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Forthcoming Zimbabwean elections not a Chamisa alone spectacle

16 Dec 2022 at 16:03hrs | Views
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa cannot wrestle power from Zanu PF single -handedly without all progressive Zimbabweans putting hands on deck.

Yes, Chamisa is at the front row seat of a movement that is hungry for political change and a lot is expected from his leadership and political gamesmanship.

Many have been quick to dismiss him as a spentforce, lacking in direction, too soft for the revolution with comparisons being made between him and the incarcerated Deputy National Chairperson of the CCC, Job '' Wiwa' Sikhala who spits fire and brimstone when dealing with Zanu-PF. 

It is hinted Wiwa is not scared to speak truth to power and always shoots from the hip.

But then it is an open secret Zanu PF is a mafia institution in which those who pull the strings of power literally have PHDs Cum Laude in repression, violence and use decoys to forment dysfunction whenever necessary.

The has been unwarranted talk on Chamisa' s Twitter activity whereon his faith is displayed and the Bible verses are quoted galore. Lots of people have seen that as a weakness in the face of a behemoth of a monster that is Zanu PF. 

Arguments abound the opposition has to adopt a militant attitude to face the ruling party head-on in light of elections that are barely nine months away. 

The plebiscite is tentatively envisaged to be between June and August next year. 

Naturally, Zim elections are a wonder in the region if not he world in many respects.

Zimbabwe has a plethora of minerals and rich arable lands for agriculture. Of late Lithium has taken centre stage with Chinese miners clinching lucrative deals working hand in glove with authorities. The world is adopting green energy and lithium is a core asset in the manufacturing of batteries. Whether the mega deals with the Chinese standard to benefit the commoners and peasants who are the majority remains to be seen. 

Since Zanu PF got a formidable challenger to the throne of power with the birth of the the Movement of Democratic Change in 1999 with the late fierce, intense and widely-acclaimed leader Morgan Tsvangirayi at the helm, there have been contentious issues that have run the course unresolved for decades.

The voters roll has been a major bone of contention for the opposition who have been working full steam ahead unmasking tranches of irregularities on those purpotedly eligible to vote.

Over 5 million Zimbabweans are said to be eligible to vote and the registration process is still underway but it remains a mystery who exactly can vote.

There has been rubharb on the need for a Diaspora vote since millions of young Zimbabweans have shipped out of the country to everywhere running from political tyranny, persecution and a melting economy triggered by land seizures from white former farmers. 

Authorities have been adamant not to allow the diaspora vote giving a flimsy excuse that the entire process requires monumental finances to run smoothly. 

South Africa' s most recent census revealed that 4 million plus people are non-citizens, ie, they were not born in the country and 40 percent of the said figure are largely Zimbabweans followed by a considerable number of Mozambicans, Nigerians, Somalis, Bangalese and Germans et al. This has had unintended crossover ripple effects in the host nation with local citizens eventually jostling for tiny morsels of meagre resources with the visitors. 

Hospitals and workplaces have been fierce battlegrounds. Zimbabweans have been blamed for eating a large chunk of the budget allocated to healthcare reserved for South Aficans. Zimbabwean public hospitals are standing on one leg and in some places just as good as none existent- running on shoestring budgets with a workforce turning up for work half-heartedly. Salaries are disheartening and there is just no incentive to go on. Reportedly, 4000 trained healthcare proffessionals either resigned for greener pastures or just fell through the cracks in the last personel audit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. 

It should be a crying shame to Zanu -PF that Zimbabwe has now been reduced to a mere incubator for professionals for other countries like the UK where Zim nurses are much sought after.

Such clear figures showing majority of eligible Zimbabwean voters eking out a living outside the borders rattles feathers within Zanu-PF. 

It is common knowledge diasporans are more inclined to be sympathetic to the opposition than the status quo. 

For Zanu-PF to allow such a scenario would be tantamount to being hoist by own petard. A diaspora vote is a harbinger of bad news for the leadership in Harare.

The Zimbabwean economy is in doldrums with major manufacturing industries having folded citing incapacitation. And that has jettisoned Zim' s largely literate population into foreign lands in search of greener pastures.

But then again every dark cloud has a silver lining, diaspora remittances back home have largely propped up Zimbabwe as monies trickle in back to loved ones covering up for the shortcomings of a failed government that cannot look after it's own children.

Over the years, there have been clarion calls to reform the security sector in which opposition players have been shouting from rooftops for the army, police, and secret service no to so conspicuously dabble in national politics glaringly i8n favour of the incumbent party. 

The uniformed forces ie; soldiers and the police have been so politicised to the extent that anyone seen to be in opposition trenches is viewed with suscipicion and treated as a traitor and enemy of the state. 

