“President Mnangagwa denies previous elections were unfair, especially in 2008, when NGOs reckoned that at least 270 activists of the MDC were killed,” reported the UK Economist.
“Where is the evidence for violence? Not a single case was taken to the police. There was no evidence,” he insisted.
That is a nonsensical argument, after the 2008 election not even the many Zanu PF minions and apologist would deny Zanu PF rigged the elections. Whilst they had accused the West of falsely accusing the regime of rigging elections because they had an axe to grind they could not say the say of SADC and the AU. The two African bodies had too condemned the elections as not being free and fair.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police had not only turned a blind eye to Zanu PF inspired political violence, which was the norm, but that year they had gone beyond the pale. The Police, together with the Army and CIO, had orchestrated and even carried out some of the politically motived violence.
Although hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans were beaten and/or raped and 270 murdered only a few people were ever arrested, charged and convicted of committing these heinous crimes. When those committing the crime are also responsible for enforcing the law; the criminal activities are swept under the carpet and the evidence, even if someone took the initiative to collect it, is suppressed or lost. Before independence, Ian Smith was doing this all the time; of all people Mnangagwa knows this only too well.
If President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF thugs are denying they ever rigged elections, even the well documented cases like the 2008, what reason is there that they will not blatantly rig this year’s elections and flatly insist the elections were free and fair? This is exactly the reason why we must insist on agreed benchmarks Zanu PF must deliver on long before we look at what happens on the voting day itself. Fortunately, these benchmarks are already there.
After blatant cheating and wanton violence that marred the 2008 elections, SADC leaders forced Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to sign an agreement stipulating a raft of democratic reforms that were to be carried to stop the vote rigging. The agreement also called for the formation of the GNU which was then tasked to implement the reforms.
Sadly, not even one democratic reform was implemented throughout the five years of the GNU. It is another day’s tale as to why no reforms implemented; it will suffice for now to that Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends sold out on reforms.
SADC leaders appreciated the importance of implementing the reforms BEFORE holding elections and so, they called for the 2013 elections must 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,” Dr Ibbo Mandaza explained.
“I went there. 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.
“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’.”
Sadly, MDC leaders did not listen, incompetence and greed got the better of them; they took part in the flawed and illegal elections. Zanu PF went on to rig the elections as SADC leaders had foretold. How Zanu PF rigged the 2013 elections is also another tale for another day, it will suffice for now to say with no democratic reforms the sky is the limit to the vote rigging options open to the regime.
What must be made emphatically here is not for the election observers, foreign or local, to supervise the Police, make sure they record and investigate cases of cheating and violence. Or to supervise ZEC, make sure the country has verified voters’ roll; etc. They task is to observe the election process, period.
President Mnangagwa and his government’s responsibility make sure the coming elections are free, fair and credible. As the State President, the bucks stops with him to ensure State Institutions like the Police and ZEC are adequately resourced and empowered to delivery free, fair and credible elections.
If there should ever be any cause to doubt the nation’s ability to hold free and fair elections it is the duty of the relevant State Institution, be it the Police, ZEC or both, in the first instance, to thoroughly investigate the cause, put it right and punish those found guilty of causing the incident. They must also produce detailed report(s) giving recommendation to ensure a similar thing will never happen again. Government has the legal obligation to ensure the relevant authorities have carried out the statutory duties and confidence in the country’s ability to hold free, fair and credible elections is fully restored.
It is not for President Mnangagwa to ask us, the public; “Where is the evidence of Zanu PF rigging elections in the past?” In 2008 SADC and AU did not force Zanu PF to sign the agreement to implement the raft of democratic reforms on a whim, they had witness the blatant cheat and wanton violence that took place that year.
Of course, there is evidence that Zanu PF rigged the 2008 elections and many more beside. The line of questioning is the height of mischievous political arrogance; why ask the public for evidence you yourself has helped to bury for selfish reason of staying in power regardless of the public’s democratic wishes.
But even if SADC or anyone failed to produce even one shred of evidence of any election irregularities much less the barbaric violence; the raft of democratic reforms we are demanding must be implemented before the coming elections will be guarantee the elections are free, fair and credible. Even if you, Mr President do not want the guarantee, we want it and demand it!
You see, Mr President Mnangagwa, the bottom line is; it is not for you to ask us, why we want guarantees to our basic freedoms and fundamental rights such as the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country. We know you have been short changing us all these last 38 years.
You and the rest of your Junta friends are public servants; we the people are the public and you and your Junta friends are our servants. You lot are accountable to us the public. As long as you are able to rig elections, you short circuit our power to hold you lot to account, this is why we demand that all the democratic reforms are implemented without further ado BEFORE the elections.
Mr President, read my lips! It not for you to ask stupid questions but to answer: “Where is the evidence you have implementing all the democratic reforms to guarantee the people of Zimbabwe their first ever free, fair and credible elections?”
If the elections go ahead with no reforms in place, let me tell you here and now, the process will be declared null and void!