“By Denying Diaspora Vote, Zanu Pf Has Already Rigged The 2023 Elections”
6 August 2021

By Wilbert Mukori- The right to free, fair and credible elections, the right to a meaningful say in the governance of one’s country is the mother of all rights because it is the guarantor of good governance and of all the other rights.

It is therefore shameful that 41 years after our independence and the benefit of 21st century human civilization we still fail to deliver free, fair and credible elections. 

We started on the first footing by demanding “One man, one vote!” It is most disheartening how easily the nation has been blown off course!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, epitomised the white colonial oppression and exploitation of the black more than the denial of all blacks of a meaningful say in the governance of the country. The whites were the foreigners in someone else’s land, and they had the chic of denying the indigenous blacks a meaningful say in their own land. It is little wonder therefore that rancorous “One man, one vote!” struck a raw nerve and was answered with great passion by the blacks.

Sadly, the country’s black nationalist leaders, the late Robert Mugabe and now also late Dr Joshua Nkomo and their respective political parties, Zanu PF and PF Zapu, wanted to take over from the whites and become the country’s new supreme rulers. They wanted Zimbabwe to be a one-party state knowing fully well the move would deny the ordinary Zimbabweans their long cherished “One man, one vote!”

All attempts to unite Zanu PF and PF Zapu, the two main parties that waged the war of independence, have come to naught because the two could not agree on how the spoils of power would be shared out.

At the Lancaster House talks, the negotiations to usher independence, both Mugabe and Nkomo signed on to the multi-party democratic constitution. Mugabe was not bothered the country’s first election would not be not free, fair and credible.

Robert Mugabe and company’s 1980 election campaign message was simple enough: “If Zanu PF loses the election, the bush war will continue!”

Of course, the people voted to end the bush war; it is unwise to argue looking up the business end of an AK47 rifle. Once in power Mugabe started to systematically corrupt and state institutions such as the Judiciary, Police, Public Media, turning them into Zanu PF departments in all but name whose primary purpose was to keep Zanu PF in power at all costs.

The 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre gave Mugabe the excuse to crash his main political rivals Joshua Nkomo and his PF Zapu forcing them to sign the December 1987 Unity Accord and clearing the way for imposition of a de facto Zanu PF, one-party dictatorship.

To consolidate their iron grip on power, Zanu PF leaders have ridded roughshod over the people, denying them the basic freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and even the right to life! The country’s once robust economy took a nosedive because of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption under Zanu PF misrule. The nation was helpless to stop the rot because Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers included carte blanche powers to rig the elections.

It took Zimbabwe a decade and a half for a national consensus to finally emerged; for the country to end the economic decline and restore the individual freedoms and rights, the nation will need democratic changes designed to end Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers.

Morgan Tsvangirai and friends launched their Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999 as the party that will deliver the democratic changes the nation was dying for. In the last 21 years the people of Zimbabwe have once again risked, personal comfort, property, limb and life to elect MDC leaders into political office just as the blacks had risked all in pursuit of “One man, one vote!” Little did they know that Tsvangirai and company would betray them as readily as Mugabe and company had done!

Tsvangirai and company’s golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms, dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and deliver all the individual freedoms and individual rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections was during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. Mugabe: who naturally, did not want his super-duper dictatorial powers taken away; bribed the MDC leaders with the trapping of high office, and with their snouts in the feeding trough they forgot about implementing the reforms.

There is much, much more to why MDC leaders failed to implement even one democratic reform in five years of the GNU. Yes, Mugabe could bribe some of the MDC leaders but surely not all of them, there were over 110 MDC MPs alone in the GNU, and to silence them all for five years!

It turns out that Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had never believed in the right to free, fair and credible election as the fountain of good governance, just as Mugabe and company had paid lip-service to “One man, one vote!” Tsvangirai and company had no regrets failing to implement even one reform during the GNU because they were super confident MDC would win the elections even if Zanu PF retained its carte blanche powers to rig the elections.

SADC leaders, who had been instrumental in getting Mugabe to agree to the formation of the GNU and the need for implementing the raft of democratic reforms, tried to have the 2013 elections postponed until reforms were implemented. “If you go into the elections next month,” they told Tsvangirai and company, “you will lose; the elections are done!”

