By Nomusa Garikai- It was Professor Jonathan Moyo who said in 2008 that, “If Zimbabweans were given the choice between voting for Robert Mugabe or a donkey. They would vote for the donkey!”
The allegory illustrated four key points:
- the nation was so desperate to be rid of Mugabe they did not care whom they were voting for to replace him
- of course, the nation is in this untenable position precisely because we were not as diligent and through and hence the reason we ended up stuck with this corrupt, incompetent, murderous and to crown it all, vote rigging Zanu PF dictatorship.
- in the 2008 election, it was self-evident we had not learned the about be diligent and through in electing our leaders; for in our desperation we did, for all intent and purpose, vote for a donkey in the March 2008 vote, the only free vote we have ever had.
- As a nation, we really need to sit up and pay attention because we are not getting out of this man-made hell-on-earth Zanu PF has landed us into, until we stop panicking, implement the democratic reforms to ensure free and fair elections and elect competent leaders.
Points 1) and 2) above are self-evident and need no further explaining and so will focus on the remaining two points.
The March 2008 vote is the nearest Zimbabwe has ever got to holding free, fair and credible elections, SADC leaders had pressured Zanu PF to accept a number of democratic reforms.
However when Emmerson Mnangagwa and his fellow Joint Operation Command Junta released that Zanu was heading for a resounding defeat, they stopped ZEC declaring the results.
The Junta ordered a recount that lasted six weeks, counting five million votes. Morgan Tsvangirai’s 73%, by Mugabe’s Freudian slip, vote count was whittled down to 47% to justify the run-off.
The Zanu PF vote rigging machine swung back into operation for the 2008 run-off and has remained back in service ever since. For Zanu the run-off was about punishing the voters for having rejected the party in the March vote. And punish they did; Zimbabwe witnessed the worst wanton election violence.
SADC leaders refused to recognise Zanu PF as the legitimate government given the blatant cheating and wanton violence in the 2008 elections. SADC leaders forced Mugabe to agree to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to restore the individual freedoms and rights including the right to free elections.
The task of implementing the reforms were left to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. They failed to implement even one reform in five years confirming why electing him and his party had been such a total disaster for the nation.
It was USA ambassador to Zimbabwe 2004 to 2007, Chris Dell, who described Morgan Tsvangirai as “a flawed and indecisive character who will become an albatross round the nation’s neck if he ever got into power!”
If USA Ambassador Chris Dell was able to see Morgan Tsvangirai for what he is, a flawed and indecisive character who would be a burden to the nation; the people of Zimbabwe should have come to the same conclusion too by 2008, if they had been diligent.
Worse still, why are the people of Zimbabwe still following MDC leaders even now in 2021 given the evidence of MDC leaders’ corruption and breathtaking incompetence especially during the 2008 to 2013 GNU?
The EU, the Commonwealth, the Americans and even SADC leaders have all advised that Zimbabwe should first implement the democratic reforms before going ahead with the elections. MDC leaders have insisting in participating in the elections with no reforms, first the 2013 then 2018 and now 2023 elections.
Zanu PF has blatantly rigged the 2013, 2018 and is set to rig the 2023 elections too. All MDC leaders have done by participating in these flawed elections was to give vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy. The MDC have become the milestone dragging the nation into the crashing abyss and this must be stopped.
Unemployment has soared to 80% plus in 2006/7 during the hyperinflation years and dragging the economy down with it and has never recovered. Basic services such as education and health care have all but collapsed. A 2020 WB report showed that 49% of our people were living in extreme poverty.
It is tempting to go for the usual knee-jerk reaction of “voting for the donkey just to be rid of Emmerson Mnangagwa.” This failed to get rid of Mugabe in 2008 and will similarly fail to get rid of Mnangagwa in the 2023 elections.
Indeed, participating will give vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy instead. After 41 years of rigged elections, this is insane and must stop.
The 2023 elections will go ahead with no reform in place; there is very little the ordinary Zimbabwean can do to stop Zanu PF going ahead and MDC and the rest of Zimbabwe’s sell-out opposition participating.
What the people can and should do is demand that there should be no elections without implementing the reforms and refuse to have anything to do with these flawed and illegal elections.
Zimbabweans must demand that these flawed elections must be declared null and void in advance because the process in being rigged in advance.