By Patrick Guramatunhu
“What would CCC and ordinary Zimbabweans accomplish by boycotting the 2023 elections, especially when the regime can call upon Mwonzora and company to participate to give the regime legitimacy?
The Zanu PF government will never resign because Chamisa did not participate in the elections!” some people have argued.
This is a good question.
The short answer is, if you know the electoral process is so flawed that getting 73% of the votes, as Tsvangirai and his MDC friends did in March 2008, is not good enough to win power and know that by participating you are only giving the vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy the only rational option is boycott. Let those foolish enough to give Zanu PF legitimacy do so, NOT you!
The long answer entail explaining why the opposition have repeatedly failed to do the rational thing and boycott the elections.
The 2008 elections were a water shed in, one, showing Zanu PF’s carte blanche power to rig elections but most important of all, two, in showing the party would not get away with the rigging. Both AU and SADC, for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, refused to rubber stamp another Zanu PF rigged election. Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were really shocked!
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were told the Zanu PF government they had formed was illegitimate. They were forced to sign the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA), agreeing to the country’s need to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to dismantle the de facto one party dictatorship, Mugabe’s life time’s work! A Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed and its primary task was to implement the reforms.
Mugabe managed to bribe Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends, the dictator’s GNU partners, with the trappings of high office; the very generous salaries and allowances, ministerial limos, a US$4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc., etc. And to show their appreciation MDC leaders throw the reforms out of the window.
“Mazivanhu eMDC adzidza kudya anyerere!” (MDC leaders have learned to enjoy the gravy train good life, they will never rock the boat!) boasted the Zanu PF cronies when asked why MDC leaders were not implementing the reforms during the GNU.
Zanu PF emerged out of the 2008 to 2013 GNU with all it dictatorial powers untouched, thanks to MDC leaders being corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent.
Still Zanu PF was extra careful to never again be denied legitimacy by SADC or anyone else and so the party has ditched the one party state macho image and adopted the multi-party democracy facade. Zanu PF rigged the 2013 elections but was careful to let the opposition win some gravy train seats.
When Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe following the 2017 military coup, he has pushed the multi-party democracy image by calling his administration a Second Republic, a new democratic dispensation and promised and insist 2018 elections were free, fair and credible.
He has increased the benefits of winning the gravy train seats, last year he gave away the US$40 000 housing loan to MPs, which even Chamisa could not deny is a bribe. He also created the POLAD scheme to reward election losers.
Zanu PF before the 2008 GNU was an iron fist. Post 2008 GNU year Zanu PF was an iron fist in a velvet glove!
Zanu PF is blatantly rigging the 2023 elections by failing to produce a verified voters’ roll, by denying 3 million Zimbabwean in the diaspora or 37% of the potential electorate the vote, by using wanton violence to frog match rural voters to vote for the party, etc., etc. These are all serious, iron fist, matters to justify boycotting the election and denying Zanu PF political legitimacy.
Zanu PF is banking on the opposition participating in the elections regardless of the flaws, illegalities and wanton violence. The party knows the opposition leaders are greedy and breathtakingly incompetent, they have shown this to be so graphically during the GNU and the party knows there is no cure for greed or incompetence. And as long as the opposition participate is these flawed election in droves Zanu PF will alway have the velvet glove to hide the iron fist!
Zanu PF will be forced out of office if it failed to get political legitimacy after the 2023 elections, we know that will happen because it happened in 2008! The real challenge therefore is getting the opposition in significant numbers to boycott the elections, their greed is insatiable.
Chamisa et al are hell bent on participating in these flawed elections nothing, absolutely nothing, will to give up the 30 pieces of silver Zanu PF is dangling in their face. They know by participating they are giving Zanu PF legitimacy and perpetuating the dictatorship and the tragic human suffering it has caused. They know all these things and they still participate because they care more about the 30 pieces of silver!