HomeCommentCandid Comment: Elections: Propaganda, lies and deception

Candid Comment: Elections: Propaganda, lies and deception

GOVERNMENTS or political parties the world over seize every opportunity to lie and mislead, not only to their enemies but also to their own populaces. This makes politics, throughout the world, more or less the business of strategic manoeuvring and manipulation of information to mobilise support for the agendas of those in power.

President Robert Mugabe’s previous regimes and Zanu PF have always thrived on that. Propaganda, lies and deception are part of their political DNA.

Of late Zanu PF leaders and their apologists, some masquerading as analysts, have been pushing and shoving on the political scene trying to mislead the nation and voters on the GPA and elections in a bid to justify stampeding the country into polls where violence, intimidation and fraud would be key determinants in the outcome.

Despite the clarity of the GPA, its well-known political context and circumstances, we are nonetheless now being told, rather ineptly, that Mugabe has the constitutional authority to unilaterally dissolve parliament and call for elections on his own under the current dispensation.

The only redeeming thing about this is that Mugabe himself understands his powers and obligations under the GPA. Mugabe acknowledged last Sunday he can’t dissolve parliament and call for elections under the GPA dispensation.

We are also being told that there is no necessary connection between elections and the constitution-making process in the context of the GPA. Furthermore, Mugabe and Zanu PF claim that the inclusive government automatically and necessarily comes to end on February 13. Another claim from Zanu PF, or more accurately its ideologues, is that the inclusive government is dysfunctional because no party has a clear and working majority in parliament.

These misleading assertions can only be deliberate misrepresentations.

There is no serious person who understands the GPA, its context and circumstances who wouldn’t know that it’s a transitional arrangement or a roadmap, with guidelines or signposts to the next elections.

The other propaganda claim –– this time by MDC-T, which is incredibly ridiculous –– is that a new presidential election can be held  alone in the context of harmonised polls under the current constitution and laws before 2013 when all polls are due.

MDC-M (now MDC-N) wants to give us the impression elections can only be held in 2013. The assumption being that only in 2013 can the country be ready for fresh elections.

These claims by the three political parties in the GPA fit into their propaganda templates, despite attendant lies and deception.

The GPA, whether on the surface or nuanced levels of understanding and analysis, was envisaged to last for two years although that duration was not automatically and necessarily its lifespan or natural life. It was a working arrangement. That’s why there were supposed to be annual reviews and a final assessment after two years to determine the way forward.

The GPA was predicated on the assumption that after two years its nucleus elements –– the constitution-making process and other critical reforms –– would have been completed. However, the GPA’s timetable on the constitution-making process is behind by almost a year.

So issues of GPA duration, implementation mechanisms, review, constitution-making process and referendum, and elections, including their conditions, timing and quality, have to be done by consensus. There is no room for unilateral actions or smoke-and-mirrors politics.

What political parties and their publicists are now saying is a well-packaged web of lies. If this sort of politicking is allowed to succeed, truth will in the end sound utterly preposterous and its speakers raving lunatics, while liars appear entirely plausible.

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