By Nomusa Garikai- “In the wake of the landslide victory for the opposition in the recent Zambian election, Zanu-PF must be concerned about what might happen in the 2023 elections,” wrote Tony Reeler, co-convener of the Platform for Concerned Citizens, in New Zimbabwe.
“In Zambia, a united front to prevent electoral manipulation was hugely successful and the combined force of civil society and the opposition political parties delivered a massive victory for democracy.
“It takes some stretch of the imagination to believe that non-government organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe are likely to support terrorism, but rather less to see that the government fears financial support to political parties by NGOs.
“The proposed amendments to the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Act reflects how deeply the Zanu-PF government fears its citizens.”
Mr Reeler knows that Zanu PF has always controlled the activities of the GNOs; all aid and assistance in Zimbabwe must be distributed through the party structures or not at all. Only Zanu PF is allowed to do anything to improve the people’s lives and the party guards that right very jealously; more so during elections. And so the proposed amendment is not a surprise to anyone.
Zimbabwe had the golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms that would have ended all these Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. The task of implementing the reforms was entrusted to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. They failed to get even one token reform implemented in five years. Not even one!
SADC leaders and anybody with half a working brain have argued that elections should be postponed until reforms are implemented. “If you go into the elections next month, you will lose. The elections are done!” SADC leaders warned Tsvangirai and company at the June 2013 SADC Summit, according to Dr Ibbo Mandaza, SAPES Director. Mr Reeler knows Dr Mandaza very well, he is co-convener of the Platform for Concerned Citizens.
As we all know MDC leaders ignored SADC leaders’ warning and participated in the 2013 elections and again in the 2018 elections which Zanu PF blatantly rigged as predicted. MDC leaders are all gearing to participate in the 2023 elections with not even a token reform implemented.
By participating in these flawed and illegal elections, the MDC are giving credibility to the elections process and, by extension, giving legitimacy to the vote rigging Zanu PF regime.
“In Zimbabwe, the most trusted institutions for citizens are NGOs, according to a recent Afrobarometer survey. By contrast, most government institutions, political figures and political parties fare poorly. For example, 79% of Zimbabweans trust NGOs “somewhat” or “a lot”, but only 48% similarly trust the president, and only 38% trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),” continued Mr Reeler.
“So, why does the government not trust NGOs?”
A rhetorical question, since Mr Reeler has already answered the question: Zanu PF is rigging these elections and using food and all aid as one way of buying votes. The party has reduced many Zimbabweans, especially in the rural areas, into medieval serfs dependent on handouts from overbearing Zanu PF landlords. The party operatives often back their demands with intimidation, harassment, beatings, rape, abduction and even cold blooded murder, if need be.
The elephant in the room in Zimbabwe’s politics is MDC. We must finally ask Chamisa and his MDC friends why they failed to implement even one reform during the 2008 to 2013 GNU?
Why, against repeated advice not to participate in the elections without first implementing the reforms, they are the ones stubbornly insisting on participating? And only to give give vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy?