By Patrick Guramatunhu- The refusal by Zimbabwe’s MDC A leaders and their fanatical supporters to accept that Zimbabwe and Zambia share a common boarder but political share nothing else; the direction the two nations are travelling are totally different, one is going in the right direction whilst the other is going in the wrong direction.
The Zambia of Kenneth Kaunda (KK) was a dysfunction autocracy in which many of the nation’s key institutions such as Election Commission, Army, Police, Judiciary, etc. were manned by KK loyalists who believed their loyalty to keeping KK in power was more important than their loyalty to public good.
After 27 years of corruption and mismanagement from 1664 to 1991, the people of Zambia were fed up and voted in droves for change. The man who replaced KK, Frederick Chiluba, was a mediocre leader, to say the least, as his ten years in power would testify.
Zimbabwe was a dysfunction de facto one-party, Zanu PF, dictatorship from 1980 to 2008. Robert Mugabe, just like KK, had corrupted state institutions turning them into Zanu PF department in all but name, there to serve one common interest of keeping Zanu PF in power above all else.
In 2008 elections, the people of Zimbabwe voted in droves for the opposition. Whilst KK accept electoral defeat in 1991 Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies did not accept defeat. Zanu PF ordered ZEC to stop announcing the results. When the presidential result was finally announced six weeks later, Morgan Tsvangirai’s 73% votes, by Mugabe’s own Freudian slip, had been whittled down to 47%, enough to force a presidential run-off.
Zanu PF’s primary focus during the run-off was to punish the people of Zimbabwe for having dared to reject Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe during the earlier vote. Mugabe used the liberation war veterans, who too had been brainwashed into believing they were a Zanu PF department whose primary purpose is to keep the party in power at all costs, and the party’s green bomber youth militia, also brainwashed and brain-dead, to destroy property, harass, beat and rape. The heavy duty-stuff of abducting and murdering was left to the partisan Army, Police, CIO and Prison Service personal deployed for the purpose.
“Mugabe has declared war on the people!” said Tsvangirai as he announced his withdrawal from the run-off. Mugabe went on to win the one-horse race with a staggering 84%. The result was announced just hours after the close of voting; it did not take six weeks as the earlier vote.
The 2008 Zimbabwe elections were a watershed election in that Zanu PF had showed the nation and the world at large the depths of depravity the party would sink to rig elections and retain power.
Both SADC and AU, who had turned a blind eye to dodgy Zimbabwe elections in the past, refused to recognise Zanu PF as the legitimate government gives the blatant cheating and wanton violence the party had shown. Credit to SADC, the regional body, forced Mugabe to sign on to a Global Political Agreement agreeing to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship, end the party’s strangle hold on state institutions and restore the individual freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections.
The task of implementing the reforms fell to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC fiends (yes, I mean fiends, it is no typing error). The MDC leaders turned out to be corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent; Mugabe bribed them with the trappings of high office and for the five years of the GNU they had their snouts in the feeding trough and forgot about implementing the democratic reforms. Five years!
SADC leaders, literally, begged Tsvangirai and company not to participate in the 2013 elections until reforms were implemented. “If you go into the election next month, you will lose; the elections are done!” they told the MDC leaders to their face! The warning fell on deaf ears.
What is really disheartening about Zimbabwe is that the country had its golden opportunity during the 2008 to 2013 GNU to implement the democratic reforms and end the Zanu PF dictatorship; and opportunity was wasted. Worse still, the chances to force the implementation of the reforms by demanding reforms before elections are being forfeited by MDC leaders’ stubborn insistence in participating in flawed elections. By participating in flawed elections, MDC are giving legitimacy to the vote rigging Zanu PF.
The people of Zimbabwe had risked life and limb to elect MDC leaders into office on the understanding the party will implement the democratic changes to end the Zanu PF dictatorship. After 21 years on the political stage MDC leaders have not only sold-out on implementing the reforms but are the ones perpetuating the dictatorship.
Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the 2013 and then 2018 elections, just as SADC leaders had feared would happen. Chamisa and the rest of the opportunists in the opposition camp are gearing to participate in the 2023 elections with no reforms in place.
Of course, Zanu PF is set to blatantly rig the elections as before, but you would not think so to listen to Chamisa. He is expecting to replicate now Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) in the August 2021 elections by defeating the incumbent President Edgar Lungu.
“We want to see the will of the people being respected so that we do not have the elite (riding) roughshod over the citizens as we have seen in Zimbabwe, where people vote, but they are punished for voting,” said Chamisa in an interview with a SA media station.
“We need to make sure that SADC plays its important role and not side with a club of those who would want to manipulate the will of the people, but to side with the people.
“Look at what happened in Malawi. SADC had endorsed the Malawian election, but the institutions within Malawi itself invalidated the election because it was invalid. We want to see the strong institutions coming in to support the citizens, the will of the people and the verdict that people would have given in a particular election.”
SADC leaders must be very disappointed to hear that considering they are the ones who had pushed Chamisa and his MDC fiends to implement the democratic reforms to restore the independence of Zimbabwe’s state institutions and the democratic freedoms and rights of Zimbabweans. And it was MDC leaders, not SADC, who had failed the nation by failing to implement even one reform. Worst of all, Chamisa is expecting non-existent strong institution to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
Chamisa, Zambia is not Zimbabwe! Whilst the former has strong democratic institutions to deliver free, fair and credible elections there are no such institutions in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF has retained its strangle hold on ZEC, Army, Police, Judiciary, etc. post the 2008 to 2013 GNU because MDC sold-out and failed to implement even one democratic reform.
It is naïve, to say the least, to think Chamisa and his MDC A can replicate what President HH did in Zambia because the two country’s political systems are poles apart. Just because both the cheetah and tortoise have four legs and a tail each, does not mean whatever one can do the other will replicate!