Tuesday, 28 February 2017

MDC-T calls for "all to rise up" demand UNPD buy BVS kit - no guarantee of free election. N Garikai

As a nation, we have not paid much attention on who we elected into positions of power and authority, first it was President Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs and then it was Morgan Tsvangirai and his incompetent MDC friend. We married in a hurry and have regretted at leisure!

We elected MDC in the hope they will deliver the democratic changes we need to stop Zanu PF rigging elections so we can have free, fair and credible elections. Not only has MDC failed to implement even one democratic reform when they had the golden opportunity to do so during the GNU; worse still, it is now clear they have no clue what the democratic changes we need are much less how they can be effected.

“Since 2015, the MDCT through NERA has wedged a dedicated fight for electoral reform in Zimbabwe. These reforms are aimed at levelling the playing field in our country ahead of the crucial 2018 elections. To this end, NERA adopted a two pronged strategy,” Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T Secretary General. 

“The first was through mass demonstrations while the second was through direct engagement with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).”

These were just some of MDC-T’s attention seeking political posturing with no aim, no objective, nothing! Take the first one, mass demonstrations; if any of the authority had asked anyone of the demonstrators, anyone: what electoral reforms do you want? They would have got no answer. Even Morgan Tsvangirai himself, who was seen heading many of these demos, cannot give any details of even one single reform!

Zimbabwe is not the first country in the world to find itself in the situation we were in in 2008 when we needed a new democratic dispensation to replace the existing corrupt and oppressive autocratic system. Whilst other nations have successfully managed the transformation in six months Zimbabwe’s GNU asked for eighteen months. In the end the GNU lasted for sixty months – ten times as long – and still MDC failed to implement even one democratic reform. Not one!

The electoral reforms MDC keeps talking about are a poor substitute of the far reaching democratic reforms they were tasked to implement during the GNU. Veritas, a local group, expert of legal matters, amongst many others, have already said to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections we need to revert to implementing the far-reaching reforms. The electoral reforms MDC and 17 other opposition in the NERA grouping keep wittering about are a waste of time, they will never deliver free, fair and credible elections.

ZEC is one of the many public institution that was chalked-in for the far-reaching reformed to cut the corrupting and dictatorial control the State President have over the commission and restore its independence. To therefore engage ZEC without ending Mugabe’s corrupting influence first is futile as draining the sea dry with a tea cup!

Mr Mwonzora describes how NERA had successfully engaged ZEC and pressured the commission to buy the Biometric Voting System (BVS). UNPD was going to help in the procurement and funding of the new system.

“Suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVS kits procurement process! Among other things this means that the government will now select the supplier of these kits. Political parties and other stakeholders will thus not be able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora protested.

“NERA totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government will also manipulate the 2018 election process. In other words this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018 elections.

Even if UNPD had procured the kits they would have handed it all to ZEC sooner or later and, given ZEC is the same corrupt commission we have all been complaining about, it is therefore clear that government would still have had the opportunity to tamper with the system.

“We therefore call upon all Zimbabweans to rise up and resist this manipulation. To that end NERA is organizing nationwide demonstrations to show the people's outrage at this political abomination. Thus all Zimbabweans irrespective of their political affiliation are called to action. Together we will win.” Was the concluding clarion call from MDC-T.

This is just foolish grandstanding gesture politics! Even if we all answered MDC-T’s call and forced Zanu PF to allow UNPD to buy the kit; will this guarantee free, fair and credible elections? The honest answer is a NO!

Zanu PF is a grandmaster of grandstanding gesture politics in its own right; whenever the regime is under pressure it always created an elaborate scheme to draw attention away from the real Big Issue of the day to some trivial matter. After losing the referendum on the new constitution in 2000, for example, President Mugabe needed a smokescreen to hide his use of violence to win the 2002 elections. He used the violent seizure of white owned farms; the more gratuitous violence used the thicker the smokescreen! It was no accident that the violent white owned farm invasions always flared up during national elections.

