in their kraal, President Mugabe, because there must be one bull in Zimbabwe."

Just over a year ago our “bull” Mliswa was defeated by a Zanu PF candidate in a Hurungwe by-election. The by-election had come about because Mliswa, who was the Zanu PF MP for the constituency, was booted out of the party. Mliswa failed to win back the seat and complained the party rigged the vote.

Whilst Temba Mliswa would not deny that Zanu PF tried to rig the Norton by-elections what he is saying is he won regardless and, worse still, that he will win future elections regardless of all the Zanu PF election shenanigans! This is the complacent mentality Mugabe lured Tsvangirai and his MDC friends into during the GNU with the disastrous consequences of taking part n the July 2013 elections with no reform implemented. Zimbabwe cannot afford to go into the 2018 elections with no reform implemented.

Zimbabwe is facing serious economic and political crisis which is now so bad that millions are now living in abject poverty and many are dying unnecessarily. The only peaceful way out is for the nation to implement the democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections. We must not be fooled into believing Zanu PF will not successfully rig the next national elections just because the regime failed to successfully rig the Norton by-elections.

Winning the 2018 national elections is the big price. Mugabe knows that he will never win those elections if they are free, fair and credible but he also knows how to con people into believing they will win the next elections even if they are not free and fair. If we allow ourselves to be conned into once again forfeiting our right to free and fair as happened during the GNU then we will have no leg to stand on crying the elections were rigged – we knew they would be rigged. 


  1. Zimbabweans have wanted Zanu PF gone for a years but failed to get their wish because the party rigged elections. As long as Zanu PF is allowed to rig elections then the party will win elections. Losing the Norton by-election was very strategic for Zanu PF if this is going to encourage the nation to go into the next national elections with no reform in place!

  2. I beg to differ with you Jean that by taking the fight to Mugabe, Linda is not being a good mother. To follow your argument to its logical conclusion none of us, male or female should ever take the fight to Mugabe because by doing so we will be neglecting our other duty as a father, husband, son, mother, wife, daughter, etc.

    I hope Linda and all the other activists have taken on board your point that there is need for them to step up their game and do we all because we have been naive and gullible in our understanding of politics. We have corrupt and tyrannical government complete with an equally corrupt and incompetent opposition - we elected them!

  3. President Mugabe would have wanted to win the Norton by-election and deny Mliswa anything to gloat about even if the victory was to last for one hour. But Mugabe is shrewd enough to also know that allowing Mliswa to enjoy this by-election victory would help him win the all important big price - 2018 national elections.

    President Mugabe had to endure the humiliation of the GNU and having to treat Tsvangirai and his MDC friends as equals when it was their doing that he had suffered the humiliating electoral defeat in March 2008. The egotistic "I am the biggest bull!" taunting by Mliswa, a brainless upstart, is nothing compared to the five long years of GNU humiliation.

    The possibility of Zanu PF being put under increasingly pressure from the worsening economic situation, the opposition losing their nerve and withdrawing from the contesting next election until meaningful reforms are implemented, the NTA gaining more national and international support, etc., etc. is something President Mugabe could not ignore. He has managed to avoid any talk of implementing democratic reforms during the GNU and got away with it.

    So far he has managed to stir the well clear of reforms for three years since the rigged July 2013 elections. But given Zimbabwe's increasing restlessness the next two years could draw out and be the longest of his whole life - he may be forced to implement the dreaded democratic reforms.

    By allowing Mliswa to win the Norton by-election he may well have thrown the opposition the borne they needed to stiffen up their hopes that the can win the 2018 elections without having to worry about implementing reforms. It is very likely that Mliswa, the young bull, will be granted a lot of political space in the coming two years to stamp his authority and bolster his self confidence that he is indeed the all conquering hero. Mliswa is now so full of himself and his political power nothing would please him no that allow Mugabe to use all his dirty tricks and still defeat the tyrant.

    Like Tsvangirai during the GNU years, Mliswa now believes it is not necessary to implement and democratic reforms because the Norton by-election victory has proven he can defeat Mugabe with no reforms and he is determined to do that again. The people of Zimbabwe were naive to have believed Tsvangirai in 2013 and we have paid dearly for it; the question is are we smart enough not to be taken in by Mliswa's misplace foolishness too?