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'Mnangagwa must learn to embrace democracy' - after 41 years, it's for us to learn to confound elephant in room

23 Jun 2021 at 16:46hrs | Views
"An elephant in the room! means a very large issue that everyone is acutely aware of, but nobody wants to talk about. Perhaps a sore spot, perhaps politically incorrect, or perhaps a political hot potato, it's something that no one wants to touch with a ten foot pole," according to Urban Dictionary.

The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, political paralysis and the heartbreaking human suffering and deaths is 41 years and counting of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF rule. As much as the people know that Zanu PF misrule is at the heart of all the nation's economic, political and social problems and they cannot remove the regime from office because it rigs elections; very few Zimbabweans have had the guts to say so.

Zanu PF rigging elections is the elephant in the room for Zimbabwe.

"The second republic led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa needs to be proactive than being reactive and employing knee jerk policies," wrote Leonard Koni in Zimeye.

"This cold winter have seen the government giving a thumb up to the demolition of people's homes and livelihoods in Mbare Harare.

"A country run on partisan grounds and nepotism will struggle to stand on its feet. President Emmerson Mnangagwa must learn to embrace  a diverse, dynamic and democratic youthful and streamlined cabinet with new ideas, skills and experience required to achieve our goals."

After 41 years of dishing out all this advice, most of it is common sense really; it is clear Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies are not listening and/or learning nothing. Comrade Koni, it is us, the people of Zimbabwe, you should be asking why we have failed to learn the simple and obvious lesson that Zanu PF leaders are not listening and/or are refusing to learn?

We have not dared ask why Zanu PF is ignoring us because we fear the followup question: after 41 years of being ignored, what are we going to about about it? After 41 years of the regime rigging the elections to stay in power, what are we going to do to end this curse?

The right to free, fair and credible elections is at the very heart of good governance and that is why the right to a meaningful say in the governance of one's country is included in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) along with the freedom of expression and the right to life.

By rigging elections Zanu PF has effectively denied the ordinary Zimbabweans their right to a meaningful vote and governance of the country. The party has turned the right into a privilege it can deny to some as the regime sees fit.

In September 2018, President Mnangagwa promised that the 3 million or so Zimbabweans in the diaspora will have their right to vote restored (proof the only reason they were denied the vote until then was the lack of political will on the part of the Zanu PF leaders). With two years to go to the 2023 elections it is too late to do anything to get the 3 million in the diaspora to register; they will, once again, be denied the vote.

The regime had the time to amend the constitution in no fewer than 30 different sections to consolidate President Mnangagwa's dictatorial strangle hold on power but it failed to amend the electoral law to extend the postal vote to the Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

President Mnangagwa won the 2018 elections with 2.4 million votes or 50.8% of the cast votes. The 3 million diaspora votes are therefore 3 out of 8 potential voters or 38% - a very significant number indeed.

By denying the 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote, Zanu PF has already rigged the 2023 elections long before the first ballot is cast. It is almost certain Zanu PF will push for the 2023 elections to go ahead with no democratic reforms in place.

The 2023 elections have been rigged in advance and therefore must be condemned in advance. Participating in an election process that has already been rigged in advance is an act of idiotic folly!  

The people of Zimbabwe have ignored the elephant in the room, the curse of rigged elections, and the nation has paid for this folly in terms of the economic mess, political chaos and the tragic human misery and deaths. We must confront and confound the elephant in the room.

The people of Zimbabwe must demand the implementation of the democratic reforms to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. Just because Zanu PF and MDC have failed to deliver free, fair and credible elections these last 41 years does not mean no one else can do so.

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