It is no secret that not even one democratic reforms was implemented since the July 2013 rigged elections and therefore it is a certainty the party will rig the 2018 elections just as readily as it rig the 2013 elections. Still, it is in Zanu PF’s political interest to create the impression in the opposition and the public’s mind that the opposition can still win the elections regardless and what better way to do so than creating a mountain out of a mole hill over BVS!

Many people are losing confidence in the opposition’s ability to deliver any change. The much talked about grand coalition between MDC-T and ZimPF has fizzled out following humiliating defeat of the ZimPF candidate in Bikita West by-election followed the spectacular breakup of the party itself. Tsvangirai’s attempt to infuse  some political passion in the public took off like a lead-balloon with Tsvangirai blundering from pillar to post, as usual. He told party youths to join Zanu PF; everyone was dumfounded to hear it!

Zanu PF knows that the opposition needs an empty victory, they are so desperate for a political victory they will gratefully accept even a nonsense BVS victory!

Zimbabwe’s economy is in a serious mess and, without political change, there is no hope of economic recovery. We cannot afford another rigged election in 2018 and, without the reform, that is mathematical certainty that Zanu PF will rig the elections regardless of whether UNPD or government buys the BVS kit. Who buys the kit is immaterial what we need to focus on is the implementation of the far reaching democratic reforms, that is our ball. Let MDC-T and their NERA friends how their demo over who buys the BVS kit – we must keep our eyes glued on democratic reforms followed by free, fair and credible elections!

"SA must stop Zim become African North Korea," moans MP Cross - cried wolf once too often. By W Mukori

