It is understandable that the opposition and civil society should be dismayed by the outcome of the recent elections.
By The MuckRacker
The MDCs played by the rules and Zanu PF, as usual, did what it liked. In particular it abused sections of the Electoral Act that forbade parties and their leaders from “treating” to voters. It will now struggle to make good on those inducements.
But the opposition parties, which are partly to blame, should not worry unduly.
They can be sure Zanu PF will soon disgrace itself in one way or another and the regional states will have to come to the rescue.
It is already broke. Recovery is impossible without an infusion of foreign investments and that looks distant after the poll that was manifestly stolen. The main donors are the same states that have expressed the most forthright misgivings about the election outcome.
In fact the statements of congratulation already hint at ongoing involvement. Let’s not forget that the whole exercise around the government of national unity was designed to promote consensus in electoral reforms. Those reforms mostly have not succeeded.
Reading between the lines of the messages of congratulation has been the suggestion that the region will remained “seized” with the Zimbabwe crisis for some time to come.
Another false start
Anybody following the state media will immediately realise that the national consensus has not been achieved and is not likely to be achieved so long as the hardliners remain in control.
They don’t want a coalition of any sort. And they don’t want to engage with the outside world unless it serves their narrow partisan purpose.
President Mugabe presides over a divided nation, one where a corrupt ruling elite maintains a sclerotic grip on the instruments of power. There will be no change in the way we are governed. And the fruits of economic recovery will not be seen.
The economy was slowly improving when the election was held. Now it will slide into reverse as overzealous elements like Saviour Kasukuwere take charge. Indigenisation is theft by another name. And none of the stakeholders that matter are going to give that the nod.
Andrew Young’s letter to the president promising all sorts of backing is a “dead letter” now. They have their tails up at present. But just watch the scenario unfold.
This is not the glowing outcome the GNU was designed to achieve. Nor is it the African success story we are told the continent wants. Ask Ian Khama. Zanu PF is claiming to be the African battlefront. In fact it is a cul-de-sac.
Isn’t it typical of our deluded rulers that they set upon Botswana for telling it like it is? Thank God for Khama. He runs a stable and prosperous economy which his father built from nothing but desert.
He shows us how to do it. We are going the other way! Creating a desert where industry once thrived. Look at Bulawayo.
Isn’t it disgusting to see the invective that the lickspittle press in Harare heap upon one of Africa’s few success stories.
As for President Mugabe’s legitimacy which this whole GNU exercise was about, that seems as remote as ever.
He didn’t win the July election and he knows it. You can tell what he thinks by the malevolence of his public pronouncements.
What sort of a statesman is it who tells his opponents to go hang? It shows rigging allegations are getting to him. It may feel good now but let’s see how the new battlefront looks this time next year with no investment and no friends.
And just how does Zanu PF think it will rescue the economy without the world’s most important investors and donors? The next Minister of Finance will be handed a poisoned chalice.
Zimpapers boss Justin Mutasa has been congratulating his staff for keeping the people of Zimbabwe well informed.
“Today we are celebrating this great institution called Zimpapers,” he declared at a function held to thank Zimpapers reporters for their coverage of elections, which observers say was like a Zanu PF victory celebration.
“We are here to defend the national values of our country.”
His naivety is overwhelming. Has it not occurred to Mutasa that there might be more than one interpretation of the national interest? For instance he doesn’t seem to mind propagandists masquerading as journalists in his newspapers. That’s OK with him. It’s certainly not OK with any self-respecting journalist outside the grovelling Zimpapers stable.
Zimpapers chief operating officer Pikirayi Deketeke said the company was investing in journalism.
That’s good news. But what does it entail? More bootlicking columnists? Zimpapers’ incredibly partisan and unprofessional coverage of the recent election must be sent to all media trainers as an illustration of how not to do it.
‘A futile exercise’
Meanwhile, the press has in certain instances overlooked its duty to bring certain matters to the attention of the public. For instance Welshman Ncube’s statement that Zimbabweans had been “frog-marched to an election for which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was ill-prepared”, deserved prominence.
Ncube said it was his party’s “well-considered view that taking this matter to court would be akin to going to Robert Mugabe and asking him to reverse his victory.” But that’s of course exactly what he should be doing.
The sub-text here is rather worrying: that individuals or parties cannot expect redress in the courts; that there is no point exercising their rights.
It might be worth recalling how long the MDC has had to wait for previous appeals to be heard only to be told Tsvangirai didn’t have locus standi so couldn’t bring the application.
Now Tsvangirai is told any appeal against the most recent electoral outcome would be “a futile exercise”.
“We have heard they have gone to consult a witch doctor,” Mugabe said at Heroes Acre. “Beware, they could be embarking on a futile exercise that could backfire.”
Surely, if they won such an overwhelming victory they would have nothing to lose from an appeal? Why all the threats? Are they entitled to appeal or not? If so, let them do so.
Mugabe said his election victory was irreversible. How does he know? Is he saying he already knows how the Constitutional Court will rule? But just watch this space. Within no time Zanu PF will have tarnished its “great victory”.
Attempt to besmirch
And who, we would be keen to know, introduced Zanu PF to its much-abused reference to Britain’s “dominions”? It appeared on their placards recently. The usage is currently being made with reference to Australia. But it hasn’t been heard of in Australia or anywhere else in the Commonwealth since 1953!
For the record they are now called “realms” and are completely independent of Britain although they share the same head of state. Jamaica for instance is a realm but is planning to become a republic.
Many years ago they were known as “the British dominions beyond the seas”. But that was in the 1920s and 30s. Somebody in the Zanu PF propaganda department has seized on this archaic reference to demean Australia, New Zealand and Canada who are in fact multicultural societies now.
South Africa used to be a realm but voted to drop the Queen in 1961. It was subsequently booted out of the Commonwealth because of apartheid but has now rejoined.