By Nomusa Garikai- ”We are very concerned about reports of rising political violence in multiple provinces,” the United States embassy in Harare said in a tweeted statement.
“As Zimbabwe prepares for the 2023 elections, we urge all parties to refrain from acts of violence. Votes are won by ideas, not intimidation.”
In the March 2008 vote, the nearest to free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe history, Morgan Tsvangirai garnered 73% of the votes, according to Mugabe’s Freudian slip. Mnangagwa and his Joint Operation Command Junta stepped in and stopped ZEC announcing the results. The Junta order a recount of 5 million votes that lasted six weeks. Tsvangirai’s 73% was whittled down to 47%, just enough to deny him victory and force a run-off.
The run-off was all about the Junta punishing the people for daring to reject Mugabe and Zanu PF in the March vote. The Junta launch “Operation Mavhotera papi!” (Operation Whom did you vote for!) using war veterans and Zanu PF youth militia to do the intimidation, beating and raping and personal from the Police, Army, CIO and Prison Service to do the heavy duty of abducting and killing.
“What was accomplished by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot! thundered Robert Mugabe. And Operation Mavhotera papi went into overdrive!
Morgan Tsvangirai was finally forced to withdraw from the election race but only because he feared for his life.
Robert Mugabe went on to win the one-horse race by polling 84% of the votes; once again proving that wanton violence does “win” votes!
SADC and AU leaders refused to accept the 2008 election as a free, fair and credible process and would not recognise Mugabe and his Zanu PF party as the legitimate government. The regional body forced Mugabe to sign the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA), agreeing to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms.
The reforms, fully implemented, would have stripped away Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers and control over all the state institutions like Police, ZEC, etc. and restored the individual freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections. The primary task of the GPA was to ensure the blatant cheating and wanton violence of 2008 will never ever be repeated.
A GNU was formed comprising Zanu PF and the two MDC factions with SADC as the guarantor of the GPA. Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends were entrusted the task of implement the reforms.
MDC leaders failed to implement even one reform in five years of the GNU. Mugabe bribed them with the trappings of high office and, to show their gratitude, they throw reforms onto the fire.
Sadc leaders tried to get the 2013 elections postponed until reforms were implemented. But they too gave up when it became clear that Tsvangirai and company had never submitted even one reform proposal in the five years!
MDC leaders have all but abandoned all hope of getting any reforms implemented before elections and have since been participating in flawed and illegal elections subject to all the usual Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans of blatant cheating and wanton violence.
However, ever since the GNU Zanu PF has been very care to resort to the wanton violence only when it is necessary and to target it carefully. The only way Zanu PF has been able to rig elections and get away with it was by maintaining facade that Zimbabwe was a healthy multi-party democracy. And so the party has given away a few gravy train seats to entice the opposition to participate regardless how flawed the election process got.
The wanton violence has been carefully targeted to ensure the voters, especially the rural voters, never ever forget Operation Mavhotera papi! The party thugs know opposition party leaders must not be harmed; the last thing Zanu PF wants is the opposition boycotting the elections, burning down the multi-party facade and with it Zanu PF legitimacy.
As long as Zanu PF retains its carte blanche powers to rig elections violence will rule the roost, you can forget your “Votes are won by ideas, not intimidation!” ideal!
What is infuriating about Zimbabwe is that whilst most people have been calling for reforms BEFORE elections it has been none other than the MDC and the rest of Zimbabwe’s opportunistic opposition politicians who are quite happy to have the elections with no reforms. It is even more infuriating when the Americans, the EU and other nations who know the MDC leaders are sells outs pretend not to notice.