History has the habit of repeating itself.
“The (USA) Secretary of State outlined a plan for a transition to majority rule and said that he had the support of African leaders for the plan. Smith and his team held a private meeting and then went back into the meeting with Kissinger and rejected the plan,” recounted Eddie Cross.
“The Rhodesians walked out of the meeting and found the South African President waiting for them.
“His message was brief and to the point. He said to the Rhodesian Prime Minister that if they did not go along with the American plan, South Africa would withdraw all assistance. In a few minutes it was all over.”
The story goes that Robert Mugabe and his fellow black nationalists rejected the democratic Lancaster House constitution in 1979 and walk out. It was the President of Mozambique, Samora Machel, who reportedly told Mugabe that if he rejected the constitution he and his Zanla freedom fighters will have to find another country and not Mozambique to continue the fight. Mugabe went back and signed on the dotted line, ending the civil war!
Tsvangirai won the March 2008 election by a landslide 73% of the vote, by President Mugabe’s own admission. ZEC was force to recount the vote and, after six weeks of “cooking up” the figures, announced Tsvangirai had 47% to Mugabe’s 43%, making a presidential run-off necessary.
President Mugabe was determined to win the run-off, he “declared war” on the people, as Tsvangirai aptly put. Mugabe’s military style operation “Mavhotera papi!” (Whom did you vote for!) was set out to punish the electorate for having rejected him in the earlier vote and make sure they voted for him in the run-off. They did! Mugabe overhauled Tsvangirai’s 73% in March to win the July vote with a staggering 85%!
However, it turned out to be a hallow victory for President Mugabe because even SADC and AU election observers, known for turning a blind eye to fraudulent elections, condemned the Zimbabwe elections because of the sheer scale of the wholesale vote rigging, wanton violence and contempt of all human decency shown by Zanu PF thugs and leaders alike during the run-off. SADC and AU told Mugabe they would not recognise him as the dually elected President of Zimbabwe, not after such barbaric and flawed election. The whole world was with SADC and the AU on this! So, President Mugabe found himself once again under the cosh.
“Charovedzera, charovedzera gudo rakakwira mawere kwasviba!” (So, dirty habits die hard!) as one would say in Shona. It was President Mugabe’s selfish and tyrannical arrogance that landed him in trouble again.
SADC told Mugabe they would grant him political legitimacy on condition that he signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) agreeing to the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) to include the two MDC factions and his Zanu PF party. The GNU was tasked to implement a raft of democratic reforms to ensure Zimbabwe’s future elections are free, fair and credible and thus ensure the country would never again see a repeat of blatant vote rigging and wanton violence of 2008.
It is a great pity that MDC leaders, whose duty it was to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU, failed to get even one reform implemented in the five years of the GNU. Mugabe bribed them with the trapping of power and a $4 million mansion for Tsvangirai and they kicked reforms into the tall grass. Not even the SADC leaders’ constant reminder to implement the reforms would force Tsvangirai and company to move one inch.
“Right now we are trying to get an authoritarian, quasi military Junta under dictatorial control to agree to change the rules for the next election,” ranted MP Cross.
“Why should they do that? Has any dictatorial regime anywhere in history done that voluntarily?”
MP Cross, you cannot be honest even to yourself!
MDC leaders did not lift a finger to implement the reforms when the party had the chance to do so during the GNU. SADC leaders and many other people, literary, begged MDC not to take part in the 2013 elections with no reforms in place but were all ignored. It was only after Zanu PF blatantly rigged the elections that MDC leaders promised they will not contest any future elections until reforms are implemented.
MDC has done nothing, absolutely nothing – other than pay lip service, that is - to get even one reform implemented since the July 2013 rigged elections. MP Cross should know that right now his party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is already on the campaign trail; MDC-T is going to contest the 2018 elections although not one reform has been implemented in total disregard of the party’s own congress resolution of “No reform, no election!”
Yes, MP Cross, you may well ask why Zanu PF should implement any reform when they know MDC will contest the elections regardless how flawed the whole process happens to be.
Indeed, it is for the people of Zimbabwe to ask MDC: what else does Zanu PF have to do – the regime has looted the nation blind to bankroll its political activities, frog marched the people to vote for it and has even murdered tens of thousands to stay in power – to finally convince them Zimbabwe’s elections are flawed and illegal and force them to boycott the elections?  
“Since then the South Africans have shown little appetite for any sort of intervention in Zimbabwe and our position has grown steadily worse, until today we are back in the nightmare years of 2007/8. Unlike 1976 and 1994 when the international community intervened in Rhodesia and South Africa, there is no appetite for intervention in a tiny country like Zimbabwe,” laments MP Cross.

On the contrary, it is us Zimbabweans who shot ourselves in the foot by failing to make the most of the golden opportunity to end the Mugabe tyranny during the GNU. And, as if that was not bad enough, by continuing to follow the same corrupt and incompetent MDC leaders we are showing the world we are not yet ready to govern ourselves.

Of course, SA, SADC, AU and the international community will have no appetite to intervene is Zimbabwe’s political mess when they know they can wrestle power from the tyrant Mugabe, give it to the corrupt and incompetent opposition but before sunset Zanu PF will snatched it back as has happened so many times already.

“The danger in Zimbabwe of regional and international power brokers leaving us to our own devices, is that either we will slide into anarchy or become an African North Korea,” concluded MP Cross.
“I have no doubt that only the use of real power here can effect change and give Zimbabweans the chance to choose their own government and to heal their land. The only question is who will step up the plate before it is too late?”
In the last 37 years Zimbabweans have had many opportunities to end Mugabe’s corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship, the best chance being during the GNU; but, through our own political inaptitude, have wasted all of them. If the truth be told – it must – we deserve this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship complete with its coterie of corrupt and incompetent opposition parties.
For once, I agree with you MP Cross; we are standing at the edge of the abyss and the future is look grime. However, whether or not we walk over the edge is up to us, not SA or anyone else. The world has helped us get out of many sticky situations in the past but only for us to drift right back again and call for help again. This time we are on our own, we have cried wolf once too often, the world is sick and tired of our cry-baby antics!