Opinions

Zimbabwe elections: Fraud waiting to happen

BY IRVINE MAKUYANA

JOHANNESBURG-In a few months, the unelected Zanu PF president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, faces off with the unelected MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa, in Zimbabwe’s presidential and general elections.

This will turn out to be the greatest election fraud in Zimbabwean history, second only to the March 29, 2008 poll and the subsequent July 27 runoff.

The biggest question, attentive reader, is: Can Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF accept defeat at the hands of a 40 year old?

Just the thought of it makes me cringe.

While we cannot predict the future with certainty, we can refer to history and recent events in the search for light, truth and fact.

Each one of us can then arrive at their own independent conclusion.

The latest to unravel was the Zanu PF primary elections last week, at which the party’s beloved, tried and tested cadres suffered defeat at the hands of unknown-mafikizolo politicians.

One such cadre was the cantankerous war veteran’s boss, Christopher Mutsvangwa, who unsurprisingly refused to accept the result.

His hopes of going to parliament almost came to nought, after he was vanquished by an unknown Zanu PF member in the Norton constituency. Mutsvangwa successfully blackmailed Mnangagwa and Zanu PF into giving him a second lease of life, a re-run where he is likely to rig his way to victory.

I imagine that Norton will know no peace and will be subjected to re-runs till that day Zanu PF get a result they can accept. It is this blatant disregard for the democratic process that is worrying.

Attentive reader, let me remind you that the Robert Mugabe military-backed ouster of November 15, 2017, was firmly grounded on the principle that top Zanu PF chefs cannot be booted out of public office.

These very same people will be contesting elections on ruling party tickets.

To think that the military will lay down arms and that army tank engines will grind to a halt in acceptance of an opposition victory and president is not only myopic but irresponsible.

That is not all.

Zanu PF politicians have mastered the art of noise-making so much so that the most damning confessions of corruption, maladministration and wrong-doing go unnoticed and unpunished.

One such confession came from the president, Mnangagwa himself.

Rewind to October 2017, the president told a rally packed with thousands of Zanu PF supporters that he blocked Tsvangirai’s access to the State House keys.

With the help of the late self-styled strongman, Elliot Manyika, Mnangagwa admitted that they were not prepared to allow a Tsvangirai presidency, even though he had received the lion’s share of the ballot in the 2008 poll.

They would then inform the already scared MDC-T leadership and the shell-shocked international community that no one won the election decisively and that a run-off was imminent.

We all know how that story ended.

So what has changed?

Why would Mnangagwa and Zanu PF relinquish power now in the event of a crash at the upcoming elections?

Remember the military said they would never salute then Prime Minister Tsvangirai because he did not have war credentials?

Guess what, Nelson Chamisa is only 40.

He was born in 1978 when the guns fell silent, signalling the end of the Second Chimurenga War which gave birth to the Lancaster House Agreement of December 1979.

That means Chamisa has a snow ball’s chance in hell of being given a chance to lead the state.

He and his MDC-T are also not helping the situation.

Following the Khupe détat, the leading opposition’s dirty linen was hung out for all to see. The MDC-T, as a responsible party, could have better handled the Khupe fiasco and all internal affairs in a manner that inspires confidence.

But this greed and hunger for power, which prompts the party to split, has almost become synonymous with the MDC-T itself.

I have lost count of how many times the biggest opposition formation has split, trying to recount and recall the names of the resultant formations will leave one with a splitting headache.

We are also not blind to other political formations.

I am reluctant to waste my precious ink naming and propping up nonentities, impostors and fly-by-night politicians who crawl from underneath the rocks at the prospect of public office and political power.

There are many of them.

None of them worthy of your time or mine.

In any case, the subject of this article is not about who will win the election, but whether or not the ruling party would be prepared and willing to hand over the leadership mantle to whoever wins.

That being said, as a people, we tend to think that elections are won at the ballot.

This mistake will prove costly to the opposition and all players who ignore that elections are a process, not just an event.

An elective process must be free and fair.

It does not help to protest after the election has been won or lost. This is something that the Americans are all too familiar with now.

Donald Trump is being dragged to Congress to explain his relationship with the Russians and allegations of their meddling and swinging the vote in his favour.

Even if they find Trump guilty of any wrongdoing, the bottom-line is; he is President of the United States of America.

And knowing that guy, I doubt he will resign. This is the reality waiting to happen in Zimbabwe.

The septuagenarian Mnangwagwa will be President of Zimbabwe when all is said and done.

Opposition parties will march in the streets in protest, challenge the outcome in the courts and try to force the hands of regional and international heads of states to intervene.

They will charge: “Mnangagwa stole the election.”

By then it will be too late.

Mnangagwa will be President and this election would have served the purpose of legitimising his position.

International observers will say he won fair and square. After all, is he not the one with the highest pre-election visibility?

Does he not go around with a scarf, his symbol of patriotism, even in the scorching sun?

Does he not tweet, speak of change and invite investors to do business in Zimbabwe?

Do we not know that he does not play fair?

Speaking of fair play, it has been said that Mnangagwa is not as popular as his predecessor, Mugabe.

He is not known to the electorate’s grassroots.

If we follow this train of thought, it becomes a common cause that an unpopular politician cannot win a popular vote.

This election will not be given to Zanu PF on a silver platter.

So they must have some kind of plan or strategy to steal the cake out of the child, Chamisa’s, mouth.

If at all Mnangagwa is as wise as we all think he is, major discussions of a nefarious nature are going on at Mukwati Building in the dark of the night.

And it is the responsibility of the opposition to find out the subject of these discussions.

It is the responsibility of the opposition to find out if calls have been made to companies such as the Israeli-based Nikuv International Projects and others.

Let us now move onto policy and politicking.

We hear little to nothing of the ruling party’s pillaging.

Instead, we have a barrage of not-so-well thought out policy positions such as the plan to move the administrative capital to Gweru.

Really? What kind of nonsense is this?

Even amateur politician, Pastor Evan Mawarire’s, message of “clean water” begins to sound something of a promise of milk and honey.

It is just clean water, a service as basic as the air we breathe, which should be in all manifestos, along with improved health service delivery, basic education, a sustainable energy-mix, industrialisation, employment creation and the like.

Attentive reader, a lesson never to forget is on its way.

Zimbabweans are teaching the world real politics.

Last year we taught all prospective presidents how to get away with a coup d’etat. This year we will teach the world how to rig an election for the umpteenth time.

In an election of unknown politicians, all of them rookie presidential aspirants, even Mnangagwa has a fair chance of winning.

I deliberately left out all the other fly-by-night political parties.

Who has time for nobodies who start to “vukura-vukura” in the hope that we will vote for them?

Irvine Makuyana is a writer at large and content manager at The Circuit Pty Ltd.

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