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Holding free elections is an event; in Zimbabwe it's a 42-year process still with no end date

29 Mar 2022 at 10:38hrs | Views
The number one reason Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess is the country's failure to hold free, fair and credible elections. The country started on the wrong foot by failing to ensure the 1980 elections were free and fair; Zanu PF rigged those elections and has amassed dictatorial powers to rig elections thereafter.

Ensuring elections are free and fair is an event but to hid corruption and incompetence on the matter, many of the key players have argued ensuring free and fair elections is a process. The tragic reality is that after 42 years of rigged elections we are no nearer delivering this fundamental right to our people today than we were in 1980!

The number one task Zanu PF was asked to deliver was to bring freedom and liberty to the downtrodden black majority and "One man, one vote!" was the rallying call. To achieve this goal, the party had to end white colonialism.

However, long before the nation had even attained independence, Mugabe and his fellow black nationalists focused to ending white colonial rule with the view of securing absolute power for themselves. Their campaign message in 1980, the first elections to usher independence was that if Zanu PF did not win the bush war would continue. They throw "One man, one vote!" out of the window without so much as by your leave to the masses!

The ordinary Zimbabweans' hopes and dreams of freedom, liberty and a meaningful say in the governance of the country were dashed before they had even tasted them and the country has remained a de facto one party dictatorship to this day.

By the late 1990s, the penny had finally dropped; the people realised that Zanu PF was not only denying them their basic freedoms and rights but was dragging the nation into abject poverty and, more significantly, that as long as Zimbabwe remained a de facto one party dictatorship in which Zanu PF enjoyed carte blanche powers to rig elections, amongst many other things, the nation will continue to sink deeper and deeper into the economic and political abyss.

The number one task for Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was to implement the democratic changes necessary to end the Zanu PF dictatorship, particularly these changes designed to stop the regime rigging elections. MDC leaders had their golden chance to implement the democratic reforms during the 2008 to 2013 GNU.

Robert Mugabe bribed the MDC leaders with the trappings of high office and, with the snouts in the feeding trough, they forgot about the reforms. The ease with which Mugabe achieved his objective, speaks volumes of just how corrupt, incompetent and utterly useless the MDC leaders are.

Nelson Chamisa took over the leadership of MDC when Tsvangirai died in 2018, the party's primary task was still the same – to implement the democratic changes to restore the individual freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections. The change of party's top leadership did not bring about any change in it's performance; indeed it got even worse.

The party not only continue to participate flawed 2018 elections to give vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy but worse still, soon after the elections the MDC leaders turned on each other in a factional war of attrition. The factional war started with Nelson Chamisa's unconstitutional seizure of party presidency following Tsvangirai's death. The MDC-T had then split with Chamisa taking the main faction forming the MDC Alliance (MDC A) and Dr Thokozani Khupe remaining the educed MDC-T.

The High Court judgement of March 2020 confirmed that Chamisa's seizure of power was indeed unconstitutional and that Dr Thokozani Khupe was to assume presidency reconstituted MDC-T until new leaders are elected. When Chamisa and his followers refused to re-join the party, Dr Khupe recalled all the elected leaders in a mass cull!

The Zanu PF government prohibited by elections to replace the recalled 20 MPs and 100 MDC A officials under the pretext containing the spread of the corona virus. By elections were finally cleared to go ahead on 26 March 2022, nearly two years after the recalls.

In January 2022 Nelson Chamisa launched a new political party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led mainly by MDC A the individuals who had remained loyal to him after the 2020 High Court judgement. The new party contested the 26 March 2022 by elections and retained most of the parliamentary and council seats MDC A, the forerunner of CCC, had won in the 2023 elections.

The by elections were marred by the usual Zanu PF inspired political violence and blatant cheating; CCC rallies were disrupted, CCC supporters were tear gassed by the Police and assaulted by Zanu PF thugs, ZEC failed to produce verified voters' roll, many voters failed to vote because their details were removed from the 2018 voters' roll, etc., etc. CCC leaders were clearly concerned about these flaws and illegalities before and during the voting process, however when the results were announced the party leaders and supporters promptly forgot about them.

The March 2022 by elections has left Chamisa and his CCC friends more convinced now than ever that they can "winning rigged elections", they are hell bent on participating in the 2023 elections knowing very well Zanu PF is rigging and that by participating they will give legitimacy to the vote rigging Zanu PF.
It pays in the end to get the best in the beginning.

The price of failing to hold free and fair elections is 42 years of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorships that has the country's once upon a time thriving economy in ruins and 50% of our people now live in abject poverty with basic services such as health care and education all but collapsed. The situation is unsustainable.

Zimbabwe cannot afford another rigged 2023 elections followed by another five years of this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship.

Whilst there is nothing one can do to stop Zanu PF going ahead with the flawed elections and we cannot stop Chamisa and company participating to flawed elections. What we, the ordinary Zimbabweans, can highlight the flaws and illegalities in the election process and make sure no one is left in any doubt these elections are rigged and the results have no democratic legitimacy.

By denying Zanu PF democratic legitimacy we will break the now 42 years tradition of rigged elections, give ourselves a chance to finally implement the democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections. Zimbabweans have been denied their right to a meaningful vote by the white colonialists and then by this Zanu PF dictatorship. How many more years and generations must they wait!

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