As we know, MDC leaders ignored the regional leaders’ warning and participated in the flawed and illegal elections, so flawed Zanu PF’s victory was obvious long before the ballots were cast and hence the reason SADC leaders had said “elections are done”. By participating in the flawed and illegal elections MDC and their supporters had given credibility to the process and legitimacy to the results.

Buyer beware or “Caveat emptor!” is a universally accepted principle and it is just as relevant in buying goods and services as in electing leaders into public office!

Ever since the 2008 to 2013 GNU, Zanu PF leaders have learned that they can continue to blatant rig the elections and never have to worry about political legitimacy as long as the party allowed the opposition to win a few gravy-train seats.

The initial reaction of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to the blatant vote rigging by Zanu PF in the 2013 elections was to pass a 2014 party resolution not to participate in no future elections until all the reforms to guarantee free, fair and credible elections are implemented. “No reform, no elections!” MDC announced.

Mugabe and company completely ignored MDC’s demands for reforms, he knew MDC leaders will participate in the 2018 elections with no reforms in place; greed for the few gravy-train seats will trump party resolution and logic.

It is laughable some of the foolish ideas MDC leaders have come up with to justify why they are participating in elections process that are so flawed the elections “are done” long before the first ballots are cast. Morgan Tsvangirai’s big idea guaranteed to win rigged elections was to unite the opposition.

“Make no mistake about it; you the people under the banner of the MDC Alliance will resoundingly win the next election. We appeal to the region and to the world to stand by the people of this country as they navigate these dicey moments under a brutal regime,” announced Morgan Tsvangirai when he launched the MDC A on 5 August 2016.

“Congratulations Zimbabwe for endorsing this huge alliance as it marches to a resounding victory. We heard you and we have heeded your call.”

Nelson Chamisa, Morgan Tsvangirai’s successor as leader of MDC A embraced the opposition party coalition as the panacea to the nation’s need for meaningful economic and political change. He too heeded to the calls for opposition unity whilst ignoring the rational voices demanding the implementation of the democratic reforms BEFORE elections.

Once again, Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the 2018 elections; it was Zanu PF, not MDC A, that had “a resounding victory”! And, thanks to MDC A’s participation, Zanu PF had the political legitimacy.

Two weeks ago, Nelson Chamisa announced on twitter that MDC A had “a SOLID PLAN that will bring real change in Zimbabwe”! (the emphasis on solid plan, is his not mine)

He said he was not going to reveal any details of his solid plan for obvious reasons – Zanu PF will steal them! Still there are a few things one can be certain of; first and foremost, since not even one token reform has been implemented since the last elections, the solid plan will be yet another attempt to win rigged elections.

In June Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu PF’s Acting National Political Commissar, announce that Zanu PF will not acquiesce to granting 3 to 5 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote, Mnangagwa himself had conceded to this demand in September 2018. A candidate can be declared the winner if he/she polled one vote more than the other(s) underlining the importance of every vote. What more 3 million votes, especially when Mnangagwa was declared the winner in 2018 with a total of 2.4 million votes!

By denying 3 million plus Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote, Zanu PF is rigging the 2023 elections in advance, the elections are done! There is absolutely nothing Chamisa’s SOLID PLAN can do stop the rigging, with two years to the election it is too late to have Zimbabweans in diaspora on the voters’ roll.

And by participating in the 2023 elections regardless of reality the election is already done, MDC A and their supporters will once again give credibility to the flawed and illegal process and legitimacy to the result!

We have now all but abandoned “One man, one vote!”, free and fair elections, in favour “solid plans” to win rigged, done and dusted, elections! The sheer stupidity of it all is nauseating!

It is obvious why SADC leaders have all but washed their hands clean of Zimbabwe’s mess and the international community has all but abandoned Zimbabwe to stew in its own endless disasters. Zimbabweans have shown that there are not serious about ending the country’s curse of rigged elections and bad governance and why should outsiders mourn louder than bereaved!

It is heart breaking that Zimbabwe is sinking deeper and deeper into economic poverty and political chaos because, as a nation, we have failed to grasp the concept of “One man, one vote!” and apply it for our own benefit, our children and posterity. Well, until we learn; we will remain in our own man-made hell-on-earth for there is no escape.