Former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell, characterised the late MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in a leaked cable to Washington as “a flawed and indecisive character.” Time has proven the ambassador was spot-on and, worse still, that this is a common weakness in the MDC party.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC leaders had many, many, golden opportunities to implement the democratic changes which would have dismantled the Zanu PF dictatorship and end the insidious culture of political violence and vote rigging that has allowed Zanu PF to stay in power all these years. The best of these chances to get the reforms implemented came during the 2008 to 2013 GNU, SADC leaders, who were the guarantor of the agreement, did they best to get MDC leaders to focus on reforms but were ignored.
MDC failed to get even one reform implemented in five years! The Western donors who had funded the party and the SADC leaders deserted MDC leaders in droves in despair at what ambassador Dell would have called a shocking display of collective flawed and indecisiveness by MDC leaders.
What is really heart breaking is that these MDC leaders have not learned nothing from all decades of blundering from pillar to post and down-right selling out. Hindsight is an excellent teacher but not when experience washes off like water off a duck’s back.
Talk of being indecisive! No one in MDC has yet given a categorical YES or NO to the simple question: Has Zanu PF rigged past elections? And, will the party rig this year’s elections? Here is one, just one, example.
“It is the most important election of our lifetime because it has to answer the question of legitimacy,” Biti said in an interview in Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office on Wednesday as Zimbabwe celebrated its national Independence Day,” reported Spotlight Zimbabwe.
“The quality of this election, the substantive content and outcome of the election are going to be key.”
Zanu PF was forced to go into the 2008 to 2013 GNU because no one, not even SADC and the AU, known for giving the party’s dodgy elections a thumbs-up in the past, would do so following the blatant cheating and wanton violence by Zanu PF in 2008. Zanu PF lost legitimacy following the 2008 elections because it had rigged the elections.
So, one can infer from Biti’s statement that his answer to the first question above is a definitive, yes Zanu PF has rigged past elections.
The primary purpose of the GNU was to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging future elections. Not even one reform was implemented in five years which was why SADC leaders wanted the 2013 elections postponed and said so to both Zanu PF and MDC leaders during the regional body’s summit in June 2013.
“If you go into next month’s elections, you will lose; the elections are done,” SADC leaders had warned Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and the other MDC leaders.
MDC did not listen and participated in the 2013 elections with no reforms and Zanu PF rigged the vote, as SADC leaders had forewarned. Not even one reform has been implemented since the rigged July 2013 elections and therefore it is logical to surmise this year’s elections will similarly be rigged.
“(Tendai) Biti said the opposition’s prospects for the elections are good, partly because 60 percent of the 5.3 million registered voters are between 18 and 40 and have little memory of the liberation war that shaped the ruling party’s generation. Chamisa’s youth will help, he said,” continued the report.
“Demographics are going to play a key role in this election,” he said.
So, the answer to the second question is, vote rigging is no longer a deciding factor because MDC will win these elections regardless.
Whilst one would accept that one age group may be more susceptible to such things as intimidation, for example; still there are many other problems such as lack of a free media which affects all. To therefore suggest that we do not need to worry about vote rigging any more just because the demographics of the voters have change is naïve, to say the least.
“Still, the influence of the military on Zimbabwe’s leadership bodes ill for genuine democratic reform, Biti said. “We may have removed a dictator but we did not remove the dictatorship,” he said in the next breath.
In another interview a few weeks ago Tendai Biti was crystal clear on this point.
“I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a violent election,” Biti said in February. The military did not seize power in the coup only for them to hand it over a few months later, he argued. He called on the UN “to protect the civilians!”
So, in the course of just one half an hour interview Tendai Biti has swung from yes the elections will be rigged; to no, the rigging will not affect the outcome even if it happened and then back to elections will be rigged!
It has been Zimbabwe’s great misfortune to have an incompetent, corrupt and ruthlessly oppressive ruling party that has dragged the nation into this hell-on-earth hole. The nation has had many golden opportunities to get out of the hole but wasted them because we have an incompetent and corrupt opposition.
Without first implementing the reforms, Zanu PF will rig this year’s elections just as readily as the party has rigged past elections. It is insane to keep contesting flawed elections, so flawed that even polling 73% of the vote was not enough to “win”, as the March 2008 vote showed, hoping for a different result.
There is nothing the nation can do to stop these flawed elections going ahead, both Zanu PF and the opposition want the elections to go ahead for their own selfish reasons. What the people can do now is making it clear it is impossible to hold free, fair and credible elections without reforms and therefore per se condemn these elections. The elections must be declared null and void, regardless of the outcome.
Zimbabweans have waited all their lives for the country to hold its first free, fair and credible elections, if President Mnangagwa cannot deliver such elections, just as Mugabe and Ian Smith before him have all failed to do, then we must find someone else who will! The only elections that will count from now on are free, fair and credible elections – nothing else will do.