The last national elections put paid to the indictment. Soldiers wantonly fired live rounds killing eight unarmed civilians injuring and maiming many in broad daylight after people took to the streets in protest over a delay in announcing elections results.

This happened in the full glare of international media and Thulasizwe Simelane of South African Etv became talk of the town when he raced across town towards the source of the deadly fire doing a live broadcast.

To date, noone has been held accountable for the extra-judicial killings. It became very concerning so much so that to save face, the government hurriedly grouped together a commission of enquiry led by former South African caretaker President Nkgalema Mothlante to try and unearth what happened in essence.

Despite the gesture, the buck stopped with the army and the political leadership. 

A gamut of recommendations were made but nothing has been done to this day. Perpetrators are known and walking scot- free at the benevolence of the incumbent political masters in Zanu-PF.

In addition, Zimbabwean elections have never been a free pass for the media. It is common knowledge that a free press is a prerogative for a transparent election anywhere but not in Zimbabwe. International media are in some instances refused entry such that they come in incognito hampering their access to election information.

At times, registration and bureaucracy makes it just difficult to report from Zimbawe. Journalists are wantonly beaten, trailed, harassed and have their equipment confisticated making it an unwritten reality that speaking the truth on the ground is a crime for the governing Zanu PF party. 

Investigative journalist Hopewell Chin' ono has literally been in the courts more than in the newsroom for his sterling work exposing government corruption. 

He has continually proven to be a thorn in the side of the ruling elite shining a light on their underhand dealings using money from taxpayers coffers.

His reporting on Covid-19 funds looters eventuated in then Minister of Health Obadiah Moyo being rescused from his duties. He was found putting stuff in the back pockets using front companies and faces linked to the first family.

It is such an embarrassment to the general populace wallowing in poverty. Zimbabwe has perfected the art of an extractive democracy where a rich ruling elite protects each other disregarding the people they ought to serve. It is an exttortionist system, a kind of you- scratch- my back and I will scratch yours with most Chinese companies and shady dealers smiling all the way to the bank. Whole villages have been displaced and decimated to make way for Chinese settlers in mining ventures that leave citizens feeling robbed and marooned in the land of their birth.

The world knows syndicates smuggle gold willy-nilly out of Zim unaccounted for with the blessings of government hawks.

Only recently, a newsman from online news website NeZimbabwe.Com was arrested for allegedly writing a story that put President Munangagwa in bad light. He denies ever writing the article and that goes to show how unsafe the operation environment for news practitioners is towards the national plebiscite. There is a palpable fear amongst those not towing the party line despite it being an journalistic axiom not ever to leave politicians alone. 

On the other hand, the only national broadcaster, Zimbabwe' s Broadcasting Corporation( ZBC) is simply a megaphone toeing and amplifying the Zanu-PF party hogwash in spirited efforts to hoodwink the electorate. It is akin to Germany' s Pravda during Hitler's tenure.

Chamisa rarely gets coverage, if and when it happens, it's in bad light to portray the opposition figures as enemies of the state.

In addition, the heavily Militarised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Zimbabwe( ZEC), the mother body with a mandate to run elections is heavily compromised just from it's membership cherry- picked by the Executive. There have been queries and reservations expressed for it's role over the years in delaying, tallying and announcements of election results hinting it's lapdog role of taking orders from State House than serving the electorate. 

Institutions like this including the police and army should simply dispense their duties without showing favour for preferred candidates. Of course, there are rich pickings fo the leadership of these bodies at the expense of the majority of people in dire straits from a ravaging economy and a drought in some parts of the country. 

In another show of pulling wool over the electorate, the Zimbabwean government is embroiled in another controversy as it dangled the carrot by giving out unsecured loans for housing without any collateral to legistilators. 

Reportedly Cabinet Ministers are getting USD$500 000, Deputy Ministers USD$ 350 000 while Members of Parliament are getting an additional USD$ 40 000. This money is meant to subdue excessive criticism to the ruling party in Parliament as MPs are beholden to the governing party. Money makes everything possible and the people are left with a pseudo-democracy in Parliament. Zanu- PF is hell-bent on soiling opposition players by all means necessary as long as it scores early goals and mutilate their public appeal.o Everyone has their hands in the cookie- jar. 

The shelling of monies by the government has happened before when when legistlators, church leaders and even fugitive former Ethiopian leader Mengistu got a fair share of monies purportedly for farm mechanisation programmes. 

The money was never paid back.

On the regional front, Zanu PF is proving to be very adept at manipulating sentiments amongst peers in the region.It is busy playing the blue- eyed boys of the electorate by cosying up to the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.

