Sunday, 31 December 2017

My simple wish for 2018: that Zimbabweans see the futility of contesting flawed elections W Mukori

Power and authority in the hands of ruthless thugs is a curse because wrestling power from thugs and tyrants who claim to have the legal authority to exercise power is one of the toughest challenges one will ever encounter. Ever since the military coup last month, President Mnangagwa and his posse of coup plotters have been trying to rewrite history and put a heroic gloss over the coup; just to hide the fundamental truth that Zanu PF is still a party of thugs.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces is a people's army, and this was shown during Operation Restore Legacy, ZDF Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda has said,” reported Bulawayo 24 quoting Sunday Mail.

“He said he would continue championing professionalism in the ZDF's rank and file, setting up an organised military that always stands for the people.

"(Sister military organisations) have been congratulating us and wishing us well going forward. They were generally happy that the operation did not have any bloodshed; that had been their major concern,” he said.

Since when has staging a military coup been the duties of a professional Army anywhere in the world!

It had not been possible to remove Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs from office these last 37 years by the normal democratic means because the tyrant blatantly rigged the vote. It was none other than Le Commandant Sibanda and his fellow November 2017 coup plotters who had time and time again helped rig the elections. There was nothing professional about deploying Army personnel to harass, beat, rape and even murder civilians to coerce them to vote for Zanu PF! The only reason the coup conspirators staged a coup against Mugabe this time is because the tyrant was in the process of booting the plotters out the party and power.

"We have always said we are a people's defence force. We relate with the people and the people relate to us. That is what you saw on that Saturday (November 18, 2017). That was just a manifestation of something that we are already very much aware of.

‘‘We have a very good relationship with the people of Zimbabwe and will continue to do so."

If the truth be told, it was not so much that the people had forgotten ZDF is an Army of thugs or that they believed the coup was some Damascene moment for the likes of Chiwenga and Sibanda; our people are easily fooled but not this time. The only reason the people treated the ZDF thugs as heroes on 18 November is that the hated Mugabe so much they did not mind kissing the blood-stained hands of thugs who dislodged the dictator. Deep, deep down many people knew it was wishful thinking to equate the demise of the dictator with the end of the Zanu PF dictatorship too. Their suspicions were soon confirmed.   

Soon after the coup President Mnangagwa promoted a new train-load of majors and generals to swell up the ranks of Zimbabwe’s already bloated security services. Many members of the, until then, shadowy Joint Operations Command, a Junta behind the Zanu PF dictatorship, merged out of the shadows to join the coup cabinet. It was clear as day, the coup was about the Junta consolidating its strangle hold on power and redistributing the spoils!

“According to Reuters, the generals dubbed their project "Operation Restore Legacy." They called the move a "democratic correction" against a 93-year-old leader whose decisions, they alleged, were being manipulated by an ambitious wife half his age,” reported Zimeye, in a related article.

"The generals want Mnangagwa to run for one or two terms before handing over to Chiwenga," a Nov. 29 intelligence report seen by Reuters reads. "They want Chiwenga to be in power for two terms before handing over to the next general to be announced."

For the last 37 years the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship has systematically denied the ordinary people their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to a meaningful vote. The nation is now being told that the coup plotters have already decided who will rule the nation for the next two decades. How can this be a “democratic correction” when they, the people, are still being denied a meaningful say!

Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first post-independent Prime Minister, and fellow nationalist leaders at the time discounted the option of waging an armed struggle to end British rule of India. “What kind of leaders will an armed struggle throw up?” they asked. “Are those the kind of men and women we would want to rule the nation?”

Zimbabwe’s armed struggle has thrown up some of worst thugs in human history and for the last 37 years, and counting, since our independence the nation has failed to wrestle power from them. We are stuck with these Zanu PF thugs as leaders.

The one way to end the Zanu PF thugs’ reign of terror peacefully will be for the international community to declare next year’s elections null and void and force the country to implement the democratic reforms as happened after Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 2008 elections. Sadly, not even one of the raft of democratic reforms the GNU was tasked to implement ever saw the light of day. Mugabe bribed Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends, tasked to implement the reforms, to kick the reforms into the prickly pear thicket! Still, we need to revisit the reforms.  

After the blatant vote rigging of the 2008 elections it was clear to SADC leaders that Zimbabwe could not hold free and fair elections without first implementing the reforms. The regional leaders argued that the 2013 elections must be postponed but again MDC paid no heed. To take part in elections knowing the process is flawed and the result will be rigged is like taking part in a rat race – in which you do not know the start line, the finish line, whether it is a 100m dash or a marathon, etc. it is the prerogative of your competitor to decide on any of these things to suit him/herself.

