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#ShutDownHarare, shutting the mind

06 Jun 2018 at 06:58hrs | Views
Yesterday, the MDC Alliance took to the streets in an attempt to "shut down" the capital city, Harare, unless their demands for the implementation of so-called electoral reforms before the watershed harmonised elections on July 30 were met.

Ranting and flexing his amateurish political muscles, the MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, spurred on by his erstwhile lieutenant Tendai Biti, called for a protest march for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to adhere to its demands, or else they bring business in the capital to a standstill.

Indeed, they marched, and delivered their petition to ZEC offices at Mahachi Quantum Building, freely and without incident, but the capital remained open; with business going on as usual.

When democracy prevails over political gamesmanship

Politics has a way with individual psyches; it somehow creates myopia in individuals, be they the politicians themselves or their followers; it is a make-belief game where winners and losers alike take to the podium to celebrate in their own losing/winning way.

But when losers begin to believe in themselves; in that they are actually winning in their losing way, then politics becomes a dirty game, where numbers become only figures; meaningless and far from reach and the rules appear to be one-sided.

Since numbers are important in political games, they have to be seen for their appealing and confidence-boosting nature.

Well, Chamisa has called for the MDC Alliance, especially his MDC-T supporters, to come to the party in their numbers, to "colour the city red", and cripple business; hoping maybe that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) would abet their cause, but alas, democracy prevailed.

It is laudable that the ZRP did the insane thing of giving the opposition outfit the green light to exercise their democratic right to free expression, by allowing them to march in protest and barring Zanu-PF from the streets.

Police tankers were conspicuous by their absence, and very few unarmed police details could be seen, not so much to intimidate the marchers, but to maintain order.

It was indeed refreshing that our politics, with the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa, has matured and allows for free expression in a democratic way.

In response to the alliance's announcement, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Acting Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, who is also Zanu-PF's Secretary for Information and Publicity, said: "It's up to them to protest."

Reforms: Crying foul when the referee's flag is down
It is less than 60 days to the polls, and the MDC Alliance is calling for electoral reforms, yet at the same time they claim that their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, will be in office come August.

They are demanding, among other issues, access to the voters' roll, an explanation for an increase in polling stations and equal access to the media.

Not that demanding equitability is wrong, No! But it is the timing that is rather ill-advised; for a lot has been done to meet most of their demands, with them playing the politics of subterfuge; indicating right and turning left.

Now that the game is on, for them to cry foul even before the elections smacks of the crybaby syndrome, which has always been their default mode.

Access to the voters' roll will be given to nominated representatives; on the issue of polling stations, there really is nothing amiss, and the media has opened up for all parties, without necessarily having to play an advertorial role.

It is up to parties to be visible to the electorate without having to rely on the media; they need to do their own groundwork.

If, indeed, the MDC Alliance has the numbers that it claims to command, now is the time for them to mobilise them, by selling their manifesto and putting their house in order, as regards their primaries.

Elections are not run on social media, they are run on the ground, using the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which is clear on how the ZEC functions.

With the Nomination Court sitting on June 14, to receive nomination papers of presidential, National Assembly and local authority candidates from the more than 130 political parties vying for governance opportunity, the opposition alliance should not occupy itself with the outcome of July 30, which as it stands, points to a Zanu-PF victory.

They should instead come down their high horses on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, for the numbers there do not translate to votes.

The numbers that converged in Africa Unity Square yesterday, surely, could not be relied upon to "shut down" the capital, let alone bring the desired or dreamt-up change.

The numbers were so pathetic that they should have left a sour political taste in the mouth of the organisers.

In short, the MDC Alliance has proved it cannot raise the numbers.

Calling for change, refusing change
And it so happened that on the day of the protest march in Africa Unity Square; which as of now is yesterday, there were among those called to the podium, to call for reforms; reforms they seem to have thought of now, expelled Zanu-PF bigwigs; chief among them one, who is forever looking for the right "basket", former Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.

In a case of sour grapes, perchance, and believing that G40 basket can change outcomes, he dreamt of numbers long lost, to dislodge President Mnangagwa, failing to realise that the change that ousted him and his cohorts was probably all that Zimbabweans wanted.

With the new Government in power since November 2017, change has already come and is here to stay.

It is that kind of change that Zimbabweans from all walks of life called for, marched for and will protect.

There was really nothing tangible that Bhasikiti, Chamisa and their fellow MDC Alliance leaders said to find base in the electorate, serve to prattle about this country becoming ungovernable should ZEC fail to implement electoral reforms before July 30.

With time running out of their nests, and the elections around the corner, talk of reforms, real or imagined, is rather wishful thinking and an admission of defeat.

It is a case of preparing for a cushioned fall.

Source - the herald
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