No electoral reforms no elections: new game, new rules.
By Fred Muchaiwa| After the peaceful electoral reforms demonstrations in Harare on Tuesday the 5th of June 2018 and a statement on Mnangagwa’s “no action” position by the American Senator Chris Coons, I bet Mnangagwa is wetting himself from fear. MDC T’s demonstration was a statement of intent and certainly it is a new game with new rules altogether. Also Mnangagwa’s effort to persuade investors to a new Zimbabwe is looking bleak as he is failing to implement fundamental factors to boost investor confidence and sanctions relief.
Mnangagwa had a wrong impression in the first place and he was fooling himself to believe that once he deposed Mugabe, his dirty past would vanish with Mugabe. He miscalculated his thoughts by believing that the credit he got from removing Mugabe will guarantee him a comfortable election win and an easy rise to presidency. By pledging to restore democracy and order, Mnangagwa thought that promise alone was enough to convince Zimbabweans and the world that he’s definitely a changed man. He assumed that Zimbabweans and the world are too blind to see that he dumped and disassociated himself from Mugabe but kept Mugabe’s style of governance which is centrally the capturing and militarising of state institutions.
So far in his six months in charge, Mnangagwa has proved that he has something in common with his former boss, Robert Mugabe which is failing to fulfil promises and vapid sloganeering. How on earth can Mnangagwa disassociate himself from Mugabe but keep Mugabe’s style of governance then expect us to believe his new dispensation claims? Zimbabweans are not fools anymore and will never be fooled again. Once bitten, twice shy.
Mnangagwa cannot rush to make us believe he is genuine after toppling his partner in crime Robert Mugabe who many Zimbabweans have labelled the great tormentor and robber of their future and hope. Mugabe was not alone when ruinous and disastrous decisions were made in government and Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s confidant and second-in-command.
The issue of electoral reforms is not a new demand in Zimbabwe’s elections, it dates back to previous years and those calls were vehemently resisted, ignored and the only response was violence.
Now Mnangagwa is trying to depict a new picture by openly inviting election observers from across the divide thinking it is more than enough to suggest and convince us and the world that he is committed to a democratic Zimbabwe forging a free, fair and credible election. Yes, allowing election observers is a good gesture, but it is the first of a dozen of demands on the list. If Mnangagwa has nothing to fear or hide, he should meet these demands and face Chamisa fair and square and that is the only smart and acceptable way to legitimise his government if he wins a free and fair election. Right now this administration lacks credibility to attract investment, tourism and even the return of skilled diasporans scattered across the world.
Mnangagwa is now cornered to the extent that he can no longer shout loud his “Zimbabwe is open for business mantra”. Enough was said now it’s delivery time which is long overdue. Zimbabwe is currently a military state with no record of legitimacy on the world stage. That image can only be improved by implementing an action plan designed to boost the economy within the shortest possible time. Mnangagwa visited countries recently as leader of the new dispensation to try and earn trust and legitimacy but it will never work with the help he got from the army and with the absence of the people’s approval.
Why is Mnangagwa not putting his house in order first, clean up the mess before inviting visitors for dinner? Priorities are always wrong in the ZANU PF way of doing things. Taking over the reigns of power violently after years of dictatorship, misrule and isolation by super powers then suddenly expect re-engagement within a wink is practically impossible. Mnangagwa has a mountain to climb. It’s either reforming himself out of power or stick to rigging machinations he learnt and mastered from the old dispensation because in a free and fair election he will never stand a chance against Chamisa.
If he stands by NIKUV, it means more misery and suffering for Zimbabweans as the elections will not be certified and declared not free and fair by observers. I have no doubt that Mnangagwa is contemplating GNU as the only option to stay in power. Not anymore, Chamisa has said no to getting into bed with ZANU PF. Like I said earlier in this article, this is a new game with new rules.