Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Mugwiji, Mugabe's rigging mastery vs Gambia's Jammeh, an amateur is chalk and cheese

09 Dec 2016 at 17:02hrs | Views
The election of opposition candidates in countries like Gambia and Seychelles has re-energized people like Mugwiji who think we in Zimbabwe can do the same EVEN with not even one democratic reform implemented; all we need to do is unite the opposition. It is this simplistic naivety that has landed us in this hell-on-earth and, unless we snap out of it, will keep us there.

Zimbabwe cannot afford another five years of this hell because we made yet another miscalculation by participating in elections without taking the precaution of implementing the reforms and thus make sure they are free, fair and credible. SADC leaders warned us against taking part in the elections without implementing the reforms in 2013, we must not make the same mistake again.

If President Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies refuse to have any reforms implemented, which they are, then no opposition party worth its salt must contest the 2018 elections. "It is not that simple!" those who want the opposition to contest have argued. The truth is, it is that simple!

People like my brother Mugwiji have made up their minds that the solution to the country's deepening economic and political crisis is for the opposition participating in elections no matter what! The trouble with adopting such hardwired mind set is that one is not receptive to reason and will ignore the facts, regardless of how important they are, in search of anything supportive of the set objective.

Initially, these people refused to accept that Zanu PF rigged elections in the past and, unless stopped by implementing reforms, will rig the next election. They did not want to have to acknowledge the need to implement reforms and so the quickest and easiest way out was to say there was no such thing as vote rigging.

"What we know is that Zanu PF is most unlikely to institute further reforms. Common sense tells us, they will not reform themselves out of power," admitted Mugwiji.

"We therefore, must expect a flawed electoral playing field going into 2018. Never the less, an election boycott is still unacceptable, a no brainer at least in my humble opinion."

Congratulate my brother, you do acknowledge that without reforms Zanu PF will rig the next elections; that is a quantum leap many others in your camp will never make. The mental effort must have left you panting like a hen that has just laid an exceptional large egg in midday African heat! Sad that the leap was still not good enough because you still want to contest the elections.

"If we are to participate in the next general elections, then we must draw lessons from the opposition in Seychelles and Gambia who recently won elections against authoritarian regimes in their respective countries," you argue.

Are you sure you are comparing like for like and not chalk and cheese! As far as I know neither the authoritarian regimes in Gambia and Seychelles had the depth, variety and sadistic barbarism of Zanu PF's vote rigging genre. Has the Gambia dictator ever taken six weeks to recount a 73% opposition victory and come up with a 47%? Has he ever used such barbaric violence to force the people to vote for him that even SADC and AU elections observers, unknown for seeing no wrong, were forced in 2008 to tell Mugabe the elections were not free and fair!

When it comes to rigging elections; Gambia's outgoing dictator, Yahya Jammeh, was an amateur compared to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, the grant master. Mugabe has taken vote rigging to new levels the world is not likely to see for generations.

Mugwiji is down playing the importance of Mugabe's vote rigging skill because he has concluded that there is nothing anyone can do to stop the tyrant's vote rigging juggernaut and so dismiss it as unimportant.

"I hope no one thinks that the opposition is capable of forcing these reforms through Zanu PF's throat. Remember, all it took to stop the NERA demonstrations was a single police order issued by a little known Chief Superintend Newbert Saunyama who commands the Harare district," he wrote.

Whitlaw Mugwiji is just one of the many, many Zimbabweans who have never understood what the GNU was about, even now with the benefit of hindsight. Whilst many have followed the events of what happened what they found impossible to swallow was the consequence of the story. What these people have done is to airbrush airbrush the GNU years out of Zimbabwe's history.

The GNU years are an integral part of Zimbabwe's history, a very important one in our search for whether an opposition was/is capable of implementing the democratic reforms.

The 2008 GPA was about Zanu PF, the two MDC factions and SADC, as the regional guarantor to the agreement, implementing a raft of democratic reforms and drafting a new democratic constitution designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and deliver free, fair and credible elections. It was incumbent on the two MDC factions led by he whose name must be withheld, for fear doing so may trigger an uncontrolled mental attack in some people, to implement the reforms. Zanu PF could not have done this for the obvious reason stated above.

SADC leaders, notably President Ian Khama of Botswana and SA's Lindiwe Zulu, did they best to remind MDC leaders to implement the reforms but their warnings fell on deaf ears. SADC warned MDC of the folly of taking part in the elections with no reforms but, once again, they were ignored.

After five years of the GNU MDC leaders failed to get even one democratic reform implemented. No even one! Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the 2013 elections just as they will do so again in 2018 unless reforms are implemented.

There is no other logical explanation why MDC leaders failed to implement even one reform during the GNU other than the obvious one – they are corrupt and incompetent. Of course, MDC leaders sold-out!

It is important to acknowledge that MDC had the opportunity to implement the reforms during the GNU because that is a valid historic fact. But also because doing so prepares us to lookout for future chances and make sure we do not waste them too.

President Mugabe is making a complete mockery what democratic elections should be. He has rigged elections to further his no-regime-change mantra and as soon as he has the election victory safely in the bag he has embarked on a charm offensive to portray the elections as having been free and fair and so get his international acceptance and legitimacy. Mugabe has learned that as long as he allows the opposition to win a few seats he can rig to get his lion's share the opposition parties will never boycott elections. So, he will have his no-regime-change and still keep all the outward appearance of a contested election and thus the legitimacy.

Zimbabwe's opposition parties are so desperate to get back into power they will do anything. They have accepted they will never for the next government and so they are risking life and limp for the scraps. They also know that by taking part in the elections they are also betraying the common people who are being denied a meaningful vote, but they do not care.  

If anyone is serious about restoring the people's right to free and fair elections; break the mould! If we cannot force Zanu PF to implement the reforms force the opposition to boycott the elections or force the people themselves to elect quality leaders.

Yes, Comrade Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwiji, you and many others have set your minds on contesting the coming elections regardless of the fact the elections will be rigged and worse still there will be wanton violence. Frankly the outcome of the elections is irrelevant given the nation will be ruled by corrupt and incompetent individuals whatever happens.

There IS shame in admitting one's mistakes, especially ones such disastrous consequences as the failed GNU or 36 years of corruption and tyranny, but it is sheer folly let the sense of shame stop us learning from out past mistakes. Zimbabwe is in this hell-hole because we, the people, elected corrupt and incompetent leaders in the past it would be unforgivable to recycle the same failed individuals likes Morgan Tsvangirai, Joice Mujuru, etc. be it with new repackaging as opposition or coalition.

Source - Nomusa Garikai
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.