By Patrick Gura matunhu- “The Congress of South African Unions (Cosatu) has revealed plans to engage the government on behalf of Zimbabweans that are likely to be deported due to expiry of the Special Dispensation Permits (ZSP) on December 31 2022,” reported News Day.
“Around 300 000 Zimbabweans are in South Africa as holders of ZSP.”
Whilst one rightly join in expressing one’s gratitude to COSATU for the assistance in this matter; the truth is we are just kicking the can down the road. We need to address the underlying causes of Zimbabwe’s economic and political mass migration – rigged elections and bad governance.
If the 2023 Zimbabwe elections are rigged; as is now 100% certain to happen, given there have not been any meaningful reforms implemented since the rigged 2018 elections; then there will be a new wave of Zimbabwean economic and/or political refugees.
What Zimbabwe needs desperately is help to end the country’s curse of rigged elections and bad governance.
Zanu PF rigged the 2018 elections and SADC leaders endorse the process as “substantially free and fair” and thus giving vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy. And yet it was public knowledge that ZEC had failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll, for example. The election process was a farce since nothing could be traced or verified.
No South African in his/her right mind would accept the blatant rigging by Zanu PF happening in SA. And yet South Africans turned a blind eye when it happened in Zimbabwe.
For the 2023 elections, Zanu PF has already announced that the party will deny the three million plus Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote, “until the economic sanctions imposed by the West on Zanu PF leaders are lifted!” Mnangagwa had promised the vote after the 2018 elections but now has changed his mind.
There are 2 million or more Zimbabweans in the SADC countries alone and none of these country have imposed any sanctions on Zanu PF leaders. So why are Zimbabweans in SADC countries being denied the vote too? This is just a feeble Zanu PF excuse and must be dismissed with the contempt it rightly deserve.
President Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the 2018 elections with 2.4 million or 50.8% of the cast votes. The 3 million diaspora vote is clearly a very significant figure, 37% of the potential 8 million voters.
How can the 2023 election but free, fair and credible when one contestant, Zanu PF, is allowed to cherry pick the electorate and deny 37% plus of the potential electorate the vote?
Admittedly, Zimbabweans have been our own worst enemy in our fight for free, fair and credible elections. There is no denying that Zimbabwe had its best ever golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms and dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. Sadly the MDC leaders, who were tasked to carry out the task, sold out big time and failed to implement even one meaningful reform in five years.
Whilst everyone else, including SADC leaders, have advised that Zimbabwe must postpone elections until meaningful reforms are implemented. It is really frustrating that it is none other than Zimbabwe’s opposition opportunists who have insisted in having the elections with no reforms.
By participating in these flawed and illegal elections, the corrupt and incompetent opposition have been giving vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy.
“Right now we are trying to help comrades with the ZSP issue. It’s not looking good, especially because the government has already made a declaration… but we’ll try to see if there’s a way to get an extension at least,” said COSATU’s International relations secretary Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni.
What will help the people of Zimbabwe greatly is for COSATU to engage:
- the SA government to meaningful address the problems of rigged elections and bad governance in Zimbabwe and stop glossing over the problem. It is inexcusable that SA, a country that has successfully held free, fair and credible elections since 1994, should endorse blatantly rigged elections as having “gone well!”
- Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU), COSATU’s sister organisation in Zimbabwe, and ask them why they have continued to give their blind support to the MDC regardless of the overwhelming evidence of the party is now the one helping perpetuate the Zanu PF dictatorship.
Yes Zimbabweans in SA need help with their ZSP issues but most important of all the whole nation needs help ending the nightmare of rigged elections and bad governance! Nothing of substance can be accomplished in Zimbabwe until we cure ourselves of the curse of rigged elections. Absolutely nothing!
Yes Zimbabweans need help to stay in SA but they would not be in SA if Zimbabwe was not a pariah state ruling by corrupt, incompetent and vote rigging thugs. The people of Zimbabwe need help in restoring rule of law and good governance in the country.