Mugabe will rig 2018, orthodox thinkers say contest no matter what - is it time to think outside the box

Mugabe will rig 2018, orthodox thinkers say contest no matter what - is it time to think outside the box
Published: 21 September 2017 (201 Views)
Zimbabwe is in an unusual situation in that we are stuck with a corrupt, vote rigging and tyrannical dictatorship and the opposition we entrusted the task of implementing the democratic changes to end the dictatorship has, itself, proven to be corrupt and incompetent. Instead of championing our fight for democratic change, Tsvangirai and his MDC friends are the albatross around our neck, holding us down. We need to think outside the box, think the unthinkable!

"Thinking outside the box," according to Wikipedia, "(also thinking out of the box or thinking beyond the box and, especially in Australia, thinking outside the square) is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking.

"Think creatively, unimpeded by orthodox or conventional constraints, and expansively."

Orthodox thinking says we must contest next year's elections no matter how flawed and illegal the process has become. The logical question the orthodox thinkers have failed to ask and answered is; can the electoral process be so flawed and illegal it is impossible to win? The honest answer is, of course, there is no limit to how flawed and illegal one can corrupt a process. The question here is where to draw the line beyond which it is futile to contest the election.

In the March 2008 Tsvangirai polled 73% of the votes, by Mugabe's own admission. Before the results were announced ZEC was ordered to recount the votes and after six weeks of recounting 5 million votes, the 73% was whittled down to 47% - enough to stop an outright victory and force a run-off. During the run-off Mugabe turned on violence, "he declared war on the people", as Tsvangirai readily admitted when he announced his withdrawal from the run-off race. The violence was so intense and effective, Mugabe overturned his 27% defeat in March to an 84% landslide victory in June.

What Robert Mugabe demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt in the 2008 elections is that the Zanu PF's vote rigging juggernaut could not be beaten no matter what. It had total control of the whole electoral process from ZEC officials produced the voters' roll, managed the election, produced the ballots and counted the vote, to the security services who turn a blind eye to Zanu PF motivated political violence and even place an active role in beating and murder. Zanu PF was like someone with not just a loaded dice but one with six on all six sides; it is insane to bet on him failing to throw a six!

The orthodox argument that we must contest election no matter what becomes nonsensical when countered with the Mugabe mentality, to win the elections no matter what. Indeed, only a fool ever adopt a position so single track minded and inflexible he will risk all and lose all just to prove a point. The grave yard is full of people who had the right of way and the only point they proved was the futility of being dead right!

Boycotting an election process that is so flawed and illegal there is really no point in take part is where we are in Zimbabwe, given Zanu PF's vote rigging capability as shown in 2008. SADC leaders realised this immediately hence the reason they advised MDC politicians not to contest the 2013 elections and have the elections postponed.

"Of course, they (election) can be postponed," Dr Ibbo Mandaza explained to Violet Gonda. "In 2013 the Maputo Summit, in June 2013, before the elections, the Maputo Summit was all about having the elections postponed – the SADC summit.

"I went there. I was there at the Summit and Mugabe pretended to agree to a postponement of the elections. If you recall, the postponement was based on the need to reform at least electoral laws.

"And after that Summit, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, all of them were called to a separate meeting by the Heads of State of SADC in the absence of Mugabe, that same evening. And they were told; I was sitting there outside the room with Mac Maharaj; they were told ‘if you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done'."

Some people have argued that MDC leaders did not boycott the July 2013 because they wanted to give the people a chance to vote. This is nonsense, the electorate's vote count for nothing if elections are rigged; that is exactly what rigged elections do, deny the voter a meaningful vote.

Even if MDC had boycotted the elections, other opposition parties like Lovemore Madhuku's NCA would have contested rendering the boycott ineffective. True but then no one is naïve not to know that the promise of a gravy train seat, which Zanu PF is dangling to entice the opposition to take part, will prove irresistible to many opportunist opposition politicians. Indeed, Zanu PF is dangling the bait, confident there will be many takes including MDC politicians themselves. The boycott, if it was going to have any meaning and impact, has to be a principled position.

What would boycotting the elections accomplish? The primary purpose of the 2008 Global Political Agreement which gave rise to the GNU was to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections as happened in the 2008 elections. The primary purpose of boycott the elections is to reaffirm the reality on the ground that not even one of the reforms had been implemented and, with not reform, it will be futile to hold elections.

Indeed, it was futile holding the July 2013 elections with no reforms as we can now testify. Allowing next year's elections to go ahead, again with no reforms will accomplish nothing too.

SADC leaders know the economic hardships ordinary Zimbabweans are facing today. They also know that another rigged election next year will only make the current economic meltdown even worse, causing serious human misery and political instability in Zimbabwe and the region. SADC leaders would like to see free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and not another rigged election, of that we can be certain.

SADC are set to reject next year's sham elections but their hand will be strengthened by if a number of principled opposition politicians and ordinary citizens boycotted the elections precisely because the whole process is a sham!

- Wilbert Mukori

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