It is sheer madness to contest an election with no verified voters’ roll, for example. There will be no verified voters’ roll next year, although this is a legal requirement, because ZEC will not have the time to produce one. The voter registration was started very late, in September 2017 when it should have started in January 2015 at the very latest; this was deliberate. There was no voters’ roll in 2013 and the vote rigging was shocking!  

Of course, President Mnangagwa has known all along that the voter registration started late and what the consequences are – he was, until two months ago, Minister of Justice and ZEC reported to him. He has done nothing to ensure there is a verified voters’ roll just as he has done nothing to implement any of the other democratic reforms.

As we go into 2018 there are five certainties, settled and are beyond debate:

a)     Zanu PF, without Robert Mugabe is the same party of ruthless thugs as the party of Mugabe days.

b)     The coup was about Zanu PF thugs consolidate their strangle hold on power and, having tasted it, they have no intention risking losing it by holding free and fair elections. It was ill-advised to have chosen to wage a armed struggle to get our independence because the war threw up some ruthless thugs as leaders and we are well and truly stuck with them.

c)     Zimbabwe’s economic recovery will be limited because no foreign investors would risk doing business in a lawless nation. Holding free and fair elections is the ultimate test Zimbabwe must pass to prove its return to rule of law.

d)     It is madness to keep taking part in elections knowing the process is flawed and illegal, it is a rat race.

e)     Getting SADC to rule next year’s election null and void is one sure way to force the implementing of the reforms; we can help SADC make that decision by refusing to take no party in the flawed elections until reforms are implemented.

After 38 years of rigged elections, it is my ardent wish and prayer that the Lord God Almighty will open the physical and mental eyes of a significant number of Zimbabweans so they can finally see the sheer stupidity of contesting flawed elections! Making sure we have free, fair and credible elections is the holy grail for Zimbabwe because we will never accomplish anything of substance as long as these Zanu PF thugs remain in power and holding the gun to the nation’s head!  

Thursday, 28 December 2017

"New VPs must perform," says President Mnangagwa - what talents do they have? P Guramatunhu

“The new Vice Presidents are not only expected to perform, but to show results and that entails guarding against complacency. They have to drive the Ministers,” said President Mnangagwa after swearing in Chiwenga and Mohadi as the country’s two VPs.

“The performance of the Ministers will be reflected by the supervision given by the two Vice Presidents so the assessment of the two will be based on what comes out of our ministries.”

Excuse me, comrade ePresidente, you did not appoint VP Chiwenga and VP Mohadi for their ability and competence as leaders. So why are you expecting them to perform well in anything? Anyone familiar with the workings of the ZDF who know Chiwenga is not intelligent as he has struggled to pass all the many courses he has done and he has never shown any notable aptitude in anything worth writing home about. The only reason Robert Mugabe promoted Chiwenga to the dizzying height in the Army is the same reason the tyrant promoted many others in the Army, Government, etc. including Emmerson Mnangagwa himself is because Mugabe liked to surround himself with simpletons he can order around.

Constantino Chiwenga is a simpleton, a very corrupt one to boot! He did not build that C&M mansion from his wages as Commander of ZDF?

President Mnangagwa has appointed Chiwenga VP not because he is talented individual. Chiwenga is VP because that is his reward for risking life and limb in staging last month’s coup that forced Mugabe to finally relinquish power. Others like Perrance Shiri and Major General Sibusiso Moyo who took played a major role in the coup are Ministers in President Mnangagwa’s cabinet, their reward.

Chiwenga was the ring-leader of the November putsch and VP post is his reward, period.

If President Mnangagwa is serious about rescuing Zimbabwe from the economic mess Mugabe and his team – of whom Mnangagwa was a key member – has bequeathed the nation then he should know that country must be governed by competent leaders with some common sense, at least and not these corrupt, incompetent and murderous thugs whose only claim to power is out of entitlement for their contribution during the struggle for independence.

Comrade ePresidente Mnangagwa, the povo of Zimbabwe were clearly fooled by the changes brought about by coup as seen by the thousands who march in support on 18 November and the throng who greeted you during your last visit in SA. The truth is the thinking world was not fooled.

“Zimbabwe is open for business!” you announce, ePresidente.

There has not been any Foreign Direct Investors knowing at our door in response. There will be none coming because these people are shrewd enough to know the removal of Mugabe, significant as it is, is not enough to prove the country has stopped being a lawless nation governed but competent and accountable leaders.

Indeed, the promotion of coup thugs like Chiwenga and Shiri into your cabinet tells the world the Zanu PF thugs are back in total control of the country. Nothing has changed!   

Zimbabwe will not be ready to do business with the rest of the world until it proves there is rule of law. And there is no better way of proving there is rule of law than holding free, fair and credible elections. I do not see the likes of VP Chiwenga and Minister Shiri spearheading the implementation of the democratic reforms required to ensure free elections! A cabinet of coup plotters is not going to deliver democratic free, fair and credible elections. Never!