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'2018 elections will NOT be free,' says Senior Researcher - please tell Tsvangirai that!

13 Nov 2017 at 07:31hrs | Views
There is "no chance of Zimbabwe holding free and fair elections next year," says Derek Matyszak, Senior Research Consultant for the Institute for Security Studies in Zimbabwe.

It is madness for anyone to expect elections to be free, fair and credible without implementing the democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF's carte blanche powers to rig the vote and use violence to augment its more subtle vote rigging schemes if need be. Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends were confident they were going to go on and win the 2013 elections when without implementing one democratic reform.

"We were sure there MDC vote was so massive, it would overwhelm all Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans," admitted Morgan Tsvangirai after the July 2013 elections. He was the one who started complaining of how Zanu PF had "stolen the vote" even before the results were announced, overwhelmed by the audacity and scale of the blatant vote rigging he had witnessed.

Having foolishly failed to implement even one democratic reform throughout the five years of the GNU and ignored SDAC leaders' advice to implement the reforms, failure to do so, not to contest the elections with no reforms; MDC lost all political credibility. It must be said that most MDC leaders, even today with the benefit of hindsight, still have no clue what the reforms are about much less how they were going to be implemented even during the GNU, when the task was straightforward.

Although most opposition parties have joined in the call for reforms to be implemented with some even passing a "No reform, no election!" party congress resolution; they have all quietly dropped the demand. It was getting to be embarrassing being told by the Zanu PF leaders that there would be no reforms implemented. Not that the opposition knew what reforms they wanted implemented.

"There is no possibility of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe under current conditions," explained Derek Matyszak.
"Zanu-PF controls all the key institutions of state, including those which are nominally independent. This control extends to the ZEC, the judiciary, the police, military, all electronic media broadcasters and local government. The last is particularly important, as Zanu-PF's influence over traditional leaders helps to secure the rural vote, which constituted 70% of the voting population in the 2013 elections."

Everyone in the opposition camp has accepted that with not even one democratic reform in place Zanu PF will rig the vote, that is fiat accompli. Morgan Tsvangirai group has even been boasting of having devised Winning In Rigged Elections (WIRE for short) strategies.
One of the strategies is clearly to mobilize as many of the opposition supporters to register as voter in the on-going BVR exercise. This will be augmented with another drive to get the supporters to vote coming voting day. This is not a new strategy but rather the same mass party vote "to overwhelm all Zanu PF vote rigging shenanigans" of the 2013 elections. It did not work then and it is clear already it will not work.

The regime has delayed the start of BVR exercise, there is no way ZEC will be able to register the expected 7 million voters in four months and produce a verified voters' roll in time for the elections, even with the best political will in the world. To make matters worse, voter registration in opposition stronghold has been a frustrating affair with ZEC officials running out of the VR9 forms. Without a verified voters' roll the sky is the limit to what the vote rigging shenanigans the regime will employ!
Of course, it is insane to keep contesting elections knowing all along that the process is flawed. The only reason the opposition parties are determined to contest regardless is because they know Zanu PF gives away a few gravy train seats to entice the opposition to take part. It is these few seats the opposition are after and do not care that the price of these scraps is forfeiting implementing reforms and holding free, fair and credible elections, as David Coltart, an MDC Minister of Education in the GBU, readily admitted in his book.
"The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn't now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections," explained Senator Coltart.

"The 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."

The people of Zimbabwe risked life and limb to elect Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friend of the understanding that they would deliver the democratic changes including free, fair and credible elections the nation has been dying for, literally. Not only has MDC failed to bring about even one democratic change in the party's 17 years on the political stage but worst of all, they are now helping Zanu PF to deny the people the vote by giving the regime's flawed and illegal election processes credibility by participating against all the advice not to!

President Mugabe had often dismissed Morgan Tsvangirai as a "British puppet". During the GNU, when SADC and everyone tried but failed to get MDC to implement even one reform, people then remarked Mugabe was pulling the puppet's strings and it was performing a jig-jive! The people of Zimbabwe risked life and limb to elect Tsvangirai thinking he was a reformer who would bring about democratic change. It has not yet dawned to many Zimbabweans that the reformer has been Mugabe's jig-jiving puppet ever since the GNU days!     

Source - Patrick Guramatunhu
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