Flawed elections can never be a ‘closed chapter’

It is like a man who is foolish to believe that the infidelity he committed against his partner recently — which she discovered and is seriously angry and aggrieved — is a “closed chapter” simply because he declared so.

LET me make this abundantly clear from the onset, there is no way a flawed electoral process can simply pass by and be forgotten without its severe repercussions haunting the nation for a very long time.

Therefore, it becomes a fallacy and pure self-deception for anyone to believe that a country can get away with a corrupted election, just because those in power declared that it is now a “closed chapter.”

Thinking that way is not only delusional but also akin to the proverbial sweeping of our nasty deeds under the carpet.

They will sooner or later inevitably rear their ugly heads.

It is like a man who is foolish to believe that the infidelity he committed against his partner recently — which she discovered and is seriously angry and aggrieved — is a “closed chapter” simply because he declared so.

 He will soon learn that life does not operate that way!

 In other words, pretending that all is well in the nation and everyone is happy over stolen elections has dire consequences — if not downright extremely dangerous.

This is a lesson that I wish those in authority in Zimbabwe should learn — and learn very quickly.

One cannot just wish away the ramifications of the grossly and unashamedly rigged, fraudulent and shambolic August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.

 It was quite unsettling and disconcerting to hear both the Information minister Jenfan Muswere and the ruling Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa throw tirades at the EU EOM (Election Observer Mission) final report that was released on Friday.

As to be expected they were at pains defending an election that was similarly discredited by various other election observers —such as Sadc, AU, Comesa and Commonwealth — as falling short of local laws and regional/international guidelines governing democratic elections.

It was even more ridiculous hearing the two men’s unashamed attempts at forcibly closing the matter — by deceptively asserting that the country had moved on from elections and now is focused on economic development.

 Well, well, well!!

 Talk about delusional thinking and living in a fantasy world!!

 No rigged election goes unpunished.

Let me hasten to make it unequivocally clear that some of us who are demanding accountability from our leaders — in this regard, genuinely free, fair and credible elections — were in no way rooting for the opposition to win.

I, for one, am not speaking as a disgruntled CCC supporter or of any other opposition political party.

In fact, I have never shied away from making my views on political parties and politicians known.

Just last week, I penned an article titled Will Zimbabwe ever reach a place where we don’t hero-worship the president!

In this piece, as with numerous others, I never minced my words to the effect that there was no discernible difference between the ruling Zanu PF and opposition parties in Zimbabwe.

They are all motivated by self-serving power, greed to satisfy their egotistical, self-conceited   megalomaniac leaders.

I regard their followers as nothing more than fanatical sycophants — whose only purpose is to defend their führers and demigods — while viciously and savagely attacking any perceived opponents.

As far as I am concerned, there is no difference to ordinary Zimbabweans whether Zanu PF, CCC, MDC or any other political entity is in power.

They are all led by power-hungry leaders, with their rabidly intolerant hero-worshipers in tow — whose agendas have absolutely nothing to do with the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry.

These supporters’ sole purpose in life is to get and keep their leaders in power.

However, what drives me to call out any flagrant violations of the rule of law in Zimbabwe is my passion for justice and the respect of the citizens’ rights.

For instance, the right to elect a government of one’s choice is not just a constitutional guarantee — but an inalienable right for which thousands lost their lives in the struggle for independence.

I really do not care who wins the elections — for reasons already highlighted — but they have to be won according to the strict dictates of the law.

Failure of which, there will be consequences that will not be good for the country.

 For starters, a polarised and highly divided nation is not just riddled with toxicity but is weak and will never pull in the same direction.

Right now, characters such as Muswere and Mutsvangwa, as well as President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa himself, are fiercely pushing for the country to move on and concentrate on economic development.

 How do they believe this mammoth task is possible amid a people that is not united — with possibly half still angry and disgruntled over their stolen victory?

For any nation to prosper, there is a need for unity of purpose where we all follow a leader whom we willingly elected and love.

Yet, that is not the case in Zimbabwe!

There are millions — since CCC leader Nelson Chamisa garnered, at the very least, two million votes — out there who hate Mnangagwa and Zanu PF with a passion as they feel cheated.

How then is the nation supposed to move past that and develop?

I go back to the cheated lover example I gave earlier on: it would be the height of foolishness for the unfaithful partner to assume all is now well, simply because he said so!

One cannot just tell an aggrieved party to “get over it and move on.”

It does not work that way.

Indeed, the main opposition may not have a way to reclaim what it believes was its stolen victory — what with its seeming aversion to mass action, whereby it could have used its 2 million-plus power to pile pressure on the regime.

Nonetheless, that apparent docility and inaction should never be mistaken for a united nation that pulls in the same direction for economic prosperity.

Furthermore, perception is everything.

No investor, particularly foreign, will ever be comfortable to pour his billions of dollars into a country he perceives as unstable.

In addition, the recent EU election report may be a poignant signal to international investors of the possibility of further targeted sanctions on some individuals identified as having played a role in perverting the will of the people.

In the same breath, there is a very high possibility of the EU pulling out of Zimbabwe’s debt and arrears clearance programme — as a result, other global financiers may follow suit.

Already, the EU withdrew its US$5 million financial assistance to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission  in September 2023 — as a direct result of the electoral body’s wanton disregard for the law during the plebiscite.

Let us remember that one of the primary conditions for the talks on resolving the ballooning US$12,8 billion external debt was the holding of free, fair and credible elections. 

That failed to happen!

 In so doing, Zimbabwe’s chances of reopening international lines of credit have effectively gone up in smoke.

That will scare any potential investors away!

If truth be told, right now, Zimbabwe is considered one of the most politically and economically unstable and unreliable countries on the planet.

All the international news headlines of stolen elections, politically-motivated violence and brutal crackdown on the opposition — especially the post-election arrests, abductions and gruesome murders — do not augur well for investor confidence.

With reports from such reputable organisations as the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum suggesting that nearly 300 opposition and civil society activists have fallen victim to persecution since the August 2023 disputed polls — who, in their right mind, would want to invest their money in the country?

As such, even if the Mnangagwa regime manage to get away with its electoral fraud on paper — as is likely the case — the ramifications on the economy will be there for all to see and feel.

The millions of Zimbabweans — already reeling under unimaginable suffering, with two-thirds living in extreme poverty — will likely be in a far worse predicament.

The government will likely print more useless money to finance so-called “development programmes” — in the absence of lines of credit and significant investment — leading to the local currency spiralling further out of control.

More and more ordinary people will be pushed to the fringes of the economy — as they will not be able to afford anything with their valueless incomes. 

 All thanks to Zanu PF’s rigging of elections.

 As much as Mnangagwa and his cronies, and their families, will continue enjoying their power and the resultant wealth — there is nothing for ordinary Zimbabweans to hope for in a stolen “victory”.

Even Zanu PF’s fervent supporters should expect a torrid time ahead.

 In other words, there is no way a flawed election can be swept under the carpet and declared a “closed chapter”.

There are many more chapters to come in this story — most of which will hit millions of Zimbabweans hard.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected], or visit website: http://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/

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