The ostrich is a creature of habit, it will bury its head in the sand as a matter of habit. It is now clear that Morgan Richard Tsvangirai too is a creature of habit, like the ostrich, he too habitually buries his head in the sand.
“The principals urge the people of Zimbabwe to register in their numbers as we prepare for the watershed 2018 elections at the heart of the motivation behind the formation of the MDC Alliance was to avoid splitting the vote in favour of the status quo,” said Tsvangirai, after a principals’ meeting on Friday.
Tsvangirai is still banking millions of opposition supporters registering in the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration exercise and then going on to vote for the opposition and thus overhaul all Zanu PF’s vote rigging shenanigans. Naturally, one of Zanu PF’s vote rigging shenanigans is to stop would-be opposition voters registering in any significant numbers; there is growing evidence that the plan is working!
Given the fact that the country is starting a clean voters’ roll using the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system, the registration exercise should have started early 2015, at the latest. The exercise only started last month, with less than a year before the next elections. Even with the best will in the world, there is no way ZEC can register 7 million voters in the four months allocated to complete the task.
As if the very late start in voter registration was not bad enough, the registration has been dogged by such operational matters such as ZEC official turning up late at registration centres, the registration process taking two hours instead of the projected 5 minutes, centres running out of the VR9 forms, etc., etc. There is no doubt that the delays were deliberate and they have supped the enthusiasm opposition supporter had to register.
Less than ¼ million of the expected 7 million registered in the first month and, at this rate, the opposition will be lucky to get 2 million supporters registered. Many of these will be denied the vote, come voting day, because their details will not be in the polling station they expected. Meanwhile Zanu PF has said it will get 5 million of its supporters registered and, no doubt, it will.
The regime has paid traditional leaders and party thugs are corral villagers to register and, come voting day, will frogmarch them to vote for Zanu PF. The regime will register its supporters multiple times just to make up the numbers on the voters’ roll and, come voting day, many of these ghost voters will vote too!
With the voter registration exercise starting so late there is no way, even with the best will in the world, ZEC is ever going to produce a verified voters’ roll. And given the vote rigging antics described above, it is clear why the regime would not want to release a verified voters’ roll; it is the smoking gun to the vote rigging.
So, there is overwhelming evidence that the opposition will never ever get many of their supporters to register as voters and then, come voting day, to vote. Zanu PF vote rigging well and truly underway already and there is really nothing the opposition is doing to stop it or counter it. Indeed, Morgan Tsvangirai and his opposition friends continue to call for mass registration, etc. although it is clear these are all futile measures.
Worse still, this is not the first time Zanu PF has rigged elections or the opposition have pretended not to see the elections were being rigged; the same thing happened in July 2013. On that occasion, Tsvangirai and his MDC friends were warned not to contest the flawed elections until reforms are implemented to stop the vote rigging. MDC leaders ignored the warning and contested the elections; which Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig, as we know.
So, in 2013 and again now, Tsvangirai & co. are burying their heads in the sand and pretending not to notice that Zanu PF is rigging the vote. Why?
Tsvangirai & co. sold-out during the GNU when they failed to get even one democratic reform implemented in five years. Mugabe bribed them with the trappings of high office, a farmed seized from a white farmer for Welshman Ncube, a $4 million mansion for Morgan Tsvangirai, etc. Although few of the MDC leaders, like David Coltart, were smart enough to realise the folly of contesting the July 2013 elections with no reforms in place but even with the benefit of hindsight he still chose to bury his head in the sand.
“The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections,” explained Senator Coltart in his recent book.
“The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”
If MDC leaders did not boycott the July 2013 elections because they had not formed the coalition; what is the excuse for contesting 2018, the MDC Alliance was formed two months ago!
The truth is Tsvangirai & co. will never boycott the elections on the “No reform, no elections!” grounds. To do this, they will have, sooner or later, to admit that it was their faulty that not even one reform was implemented during the GNU; this is the one thing they have singularly failed to do.
However, the world can see that Zanu PF is rigging the 2018 elections and the whole election is a sham. Unlike in 2013 when they allowed the vote rigging to pass; they, especially SADC leaders who know the price of yet another rigged Zimbabwe election will be costly to the country and the whole region, will condemn next year’s rigged elections.
The people of Zimbabwe must start preparing themselves for GNU Mark 2; it is coming, of that we can be certain! We must be make sure that this time around, we implement all the democratic reforms timeously without failure.