DO you remember just two weeks ago when every policeman, general and politician in the country was telling us to accept the poll outcome? It would be a sign of our maturity, the opposition and civics were lectured, to take defeat in their stride. Demands for recounts were for losers, it was said.
That, of course, was when they thought they were winning. Now itâ€™s a different story. Recounts are being demanded all over the place as if this will change the reality of public rejection. If Zanu PF had won we would never have heard the end of it. They would be yelling from the rooftops. Now they are crafting the spurious argument that they shouldnâ€™t have lost.
Zanu PFâ€™s repudiation of the democratic outcome was first flagged by Caesar Zvayi last Friday. In an article headed â€œRevolution: Itâ€™s not over until itâ€™s overâ€, he claimed that â€œthe 99 seats that went to the MDC do not represent any ideological shift in Zimbabwe which is why they will be difficult to defend at the next election. By contrast all 97 seats won by Zanu PF came from a conscious populace that knows what is at stake.â€
We have some advice for Zvayi: Rule No 1 in politics â€” donâ€™t insult the voters.
Claiming that one group of voters knows better than another and that those voting against the ruling party were ignorant of the ideological issues at stake is pretentious nonsense. It is also downright insulting.
Elsewhere we had government columnists referring dismissively to the â€œprotest voteâ€ and the â€œpolitics of the stomachâ€ as if people were not supposed to use the ballot to protest against the suffering Zanu PFâ€™s scorched-earth policies have spawned. How else are they supposed to show their disapproval?
And are voters seriously supposed to swallow Zanu PFâ€™s puerile theories about Britain and the US wanting to recolonise the country when it is quite obvious that, together with the EU, they are the only governments keeping people here fed? Zanu PF is unable to do so.
What sort of sovereignty and independence is it when Zimbabwe has to go begging every year for international help because its own government has destroyed the countryâ€™s ability to feed itself?
As for Zanu PF recovering the seats it has lost, werenâ€™t we told in 2005 that the election marked Zanu PFâ€™s return to national ascendancy? That the recovery of the towns was inevitable?
Now Zanu PF has been exiled to its peasant margins by an electorate unimpressed by its blandishments. Zanu PF is the party of those who can be bought and terrorised because they are vulnerable. It will now try and secure a majority for Robert Mugabe by threatening the rural voters.
â€œWe stumbled, we did not fall,â€ Didymus Mutasa assured the nation last weekend. And now he and his henchmen will inflict as much damage as possible in the run-off to ensure the obedient and gullible vote the â€œrightâ€ way this time round.
â€œCde Mugabe, our dear old man, remains our candidate,â€ Mutasa gushed. â€œWe shall take him and carry him along with us.â€
Is he a mascot of some sort or simply unable to walk? Letâ€™s hope heâ€™s back on his feet soon.
As for the Heraldâ€™s daft story about Tsvangirai seeking the VPâ€™s post, why should a successful contender for the presidency want to be vice-president?Â Nick Goche and Patrick Chinamasa are losers (not to mention leaks). Tsvangirai would be best advised not to bother with them. They are trying to claw victory from the jaws of defeat. Stop giving them the airtime.
As we said last week, one of the most gratifying aspects of the landslide Zanu PF lies prostrate under is the rejection of the facile claims of Tafataona Mahoso and other state apologists such as Reason Wafawarova. They purported to speak for the â€œpeopleâ€. But when the people spoke it was to tell them to get lost!
In the best Stalinist tradition they will now be looking for ways in which to dissolve the people and reconstitute them so they learn to be more grateful for their derelict condition.
Has anybody else piped up recently to say they wonâ€™t be saluting President Tsvangirai?
Readers will recall a number of such declarations by misguided service chiefs. But they seem to have gone quiet following the national outcry against such delinquent behaviour.
What we should have asked at the time is what qualifications are needed to be a director of prisons? Do you need â€œOâ€Levels, or just a big mouth? And who will be telling us next that he wonâ€™t be saluting Morgan: the station master at Rutenga Junction?
Before the election Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga was reported in the Standard as saying: â€œElections are coming and the army will not support or salute sellouts and agents of the West before, during and after the presidential elections.â€
At that point, we are told, a woman came on the line saying: â€œWe can come and take you and deal with you.â€
She did not identify herself. But it was useful to know who wears the pants around the commanderâ€™s household!
The Herald tried to run a scare story on Monday telling us the Germans were taking over the Reserve Bank. This was on the basis of a report that two German advisors were standing by to manage a restructuring process as part of a raft of reforms Tsvangirai will be putting in place. The Germans were referred to Herald-style as â€œagentsâ€.
But the paper didnâ€™t seem to understand that there will be a wave of national relief that the Germans will be brought in to help restore order at the profligate central bank. Above all it is hoped they will curb inflation by putting a stop to money-printing
It is interesting that the Herald should regard any help from a successful institution such as the German central bank as a threat. And it seems to think we would all mind terribly if suborned service chiefs and judges were removed.
