Thursday, 2 February 2017

MDC-T flip-flops on who can be in the coalition - without reforms, Zanu PF will rig elections. By N Garikai

“THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has softened its stance on the minimum conditions that were to be met by other opposition in order to consummate a coalition to confront President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party at the polls in 2018,” we hear.

“Under pressure from its members to coalesce with other opposition movements ahead of make-or-break elections next year, Zimbabwe's largest opposition party this week said it will no longer discriminate against any political party in discussions to form a coalition as had been suggested last year.”

Dithering and blundering from pillar to post is what the nation has come to expect from MDC-T. The tragedy here is the party is wasting time on the trivial matter of forming a coalition and neglecting the big issue of making sure the 2018 elections are free, fair and credible.

We all saw the hooded Zanu PF supporters on YouTube who were bussed from one polling station to the next to cast multiple votes. Nearly one million, mainly opposition supporters, were denied the vote because their details were deliberately posted in constituency voters roll and not the one they expected. These are just two example of the blatant vote rigging witnessed in the July 2013 elections.
After the rigged July 2013 elections MDC-T together with the other MDC factions vowed they will not take part in any future elections until meaningful reforms are implemented. They are now talking of forming coalitions and contesting the next elections yet not even one reform has been implemented.

Implementing reforms are about restoring the people’s right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country; this is the basis of the people’s power to hold those in government to democratic account. Since independence, Zanu PF has systematically undermined the country’s democratic institutions to establish the de facto Zanu PF one-party dictatorship and usurped the people’s power to hold the regime to account. So implementing the reforms is about wrestling the people’s democratic power from Zanu PF back to the people.

Zimbabwe is facing a serious economic meltdown as a result of 37 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption under this Zanu PF autocratic and dictatorial rule. Millions of our people are out of work and now live in abject poverty denied of all human dignity and hope. Implementing the reforms and holding free and fair elections will give the people the power to remove Zanu PF and elect a new and competent government that will address the country’s economic challenges and revive the economy.

The case to demand the implementing the democratic reforms is therefore self-evident and leaves no room for denial or compromise. MDC have not only compromised on implementing reforms, they have sold-out.

MDC had the golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU but failed to get even one reform implemented in five years. President Mugabe bribed the MDC leaders with the trappings of power and a $4 million Highland mansion for Tsvangirai and they, in return, kicked reforms into the tall grass. SADC leaders’ advice, first, to implement the reforms and then not to take part in the July 2013 elections with no reforms; fell on deaf ears.

Tsvangirai & Co. sold-out by, first of all, failing to get even one reform implemented and, then later, by participating in flawed elections. They did not care that by participating they gave the process the veneer of democratic legitimacy and, worse still, are getting Zanu PF off the hook to implement reforms.

Zanu PF have set their stall for the 2018 and future elections – they will never implement any reform because they will be “reforming themselves out of office”, which is self-evident.

MDC-T and the rest in the opposition camp, except for a tiny few, are going to contest all national elections for the few seats Zanu PF gives away regardless of how flawed the process happen to be.
It is now for the people of Zimbabwe to declare their position on the 2018 and future elections – the people must demand the full implementation of all democratic reforms to ensure all elections are free, fair and credible. We, the people, must condemn unreservedly all those continue to deny the people their fundamental right to free and fair elections by organizing and/or participating in flawed elections!

The people of Zimbabwe must not be fooled by all this talk of forming opposition coalitions; Zanu PF will rig and win the next elections regardless of what happens in the opposition camp as long as no reforms are implemented. Indeed, the coalition talk is just an elaborate hoax by the opposition to justify why they are participating in elections knowing they are flawed and, in the case of the MDC factions, in totally disregard of their party resolutions not to do so until reforms are implemented. 

So it is not just Zanu PF who are resisting reforms and denying us our right to free elections, MDC-T are doing the same in their own blundering and dithering way by wasting time on building coalitions and ignoring implementing the reforms. 

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