It is a known fact Zanu-PF has never been sypmphathetic to the ANC cause when they were fighting apartheid. ZAPU led by the late Joshua Nkomo has been confirmed buddies with ANC so much so that when in Morogoro and other guerilla training camps in Tanzania and Zambia, ANC comrades influenced Nkomo to start his first party the ANC of Southern Rhodesia which later morphed into ZAPU. 

Mugabe of Zanu-PF was never a darling of the ANC cause. So this lovey- doveying with ANC stalwarts displaying effectionate camaraderie is a show of fake love to cover up ZANU PF failures. 

At one time an army jetplane flew to Harare with Gwede Mantashe and erstwhile ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule to meet Zanu-PF leaders in a show of bromance that left a sour taste in the mouth. 

Instead of playing peer reviewers to Zanu -PF comrades by exposing their failures and the threat their shortcomings pose to the region, ANC officials took that as a photo opportunity as they were beamed all smiles in Harare.

The Zanu- PF-ANC affair on one hand benefits Zanu PF as SA carries the burden of taking care of Zimbabwe' s children by giving cheap labour, healthcare, education and housing for desperate Zimbabwean refugees.

However, South Africa benefits more businesswise as a malfunctioning Zimbabwe means South Africa gets all the business with Zimbabwe importing almost everything from South Africa. 

South Africa is Zimbabwe's major trading partner with accounts ledger books in favour of South Africa.

Now than ever before, the oncoming election is a regional spectacle. It's a choice between continuity of the atrocious shenanigans of the old guard in Zanu-PF or a complete breakaway from the wanton ways of governance that brings so much discomfort in the region. 

An injection of new blood at the national leadership is a Herculian task that will only come about by Zimbabweans voting massively while other players like South Africa and regional groupings ensure a safe space is created for the opposition.

Chamisa, a young man from Gutu cannot grab power alone from Zanu-PF vultures without the contribution of all progressive forces, Zimbabweans in particular. 

Zimbabwe has a Presidential leadership. It has a bicameral way of government meaning it has an upper house which is the Senate and a lower house which is Parliament. But in it all the power resides in the people who choose a President who then wields immense power to then appoint an executive ie, cabinet, judiciary, and various other top posts in government.

The scenario behoves every Zimbabwean to play a part however small in making sure Zanu-PF is defeated. One man at the top has been responsible for our dire predicament. 

Of course, there are other little-known opposition placeholders who in some instances are simply Zanu- PF Trojan horses to deceive the less discerning. 

But it does not need rocket science to see that the next Zim election is majorly a two-horse race between President Mnangagwa and Chamisa. 

Mnangagwa is known for being Mugabe's hatchet man notorious for his unforgiving nature as confirmed by the late Mugabe. He is a master of the dark arts known for his daring war exploits done Nicodemusly but earned him the nickname ' Crocodile' because of his unassuming nature.

He presided over Gukurahundi in Matabeleland as Defence Minister in which over 20 thousand Ndebele people were killed for wanting self determination as a people. 

Conversely, Chamisa the young man from Gutu undoubtedly presents a fat chance at trouncing dictatorship. He is a fresh-faced torchbearer for millions of people tired from the tyranny of Zanu-PF. He needs an Adama Barrow moment of the Gambia where fellow nations and the long suffering citizens convalesced unseat the notoxrious dictator Yahya Jammeh who eventually airlifted his motley calvacade of expensive cars to Morocco, the birthplace of his wife.

In the end it was surreal watching Jammeh seated alone in a jetplane running away from the wrath of the people whose rights he trampled on for years.

Chamisa too deserve a helping hand to stand against the cunning devil that is Zanu-PF. 

The next few months will test the psyche of he nation as the the electioneering and cheap politicking by Zanu-PF enters a nervy home stretch to a most likely bloody finale. 

The future is pregnant with possibilities but nothing is guaranteed. Recent incidences of violence by Zanu-PF in Masvingo and Binga where there have been by elections only promise a blood bath. Zimbabwe has been on this road before. Party wolves are on the prowl and I think a wholesale attack on Chamisa' s abilities based on his Twitter activity only is simply unwarranted and inconsiderate. It boggles the mind how everyone expects him to reel out his action plan each time he features in the public. Instead, as a country, we should be proud and happy to have him as he is the genuine challenger to Zanu- PF hegemenoy going forward. It just has to be him.

His job is dangerous and in many instances, shrewdness and silence itself is a way of communication. It is unfortunate that Zimbabweans can berate and belittle him for all they care but are there better alternatives in the fabled land of the literate? 

The cost of delegating the revolution to Chamisa alone will be too ghastly to contemplate if and when he fails. 

Josiah Mucharowana is a media graduate living in Pretoria and writes in his own personal capacity. Feedback; WhatsApp 084 587 4121

Source - Josiah Mucharowana in Pretoria
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