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Mnangagwa, fearful of past demons, cherry picks 'peaceful elections' and ignores exacting reforms

by Wilbert Mukori
18 Jan 2018 at 07:23hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF regime had a political boast in their popularity rating as millions of Zimbabweans joined in the 18 November 2017 march demanding the resignation of Robert Mugabe. This, however, has not been enough encourage the regime to risk losing power by abandon its old ways of rigging elections. The regime will be risking a lot more than exercise of power!

The people knew Mugabe was rigging elections to stay in power against their democratic wishes and they hated the tyrant and his regime for it. Initially when the succession wars within the party started to heat up the ordinary people were indifferent to which faction won as a goat to the outcome of fighting hyenas. It was only when it was clear that Grace wanted to succeed her husband as the next State President that people took sides.

Most Zimbabweans dreaded prospect of the tyrant appointing his wife the next president. They despised Grace for her arrogance, greed, extravagancy and, worst of all for being an empty head with more ambition than wit. So, when the rivalry faction led by then VP Mnangagwa stage the November 2017 coup that forced Mugabe to resign the nation heaved a huge sigh of relief and were thankful to the coup plotter for helping them get rid of the hated tyrant Mugabe and, in the same stroke, end the nightmare prospect of the Mugabe dynasty.

The country has failure to produce a government-in-wait quality opposition party. Ever since Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends' pathetic failure to implement even one democratic reforms during the GNU, all the party's donors have deserted them. The party has subdivided like an amebae and then started sinking into oblivion dragged down by all the deadwood in the party.

Some people have argued that the de facto one-party dictatorship Mugabe fostered on the nation has stifled all meaningful public debate and democratic competition creating a very toxic political environment in one has to be a thug to survive and so only corrupt and incompetent individuals crowd our political stage on both sides of the political divide, the ruling party and the opposition.

So, in the wake of the November coup President Mnangagwa was the only political party standing it was therefore easy to see why the nation has looked to the regime as faute de mieux to lead. It is in this context of having no alternative that could have implemented all the democratic reforms and went on to win the free, fair and credible elections. Sadly, President Mnangagwa has decided not to implement even one reform and risk losing power in a free election. The regime has other demonic interest to consider that make losing elections simply unthinkable.

It was Margaret Dongo, a freedom fighter, CIO a Zanu PF MP before she finally broke away to join the opposition, once dismissed Zanu PF MPs, cabinet members, etc. disparagingly as "vakadzi vaMugabe" (Mugabe's subservient concubines). Only a first-class subservient moron would do some of the stinking dirty jobs Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and the rest have done for Mugabe. In the end, the tyrant fire Mnangagwa and was in the process of doing the same with the rest when ganged up on him and stage the coup.

The coup, named Operation Restore Legacy, was about keeping the Joint Operation Command Junta in power at all cost. The Junta carried out the dirty work of vote rigging, looting, political violence, murder and the military coups (November coup was the second, the first was in 2008 to stop MDC getting into power). After the coup, the Junta shared out the spoils of power but this was not just about holding powerful position in the Army, party, government, etc. the legacy was about making the Junta retained a firm grip on power at all cost as the only guarantee the members' dirty past will remained a secret.

In fact, it was the prospect of Mugabe booting them out of power and then making public the dirty things they had done for him that galvanized Mnangagwa and company to stage the coup the 15 November coup to force Mugabe to step down. By the same token, it is the prospect of someone else getting into power and dig up their dirty past that is stopping President Mnangagwa from implementing even one democratic reform and risk losing this year's elections.

President Mnangagwa knows that for Zimbabwe's elections to be declared free, fair and credible he must implement all the democratic reforms designed to stop the wanton violence that marked the 2008 elections and also reforms designed to stop the subvert and deny the people's vote.

Zimbabwe's 2013 elections were relatively peaceful, at least compared the mayhem of the 2008 elections. As long as Zanu PF has devised other more subtle ways such as bussing its supporters from one polling station to the next to cast multiple votes, getting Chiefs and other traditional leaders to coerce the voters on the party's behalf, etc. and the party is assured of victory; the party has by-and-large managed to successfully restrain its more militant members and maintain the peace.

President Mnangagwa is hoping that the party will be able to do this again this year and so to him this year's elections must be judged on whether they were peaceful; forget there were no reforms implemented and how blatant the subtle vote rigging shenanigans happen to be! His main message is that SADC leaders must concentrate on whether the elections are peaceful.

"Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace because we know it is good for us and we have no doubt that we will have peaceful elections," said President Mnangagwa his counterpart in Mozambique.

"I assure the regional leadership that the forthcoming harmonised polls will embrace the tenets of democracy, fair play and standards set by us in the SADC. We will ensure that Zimbabwe delivers free, credible, fair and undisputable elections to ensure Zimbabwe engages the world as a qualified democratic state."

SADC leaders must refuse to have their assessment of the elections limited to just whether there was physical violence or not. They must ensure there is no cheating by allowing some people to cast multiple vote, Chiefs the coercing voters to vote, etc. and the only sure way that these things do not happen is to insist that all the democratic reforms are implemented before the elections!

There is no excuse for SADC leaders to buy into President Mnangagwa's story that he can hold free and fair elections given his track record. It was him and his Junta syndicate who masterminded all the vote rigging, political violence and staged the military coups and, to crown it all, it was Zanu PF that stubbornly refused to implement reforms in the past and the party continues to do so to this day.

Zanu PF is rigging the elections already by bribing Chiefs with new trucks, there is no way ZEC is going to produce a verified voters' roll before the election, etc. How can SADC leaders declare the process free, fair and credible without losing their own credibility!