Editor’s Memo: We can’t be stampeded into election

ZANU PF spin-doctors rallying behind President Robert Mugabe’s pointless quest for elections next year ahead of national healing, political and economic stability have become victims of the fallacy of electoralism.

They have persisted with the illogical and unreasonable assertion that Mugabe’s call for the elections has nothing to do with his insatiable desire to die in office, but to resolve the current contestation for power in the inclusive government between the ageing leader and MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai. They further argue that by allowing the holding of elections, Mugabe cannot be said to be yearning for a life presidency as he risks losing the poll.
The spin-doctors attempt to pitch Mugabe as a democrat when the opposite is true and to them democracy is reflected in the holding of elections frequently despite them not being free and fair — a pure fallacy of electoralism. This is because in this system they want to pass for democracy, the dominant position of the incumbent regime is retained and thus there is no true democracy.
Despite Nathaniel Manheru pontificating from his ivory tower at Munhumutapa Building, the prevailing view in Zanu PF and in the country is that Mugabe’s call for elections next year is ill-advised and a true manifestation of a desperate leader who intends to cling to power by hook or by crook in his own interest.
The argument is simply that the environment is not yet conducive for any election, either economically or socially. Again the nation is still highly polarised; and the three political parties in the inclusive government are yet to fully consummate the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which is the roadmap to free and fair elections.
This country needs national healing and a sustained period of peace and stability before an election can be held.
Besides serving the interests of Mugabe and a few hardliners in Zanu PF, whose interests will the elections serve when it is now clear that they will not be free and fair given reports from across the country of violence and intimidation? They will only plunge the nation back into the dark era epitomised in June 2008 when Zanu PF unleashed an orgy of violence which took the country back to the Dark Ages. People in the rural areas still bear the scars of that madness and will understandably not be supportive of an early election.
Those who witnessed and were victims of this barbarism oppose elections and the message to Manheru and his ilk should be clear that the majority of Zimbabweans don’t want elections next year merely to secure Mugabe’s future.
Law, Politics and Zimbabwe’s Unity Government, a recently published book, describes our country as being characterised by both “dominant power politics” and “electoral authoritarianism”.
“Both characteristics of the state allow minimal open civic space within a largely authoritarian regime and undertake elections that pretend to conform to democratic electoral standards but are actually a sham and result in international disapproval,” the author writes.
We cannot afford to be stampeded into an election no matter the amount of vitriol Manheru or any other apologist will spew against those who hold contrary views.

 

Constantine Chimakure

 

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