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Demagogues are abandoning democratic values and high ground to defend recalled sell-out MPs

12 Oct 2020 at 07:07hrs | Views
Democracy is the greatest gift the Greeks gave to mankind. "Government of the people, by the people, for the people," as US President Abraham Lincoln defined democracy in his famous Gettysburg speech in 1863.

The Greeks realised, all those 2 500 years ago, that democracy will only work if the people are educated and are allowed to think for themselves freely. They embraced freedom of expression so whole heartedly they named their battle ships Freedom and Freedom of Expression.

Democracy has failed to take root in Zimbabwe for many reasons, one of which is that those brandishing the banner of democracy and claiming to champion it cause have been undermining democracy. Instead of educating the populous they have misinformed and confused them.

"This time last year, Excelgate was about to be published, in the expectation, inter alia, that the MDC Alliance, in particular, would capitalise on the revelations therein, to both fuel their legal challenge against the Constitutional Court's ruling on the disputed 2018 presidential election; and mount a concerted political campaign that would include the exposure to the Zimbabwean population in general and, in particular, the millions whose votes were stolen of an electoral system so rotten that it has reduced elections in Zimbabwe to a mockery of democracy," wrote Dr Ibbo Mandaza.

"Such a legal and political campaign might have at least contained or even pre-empted the impunity with which the Zanu-PF/State has now staged the most blatant assault on the electorate, the voter and democracy itself. Namely, the recall of democratically elected parliamentarians, to be replaced undemocratically, illegally and unconstitutionally by appointment to Parliament of persons who had performed dismally in the 2018 elections. Add to that the cynical act of declaring a loser as the "Leader of the Opposition" in Parliament. The Khupe Coup! A tragicomedy that includes the summary cancellation of by-elections in which the voters hoped, albeit naively given the history of elections in Zimbabwe, to re-affirm the choice they had made in 2018, and thereby have their recalled legislators returned to Parliament in December 2020."

What a mouthful! Spit it out and thoroughly rinse your mouth because it is worse than nonsense.

I confess that I have not read Excelgate but from the extracts and synopsis it is clear the book deals with the irregularities in the counting of the votes in the July 2018 elections, the compilation of the results in the V11 at Polling Station, V23A and B at counting centres and the Excel Spreed sheet at ZEC command centre.

Excelgate did not mention at 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora were denied the vote (more than 2.3 million votes Mnangagwa claimed to win), ZEC had failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters' roll, etc., etc.

The July 2018 elections were a mockery of democracy because it denied millions of voters their right to vote, failed to produce a verified voters' roll, etc. Even is the counting of the votes had gone ahead without a single mistake, deliberate or otherwise, the elections would still be condemned.

The July 2018 elections should have never gone ahead without first implementing the democratic reforms to ensure all those eligible to vote are given the opportunity to do so, ZEC produces a verified voters' roll, etc.  

The truth is Dr Ibbo Mandaza does not know what constitutes free, fair and credible elections. So is given to condemning an election process today and praising the same process to the high heaven tomorrow depending on result, who is the winner, and not the process.

When Tendai Biti and a few others broke away from MDC in 2014, Morgan Tsvangirai recalled the lot. Dr Khupe has used the same constitutional provision to recall MPs and councillors and we are now told this "undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional". Was the recall democratic, legal and constitutional in 2014?

"A tragicomedy that includes the summary cancellation of by-elections!" The real tragedy, and it is no laughing matter, is the voters are being encourage to believe the cancelled by-elections was an attack on democracy when there is no democracy.

Zanu PF blatantly rigged the July 2018 elections to secure a 2/3 parliamentary majority and the presidency. The party has allowed the opposition to win a few gravy train seats, bait to entice them to participate in the elections regardless how flawed and illegal the process got.

All opposition candidates, including those from Khupe's faction, Chamisa factions and the multitude of other parties and independent candidates, who participated in the July 2018 elections are sell-outs. They knew, by participating, they were undermining the fight for free, fair and credible elections.

Mnangagwa and Zanu PF know as long as they are able to attract the opposition to participate in the flawed elections they will derive some legitimacy and will not need to implement any reforms.

Zanu PF has not implemented even one meaningful democratic reform since the July 2018 election. Mnangagwa promised to allow the 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote next time but has done nothing about it. Come 2023, the situation will not have changed much and, mark my words, Zanu PF will blatantly rig those elections.

The December 2020 by-elections will be conducted under exactly the same flawed and illegal conditions as the July 2018 elections. Right on clue, our cheer leaders of democracy are hoping mad that by-elections are being cancelled. No doubt the same cheer leaders and the populous will go berserk if the 2023 elections were to be delayed to allow meaningful reforms to be implemented.

In short, the foolish hysteria in defence of recalled MDC A sell-outs and cancelled by-elections, by the demagogues and ignoramus masquerading as champions of democracy, is helping to perpetuate the Zanu PF dictatorship by portraying the status quo as the epoch of democracy. There should be no elections, national or by-elections, in Zimbabwe until all the reforms are implemented to ensure the elections are free, fair and credible.

We must not give up the moral high ground; the demand for free, fair and credible elections; for the sake of fighting the by-election skirmish. The 2023 elections, the decisive battle, must be free, fair and credible or else be declared null and void and to be absolutely certain of that we must have and held the moral high ground at all times.

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