The rigging mechanism was set up long before the day of election. MDC was strategically advertised as a conspirator in league with the ‘enemy’
Needless to say, a huge victory such as one claimed by ZANU/PF last week, should have seen the streets of Harare and other metropolises bursting with excitement by ZANU zealots. This has not been the case to date. What accounts for the ‘muted joy’? The mood is a clear betrayal of the declaration of the Mugabe shock and awe.
Apparently, not all is well in Paradise. The characteristics of this election should lead any reasonable person familiar with such undertakings to conclude that there is a terrible rat smell here. Consider the following: There is raging 95% unemployment; 25 % (about 4 million) of the population live and are employed in the diaspora; 15% constitute the orphanage caused mainly by AIDS; an Israeli company, known for having cooked books during the recent Zambian polls, was hired to assist in the Zimbabwean case. There was blatant under registration of youth in the 18-19 year age group…..just 8%. At the same time there was a pronounced over registration of the over 80 (220%). Reports of the registration of more than 1 million dead people was both disturbing and despicable. (Freedom Hse, 2013).
SW Radio Africa correspondent, Violet Gonda wrote an article on August 8, 2013 titled, ‘Southern Africa: SADC should revise its thinking on Mugabe.’ This call was made by Freedom House in the person of Vukasin Petrovic the Director of its Africa programs. It is a justified suggestion in light of the fact that SADC had spoken too soon in their zeal to put a seal of approval on the rather controversial election victory claimed by ZANU/PF.
If, as in this case, the elements of a process are questionable, so will be the result. The following can be said of the Zimbabwe 2013 elections: The rigging mechanism was set up long before the day of election. MDC was strategically advertised as a conspirator in league with the ‘enemy’. The election suffered from a serious case of voter manipulation. ZANU/PF functionaries were employed in numerous acts of intimidation. NGOs noted plenty of systematic electoral disenfranchisement. A substantial number of MDC voters were turned away from the party’s urban strongholds. The story in ZANU’s rural fortresses was different. While MDC garnered the same number of votes as in the 2008 election, oddly enough, ZANU was blessed with a whopping one million more voters. There is no doubt that this was a fraudulent victory. However, in all probability, it is irreversible. Mugabe gets to keep the spoils.
In spite of the apparent sigh of collective hopelessness by the majority of civil society, there is a tomorrow in Zimbabwe. Pick up he pieces and move on. In order to prepare wisely for future success, MDC and other opposition groups should heed what one bright son of Africa has counseled. George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist, academic, author and President of Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC. In January 2012, (ZIMSITE) during an exchange with Eddie Cross, activist MDC Member of Parliament, he disabused Tsvangirai of the belief that any party, by itself, can knock out a seasoned dictator. He aptly concluded, “Again, it takes a coalition or alliance of opposition forces to defeat a dictator. It seems the MDC-T prefers a ‘go it alone’ strategy. It has made little effort to repair the splits within its own party, let alone reach out to other political parties-much less CIVIL SOCIETY groups. To characterize the splits as ‘engineered’ by some diabolical outside forces is too laughable to be taken seriously. Were you sleeping?”
Two, three, an infinite number of wrongs do not make a right. This too, shall pass. Robert Mugabe may be getting used to being power drunk but when he gets intoxicated, it will all be over.
* Dr. Zwana is a freelance writer and retired university professor.