“Stop Subjecting Zimbabweans to Processes Where their Hopes Get Crushed”
25 July 2023
Spread the love

By Wilbert Mukori- Zimbabwe’s 2008 elections were a watershed in that Zanu PF was forced to show the world the sicken depths of depravity the regime would go to hang on to power. 

Before the 2008 elections, Zanu PF had been forced to implement some electoral reforms which, effectively meant the regime switching off its vote rigging juggernaut. The March 2008 plebiscite was the nearest Zimbabwe has ever come to holding free, fair and credible elections. 

However when the party leaders heard that Zanu PF was losing the elections, Mnangagwa himself switched the vote rigging juggernaut back on and stopped ZEC announcing the results. What followed was six weeks of recounting 5 million votes with results being announced in dribs and drabs. The presidential results were announce at the end of the six weeks, Tsvangirai’s 73% vote count, by Mugabe’s Freudian slip, had been whittled down to 47%; enough to force the runoff.

During the runoff, Zanu PF unleashed the war veteran and it own youth militia backed by the Army, Police, CIO and Prison Service personal to punish the voters for having rejected the party and Mugabe in the March vote. The punishment was code named Operation Mavhotera Papi. 

“What was accomplished by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot!” thundered Robert Mugabe as the wanton violence spread to every corner of Zimbabwe. 

Millions were internally displace and hundreds of thousands were beaten and/or raped. And over 500 were murdered in cold blood. 

“Zanu PF has declared war on the people!” complained Tsvangirai as he announced his withdrawal form the runoff. 

The cheating and the wanton violence were so blatant and in your face that not even SADC and AU, who had always turned a blind eye to Zanu PF rigged elections until then, could not endorse the 2008 elections as a free and credible process. Both SADC and AU refused to grant Zanu PF political legitimacy and it was this chastisement that forced Mugabe and his Zanu PF friends to agree to the need for Zimbabwe to implement democratic reforms designed to end the curse of rigged elections. 

The primary task of the 2008 to 2013 GNU was to implement the democratic reforms. 

Mugabe bribed Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends, to whom the task of implementing reforms fell, with the trappings of high office the ministerial limos, the generous salaries and allowances, a US$4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc., etc. In return, the MDC leaders forgot all about the reforms. 

Mugabe went one step further, he conned the MDC leaders into believing the opposition could win rigged elections, they were so popular. The MDC leaders had no problem sell this oxymoronic nonsense to their naive and gullible followers who have since taken to winning in rigged elections (WIRE) like a duck to water! 

Of course, WIRE is just nonsense and two of the MDC leading intellectuals Tendai Biti and David Coltart have done their best to convince the herd of the folly of participating in these flawed elections without first implementing reforms.

“Look, you can’t keep on participating in flawed electoral processes that serve to give big benefits to dictators such as Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has perfected the art of winning elections. So it will be very foolish for the opposition to continue legitimising these sham elections which don’t deliver. This country will go through a serious economic crisis in 2020 caused by Zanu PF. And yet, this is the only country where a government doesn’t perform, it is encouraged by a super majority in parliament,” said Tendai Biti in a 2015 interview with Isaac Mugabi.

“So you can’t continue subjecting Zimbabweans to processes where their hopes just get crushed.”

David Coltart has shed the light on why when he and Biti has disregarded their own sound advice to stop participating.

“The (2013) electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility,” confessed David Coltart in his Book, The Struggle Continues 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.

The price Zimbabwe has paid and will continue to pay for Coltart and his opposition friends’ greed in participating in the flawed elections to give Zanu PF legitimacy and thus perpetuating the dictatorship is the deepening economic, social and political crisis. Zimbabwe is a failed state and the root cause of this the failure to hold free, fair and credible elections. 

Zimbabwe has had many golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms and ended the curse of rigged elections and thus end the failed state. Indeed, could be looking at marking the beginning of the end of the dictatorship with these 2023 elections. If only our opposition political leaders finally accepted these elections are “so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step is to withdraw”, as Coltart aptly put it. Alas! Greed, not rational thinking, rules the roost.

Going forward Zimbabwe has three options:

1) continue the present status quo of Zanu PF rigging the elections, CCC and the rest of the opposition entourage participating for their a share of gravy train seats and the POLAD freebies and the herd bringing the rear in their desperate and insane hope for change even after 43 years of rigged election. Giving Zanu PF legitimacy will perpetuate the dictatorship and the the failed state. The country will continue to sink deeper and deeper into the abyss.

2) The people can refuse to participate in these flawed elections because they finally realise the sheer stupidity of participating and/or SADC is forced, for the second time, to deny Zanu PF political legitimacy and force the formation of a new GNU. This is a tall order given our people are not renowned for being rational (Zimbabwe would not be a failed state) and given ANC has vowed not to allow regime change in Zimbabwe for fear of South Africans too would want regime in next year’s elections. 

3) by closing the door to peaceful democratic change we open the door to violent change. Change can be delayed but not unstoppable. There is  real danger violent street protest  violence and/or military coup. The 2017 military coup removed one dictator only to replace him with another. 

The second option above is peaceful and offers the best hope of having the democratic reforms fully implemented. 

The first and last options are not likely to produce a stable democracy because no meaningful reforms will be implemented by whatever government is in power. The temptation would be to abuse the present dictatorial tendencies to consolidate it’s own hold on power.