By Nomusa Garikai- “It is quite clear that several of the sitting and current Chairpersons across ZANU PF Provinces are afraid of a free and fair district and provincial election and are doing everything they can to try and run away from the democratic path by wanting to block all potential challengers,” observed Paul Ndou.
“Is president Mnangagwa going to protect the moribund Chairpersons and move against his trademark campaign signature that “The voice of the People is the voice of God?”
It is the norm for Zanu PF leaders to rig their own party elections just as they have gone to blatantly rig the national elections. It is blasphemous, to say the least, for Mnangagwa to evoke the name of the Lord knowing fully well Zanu PF rigged the 2018 elections and thus the people were blatantly denying a meaningful say in the governance of the country.
There are countless way Zanu PF leaders have rigged elections and one way is to state the election rule, make a big song and dance about it. The opponent will campaign for election within the constrains of the rule. Come the election, the dishonest leader will ignore the rule and go on to win the contest!
Zanu PF made a big song and dance about Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system to be used in the 2018 elections, for example. Millions of dollars were spent buying the equipment, the UN contributed a staggering US$ 75 million. Come voting day ZEC used the old printed voters’ roll and did not even bother to explain why!
With no verified the printed voters’ roll all the vote rigging shenanigans, justifying the need for the BVR, were allowed back in the process.
Another vote rigging move is to introduce a new rules the very last minute! Mnangagwa was set to win and replace the late Simon Muzenda at the 2004 Zanu PF congress. Mugabe introduced a new party rule the last minute demanding that one of the four top positions in the party must to be a woman. And so Joice Mujuru became the new VP.
Ten years later, 2014, Joice Mujuru was poised to be elected VP in her own right at the party congress. Mugabe accused her of “witchcraft, factionalism” (new crimes never heard of before) and attempting to assassinate Mugabe. She and some of her supporters were booted out of the party. This time it was Mnangagwa who benefited from the Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli shenanigan. The need for at least one female in the Zanu PF presidium was conveniently forgotten.
Zanu PF leaders have no respect for rule of law or the party’s and nation’s laws and constitution. None!
Many Zimbabweans thought the approved the 2013 constitution would restore the rule of law. It failed its first acid test; Zanu PF went on to blatantly rigging the 2013 elections.
The truth is the 2013 constitution was “dictated by Robert Mugabe”, boasted Paul Mangwana, the Zanu PF MP and co-chairperson on the parliamentary committee that drafted the document.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had wasted the five years of the GNU enjoying the trapping of high office, they were desperate to present the new constitution as their achievement. Mugabe, cuckoo style, let MDC claim his dictator’s creed as their own. Morgan Tsvangirai even called the 2013 constitution an “MDC child!”
Zanu PF emerged out of the 2008 to 2013 GNU with all the party’s carte blanche dictatorial powers it had before the GNU. The 2008 elections remain the watershed reference elections in which Zanu PF gave a graphic demonstration of its dictatorial powers.
Morgan Tsvangirai garnered 73% of the popular vote in the March 2008 vote, according to Mugabe’s Freudian slip.Zanu PF stopped the results being made public and spent the next six weeks whittling down the 73% to 47%, enough to force a run-off. In the run-off, Zanu PF unleashed the war veterans, the party’s youth militia, the green bombers, backed by all four of the state security services branches to punish the people for daring to reject the party in the earlier vote.
Mugabe won the June 2008 run-off with a run away 84% of the votes; his victory was never in doubt! The people of Zimbabwe know better than test providence and dare reject Zanu PF ever again, not whilst the party continues to enjoy its dictatorial powers.
Nelson Chamisa and his fellow MDC leaders have no choice but to participate in these flawed and illegal elections they cannot demand the implementation of reforms without admitting they had the golden opportunity to implement the reforms during the GNU and they sold-out.
Chamisa and company are hoping to be propelled into power on the back of mass street protests and they have been fishing for it at every turn. And meanwhile they have to settle for the few gravy train seats Zanu PF gives away to entice the opposition to participate.
For their part, Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies need the opposition to participate in the flawed and illegal election to give the process some modicum of credibility and, by extension, give the vote rigging Zanu PF regime legitimacy.
The most important lesson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies have since 2008 is to continue enjoying the party’s dictatorial powers to blatant cheating and to use wanton violence but to be very subtle; they were not subtle in 2008 and were forced into the 2008 to 2013 GNU as a consequence. And making sure the opposition participate in large numbers will secure legitimacy; allowing them to win a few gravy train seats is a small price to pay for legitimacy.
“You have heard about the golden rule, haven’t you?” asked, rhetorically, the evil sorcerer Jafar in Walt Disney’s Aladdin. “He who has the gold makes the rules!”
To paraphrase Jafar, “Zanu PF has the dictatorial power and makes all the rules!”
How long are we going to allow ourselves to live in a Banana Republic ruled by the whims of a dictator?
The idea of participating again and again in an election process so flawed the opposition cannot win even after polling 73% of the votes is the very essence of insanity!