One of the things that has held us back as a people is our failure to grasp a problem, even one that should be obvious. After wasting a lot of time and money, the penny finally drops, we finally understand the problem. We have to go through the whole laborious process to get to the solution. It has taken Zimbabweans at least 15 years to come to the conclusion that Zanu PF was a corrupt and incompetent regime and it too another five years for us to accept we would never remove the regime from power because it rigged elections.
People agreed on the need for democratic change. Tsvangirai and company seized on the popular sentiment and formed a political party which they gave the name Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Sadly, no one, not even the MDC leaders themselves had a clear idea what the democratic changes were.
It was SADC leaders in the 2008 Global Political Agreement who came up with the raft of democratic reforms which the GNU were tasked to implement. The reforms were to take away Zanu PF’s excessive dictatorial powers to ensure the next elections were free, fair and credible. And not a repeat of the 2008 elections which Zanu PF had blatantly cheated and use wanton violence to win.
At the end of the GNU, it was clear that not even one democratic reforms had been implemented. SADC leaders had tried their best to get Morgan Tsvangirai to implement the reforms throughout the GNU but their nagging was ignored. Mugabe has bribed the MDC leaders with the trappings of high office, ministerial limos, generous salaries and allowances, a $4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc. In return, the MDC leaders had kicked the reforms into the prickly pear thicket; they knew Mugabe did not want his dictatorial powers taken away.
SADC leaders did not want the 2013 Zimbabwe elections to go ahead, not until the reforms were implemented as Dr Ibbo Mandaza explained.
“Of course, they (elections) can be postponed. 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 Mandaza told Violet Gonda in a 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 all know the MDC leaders ignore SADC leaders’ advice and contested the 2013 elections. Zanu PF, just as SADC leaders had foretold, blatantly rigged the elections.
Of course, Zimbabwean would be foolish to disregard SADC leaders’ advice again and participate in this year’s elections when not even one democratic reform was implemented since the July 2013 elections. It is insane to repeat the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
“The 2018 election is winnable on issues and strategy, but the opposition must make no assumptions about a clear and easy victory. Historically, all great moments of great oppositional momentum have been thwarted by either violence, out and out rigging, or poor judgment on the part of the opposition,” wrote Brian Kagoro.
A month ago, President Mnangagwa started dishing out brand new Isuzu twin cab trucks to all the country’s 282 Chiefs, a down payment the Chiefs will repay by frog march rural voters, 60% to 70% of the voters, to vote for Zanu PF.
The rural voters frog march to harassment, beatings, rape and even murders and not to some nebulous issues and strategies from some opportunist opposition who will do nothing to stop the harassment, etc.
SADC leaders did not tell Tsvangirai and his friends the 2013 elections were “winnable”. They know it is futile to contest flawed elections. “If you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done,” they said.
Zimbabweans have known that the Zanu PF dictatorship was a curse to the nation, yet they have done nothing to remove the regime because they lacked the courage to look the thugs straight in the eyes and demand democratic change. For the last 38 years the regime has dragged the nation deeper and deeper into this hell-hole. We are not getting of this hell until we implement the reform; there is no down-hill route out of hell.
“The 2018 election is winnable!” What nonsense! As long as Zanu PF has carte blanche powers to blatantly cheat and use wanton violence, the party will never ever lose the elections.