TONY Namate is undoubtedly the most intelligent and talented cartoonist in Zimbabwe today and I believe that he can hold his own against even the brilliant British Telegraph cartoonist or Steve Bell of the Guardian.
But his latest effort in this paper leaves a sour taste in the mouth. I just hope Namate has not fallen into the Zimbabwean trap of regarding everything Western as unquestionably pure and all things African and Zimbabwean, dirty and crooked.
My beef with Namate: True, George Bush was elected with a 51% majority, but does Namate realise just how much gerrymandering the Republicans did in order to secure this victory?
In Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor and the chief electoral officer is an unabashed Republican, George Bush’s party went all out to deny black people the opportunity to register to vote. Investigative reporters have even unearthed a document done by an official in Florida in which she detailed just how black people should be denied the opportunity to vote. The reason for this is that blacks traditionally vote Democratic and George Bush’s young brother was hell bent on not allowing that to happen.
The flaws in the American electoral system go beyond administrative bungling. Blacks complained that they were intimidated or denied the opportunity to vote simply because they were likely to vote Democrat. If all these people had been allowed to vote, then Bush would have lost the popular vote. He would, I believe, still have been elected president, but only through the peculiarly undemocratic “Electoral College”, which gave him the presidency the first time round although he had lost the popular vote.
How different is this scenario from our local politics, where a party in power can decide to redraw constituency boundaries in order to dilute the support base of the opposition and carry the seat?
And Namate also seems to have forgotten that since 9/11 (September 11) Mr Bush has embarked on the most determined assault on civil liberties in American history since the Civil Rights Bill was made law by President Johnson.
Every country has its faults and the faults of one country should not be an excuse for our own government to behave badly. But to praise the American electoral system to the high heavens as if it is a fool-proof way to honour the wishes of its citizens smacks of cheap politicking which has no place in today’s global village. All I can say is, think again, Tony!
By the way, my congratulations to the eloquent Frank Matandirotya of MDC Chikomba, whose letter you published last week. He seems to have his head screwed on right.
These are the people the MDC should be seeking to promote within their ranks and perhaps even make president because it is obvious that, if he is given substantive and realistic policies by his party, he is capable of enunciating them in such a manner that will show the people of Zimbabwe that there can be a better tomorrow.