By Wilbert Mukori- Common sense is the ability to change one’s position on a subject matter when the overwhelming evidence before you support change.
My grandparents believed the world was flat, for example; their known world did not go much beyond the distant horizon and behind and beyond that was the precipitous abyss. I do know that behind the horizon is another horizon and another and if one travelled long enough they will return where they started – proof the world is a very large spherical ball!
Those who lack common sense will even acknowledge the overwhelming evidence before them and still maintain their erroneous position; hoping against hope the overwhelming evidence is wrong.
Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because the nation has failed to hold free, fair and credible elections for the last 41 years, Zanu PF has rigged the elections, leaving the nation stuck with a corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical regime. And as long as Zanu PF remains in power the country will remain a pariah state ruled by corrupt, vote rigging and murderous thugs with no hope of any meaningful political change and economic recovery.
After 41 years of rigged elections the nation is has two choices:
- either participate in the 2023 elections under the same conditions as in the past knowing fully well that Zanu PF was blatantly rigging the elections and that participating will give the vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy. Hoping against hope that the opposition’s winning in rigged elections (wire) strategies finally deliver long awaited change. The opposition, for their part, are banking on the economic hardships forcing the populous to “defend their vote” by staging street protests and force regime change.
- or admit the present political system, the Zanu PF dictatorship, has amassed so much dictatorial powers it will never ever deliver free, fair and credible elections. There is overwhelming evidence Zanu PF is blatantly rigging the 2023 elections and Chamisa and company’s wire strategies are just a farce. The common sense position is to implement the democratic reforms and thus guarantee free, fair and credible elections.
What is disappointing is that a number of political analysts have acknowledged the futility of participating in flawed and illegal elections and yet still want the nation to participate in elections with no reform. This is like someone circumventing the globe and still maintain the world is flat!
“Ballot fraud remains a major weapon of rigging. Dictators believe it is not the voting that really counts, but who counts the vote. This has particularly been true in Zimbabwe where elections are stolen through ballot fraud, over and above the skewing of the whole electoral process and playing field, tipping it in favour of the ruling party and use of coercive tactics and terror.” Argued Dumisani Muleya in The News Hawks in favour of option b) above, only to contradict himself in the next breath.
“The outcome of elections is as dependent on the pre-voting processes as it is on the act of voting. An election is a process, not an event,” he claimed.
“Youths have now become the largest voting bloc in many African countries, including Zimbabwe. Zambia demonstrated that. During the 2018 elections, youths were about 44% of registered voters in Zimbabwe, but in 2023 they will surge above 50%, making them an electoral trump card.
“Civil society should encourage citizens, particularly the youth, to register and to vote. They should also design public information campaigns aimed at youth to explain the registration process and how citizens can check their entries onto the voters’ roll and monitor the voter registration process to assess its accuracy and inclusiveness.”
The 2008 elections remain the watershed elections in Zimbabwe’s history in that both Mr Muleya’s thesis were tested to the full.
The March 2008 election took place at the time when Zimbabwe’s economy had all but totally collapsed; hyperinflation was to so to the nauseating peak of 500 billion percent, earnings and savings lost their value, children had 23 school-days that year, etc. It was not only the youths who were motivated to vote that year, everyone was desperate for change. It is no exaggeration that if the electorate had the choice of Mugabe or donkey that year, they would have voted for the donkey.
Morgan Tsvangirai garnered 73% of the popular vote according to Robert Mugabe’s own Freudian slip. The Zanu PF vote rigging juggernaut was activated to give a graphic illustration of “it is not the voting that really counts, but who counts the vote” and worse.
Mnangagwa, by his own admission, ordered ZEC not to announce the March 2008 election results. The results were finally announce after six weeks of recounting 5 million vote and Tsvangirai’s vote count was whittling down to 47%, enough to force a run off.
The run-off was all about punishing the people of Zimbabwe for having rejected Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe in the March vote. The party deployed the war veterans and the party’s youth militia, the green bombers, to destroy property, harass, beat and rape. The heavy-duty stuff of abducting and killing was left to the deployed Army, Police, CIO and Prison Service personal.
“What was achieved by the bullet will not be undone by the ballot!” thundered Robert Mugabe!
Mugabe garnered 84% of the votes in the run-off; his landslide victory was never ever in doubt! Never!
Both SADC and AU leaders, for the first time ever, refused to endorse Zanu PF’s electoral victory because of the blatant cheating and wanton violence. SADC leaders forced Robert Mugabe to agree to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to end Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers and end the curse of rigged elections. Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends were the GNU partners tasked to implement the reforms.
Of course, Mr Dumisani Muleya, one of the country’s well known and respected journalists knows what the GNU was about, that not even one meaningful reform was implemented in five years of the GNU because Tsvangirai and company sold-out big time.
“International actors should provide assistance to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Whoever wins under such conditions has got the people’s genuine mandate and their express will to govern until the next elections,” concluded Mr Muleya.
Of course, SADC, EU and any international actors of substance will ignore the plea because they have provided all the assistance and advice Zimbabwe need for free, fair and credible elections – they have all advised we implement the democratic reforms and we have repeatedly ignored the advice!
Zimbabwe’s main opposition, MDC, are driving the narrative that Zimbabwe does not need to implement any democratic reforms and pushing option a) above because to do otherwise they will be forced to admit they wasted the golden opportunity to implement the reforms during the GNU.
The opposition’s WIRE strategies feeble excuses to justify the folly of participating in flawed and illegal election. Implement the reforms and make sure elections are free, fair and credible and you do not need these WIRE strategies.
Zanu PF benefited from MDC’s failure to implement the reforms during the GNU and in that the party emerged out of the GNU will all its dictatorial powers intact. By participating in flawed and illegal elections the nation is giving vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy.
“Next elections may be won or lost on voter registration!” If getting 73% of the votes was not good enough to win in 2008, what is there to suggest it will be good enough in 2023? Without implementing the reforms Zanu PF is set to rig the 2023 elections and by participating we will give the regime legitimacy.
What Zimbabwe needs to get out of the political and economic mess the nation is stuck in is people with the common sense to admit the need to implement democratic reforms and end Zanu PF carte blanche powers to rig elections instead of the foolishness of trying to win rigged elections!