In trying to stir nationalist indignation the Herald was in fact inspiring confidence. The events of 1980 when the ancien regime was purged of its more reactionary elements should provide a useful precedent.
We were interested in the pictures of young Bona voting on March 29. This was her first such foray to the ballot box, we were told. But something was missing from the story. Who did she vote for? And has the state press told us the outcome in Highfield where the president voted? Surely this cradle of nationalist struggle voted â€œcorrectlyâ€ in line with Zvayiâ€™s thinking?
Yes it did. It voted solidly MDC.
Then there was a picture on the front page of the Sunday Mail of two very well-fed Zanu PF ladies, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Edna Madzongwe, congratulating each other on their respective â€œvictoriesâ€. (It was a bit problematic because their arms didnâ€™t quite extend all the way round their ample waists.) This followed the ruling partyâ€™s historic defeat across the country but neither lady was noticing that. Nor was the Sunday Mail which is pretending Zanu PF won the senate election. In fact it won the same number of seats as the opposition.
And wasnâ€™t it remarkable that the ZEC finally found its voice â€” only to claim that the courts had no jurisdiction in its affairs. How dare it waste our money in support of despots? Doesnâ€™t this confirm the national view that the ZEC is completely compromised?
Muckraker was very unimpressed with the way the mobile phone companies rose to the occasion last week by failing to provide coverage to customers. It was a disaster as people struggled to communicate. You should have heard what the foreign visitors had to say when they couldnâ€™t get through! Then we learn that one of these companies is planning expansion in Kenya.
Letâ€™s have a basic service here before any expansion elsewhere. Has there been any apology for last weekâ€™s debacle? And have we ever been told why it is impossible to make a cell-to-cell call to South Africa?
We were all so busy speculating about the fate of our ruler that we didnâ€™t notice what was happening elsewhere. Just as we were voting for change, Malaysiaâ€™s prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was dealing with a serious electoral setback.
Abdullahâ€™s National Front ruling coalition secured a fresh mandate but lost its two thirds parliamentary majority and surrendered five of the 13 states to the opposition alliance, according to the Guardian. This was a shock for Malaysians because it was the ruling partyâ€™s worst performance since independence in 1957.
Muckraker was also interested in remarks by former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad who said Mugabe would be welcome there if he goes into exile following elections.
But Mahathir, who is seen as a close Mugabe ally, said he expected the Zimbabwean leader to accept the results of national polls.
â€œIf he wants to come here, the (Malaysian) government should welcome him,â€ Mahathir said. â€œIf he has lost, he has to accept the decision of the people, that is the best thing he can do,â€ he added.
A foreign ministry official in Kuala Lumpur said they were unaware of Mugabeâ€™s plans.
Whenever Mugabe used to visit Malaysia he would call on Mahathir and there would be a photo opportunity. That stopped under Badawi.
Whatever Mahathirâ€™s assurances, we are sure Badawi doesnâ€™t share his predecessorâ€™s enthusiasm about having an exiled despot in his midst, especially now he has a little local difficulty of his own to cope with.
In this regard readers may be interested in the remarks of the editor of the Malaysian Star which has a certain resonance here: â€œThe first page of the new Malaysian political era opens today (when the results came out),â€ the paper said. â€œCertainly the elections may have ended but the drama has only just started. Stay tuned.â€
We will. Meanwhile, Abdullah told his supporters: â€œI will not step down from my post because I feel no pressure.â€
Heâ€™s obviously been taking lessons. Others may be feeling the pressure but refuse to budge anyway. As Zvayi might say: â€œIt ainâ€™t over till the thin man sings,â€ â€” or takes the flight to KL.
It was rather sad to see Patrick Chinamasa singing for his supper in the Herald yesterday.
He claimed former white farmers were â€œinterferingâ€ with the land reform programme. He threatened stern action against them saying a reversal of the programme was not in the interests of the MDC or the white farmers themselves. He said some of the farmers had even telephoned ministers and threatened them with â€œbombingâ€.
We would hate to think the minister was trying to win back his seat by claims of this sort. What farmers have been interfering with the land reform programme? What cases does he know of? Who has telephoned ministers and threatened them with bombing? Why have charges not been brought against such people?
The answer is obvious. This is all part of the big lie used by Jabulani Sibanda, Didymus Mutasa and other politically bankrupt individuals to justify Zanu PFâ€™s pretence that it is defending its land revolution. This will be used as an excuse for violence and repression in rural areas.
Chinamasa knows perfectly well the MDC will not be returning land to white farmers. In any case most of those farmers left the country years ago. What the MDC has said is that it will have a land audit to investigate which officials helped themselves to more than one farm. It is this record of greed that Chinamasa should be worried about, not fictional bombings of the sort the Home Affairs ministry tried to sell to the public a year ago and which Mugabe took to Dar es Salaam as â€œevidenceâ€ of MDC violence.
There were no takers then either! Chinamasa, Mutasa, Sibanda and other beneficiaries of Zanu PF plunder should get the message from the electorate. No more lies. You lost. Now take it with dignity just like you told the rest of us to do.