“Disputed polls worsening voter apathy.” Stop using sticky band-aid to fix broken limb – vote rigging.
11 September 2023
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 By Wilbert Mukori- “Disputed polls to worsen voter apathy” proclaimed Bulawayo 24 headline.

“The frequency of disputed elections in Zimbabwe, the most recent being the August 23 polls, will discourage more registered voters from participating in electoral processes, electoral watchdogs and analysts have warned,” said the report.

“CCC has accused Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of election fraud and is calling for fresh elections.

“According to ZEC, about two million registered voters failed to vote out of approximately 6,6 million eligible voters, a trend analysts said was worrying.”

Blaming the voter apathy is the default setting of some analysts and opposition politicians alike but none of this would stand close scrutiny. 

MDC/CCC’s flagship winning in rigged elections strategy after the 2018 elections was “mass voter registration, mass voting and guard the vote!” The party promised to register 6 million new voters, most the young. Four years down the line, 30 May 2022, ZEC announced that only 1/4 million new voters had registered. Even if we assumed that they were all CCC supporters, that was only 4% of the party’s 6 million target.

It is common knowledge that Harare had only two voter registration centres, that to register one needed an ID which were hard to get, etc., etc. Even if one jumped all these obstacles, this was no guarantee one would be on the voters’ roll. 

In 1995 I arm-twisted nine people to make sure they registered to vote. I saw their voter registration slips with my own eyes. When the voters’ roll was realised only one out of nine was on the voters’ roll. 

With each election ZEC has added more and more complexities for the sole purpose of denying the people their right to a meaningful say. Many people who had checked and confirmed they were on the national voters’ roll failed to vote on 23 August 2023 because their details were not in the polling station they expected. 

The nation has moved from a constituency voters’ roll to a polling station voters’ roll. And the number of polling stations has increased from 10 or so in 2008 to over 60 this years. Voting in Zimbabwe is a game of Russian Roulette. Whilst Zanu PF officials got the up to date voters’ roll with all the details of the voter, which polling station and even mobile numbers. The opposition candidate got the out dated voters’ roll with many of the details missing. 

Zimbabwe’s electoral problem is not voter apathy per se but vote rigging. The MDC leaders had the golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms during the 2008 to 2013 GNU designed to free key state institutions like ZEC to carry out their duties of ensuring free, fair and credible elections. 

Morgan Tsvangirai et al failed to implement even one token reform in five years because they believed MDC would ride on their popularity and win rigged elections. Ever since the GNU debacle, MDC/CCC have all but abandoned efforts to implement democratic reforms in pursuit of the more nebulous winning in rigged elections strategies. 

It the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin who infamously said, “It is not those who cast the vote who matter but those who count the votes!”

In Zimbabwe we know Zanu PF has carte blanche powers to rig elections, it is insane to hope to win rigged elections especially after 43 years of Zanu PF mafiosi rigging elections. We should focus on implementing the democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections and only then can we meaningful address the problem of voter.

Both SADC and AU had condemned the 23 August 2023 Zimbabwe elections as flawed and illegal, so flawed the process could not produce a legitimate government. This is a repeat of what happened in the 2008 elections marred by Zanu PF’s blatant cheating and wanton violence. The country was forced to form a GNU whose primary task was to implement the democratic reforms to stop the blatant cheating and wanton violence. As we know not even one meaningful reform was implemented hence the reason we have yet another flawed and illegal election. 

Zimbabwe we need a new GNU, just as happened in 2008, only this time we must implement all the democratic reforms without failure! We must cure ourselves of the curse of rigged elections and bad governance, no if no but!

“CCC has accused Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of election fraud and is calling for fresh elections.”

In MDC/CCC we have a corrupt, incompetent and utterly useless opposition. They accuse Mnangagwa and ZEC of rigging the elections one minute and, next minute, they are refusing to implement reforms because they have winning in rigged elections strategies. Given a chance Chamisa and company will want to stampede the nation into fresh elections with not even one democratic reform implemented. A situation that would suit Zanu PF to a t. 

The new GNU must implement all the democratic reforms without failure. Neither Zanu PF nor CCC can be trusted to do this, if they failed to get even one token reform implemented in 5 years in the last GNU what is there to suggest they will do any better this time.