HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZanu PF has redefined the meaning of elections

Zanu PF has redefined the meaning of elections


The curtain is almost coming down on 2010. It is that time of the year when we wish one another a merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

The hopes for new beginnings in 2011 are drooped by the thought of looming elections, putting many into a state of ambivalence and bewilderment.

The wounds of the 2008 elections have not healed yet.

Those who lost their relatives are still mourning. Some may not have even done their memorials and the increasing calls for elections are only adding to exasperation.

The question on whether Zimbabwe is ready for elections has been interrogated several times and the candid conclusion is we are just far from ready, if free and fair elections is the benchmark.

Perhaps we should start asking ourselves if we really need elections given that whatever formulae we use the results are the same.

Certain quarters are, nonetheless, pushing for elections next year which puts into question the agenda behind those elections.

These obstinate calls make one even more apprehensive as they are coming from a party that has not only watched the waning of its support base over the decades, but failed to secure enough votes for its leader and a majority in Parliament despite having all the state machinery at its disposal.

The resultant compromise or sign of accepting defeat is the coalition government.

One is forgiven for thinking that the relentless push, perhaps, is conveying and presuming a new-found sense of belief in democracy, inimical to dictatorship allergic to submitting power under the democratic and electoral microscope.

Just what is it that Zanu PF has found in elections which has made them so much excited, which we haven’t seen yet? What’s new on their menu which they haven’t delivered in the last three decades?

In modern and representative democracy, which Zimbabwe purports to follow, elections are a formal decision-making process by which citizens choose individuals to hold public office.

This should be achieved through electoral systems that convert public opinion, will and wishes of the voting citizens into political decisions.

Openness, accountability, free and fairness are usually considered cornerstones of such a democratic system, the outcome of which must be observed and respected by both the losing and winning parties. Will of the people is the main denominator.

Judging by the different statements coming from Zanu PF, there seems to be a new definition and purpose of elections other than the above definition.

Firstly, Zanu PF has secured forced consensus from the two MDC formations who have been put on the spot to declare their readiness for elections even when we are still far from achieving the six key conditions prescribed by Sadc for free and fair elections. A new constitution, national healing, media, electoral, political, and economic reforms are all still work in progress.

It’s only two leaders among the three main parties who have declared their readiness – but the people may be getting scared.

Secondly, Zanu PF made it clear that one of the main objectives of next year’s elections is to get rid of unwanted elements in the government “because (some) of the things that are happening (in the inclusive government) are absolutely foolish and stupid”.

So brace yourself for “Operation Clean Out MDC From Munhumutapa Building Without Fail”.

Thirdly, some in the security forces have weighed in, declaring that that the results of the national elections proposed for next year will be accepted only if President Robert Mugabe’s party wins because “this country came through blood and the barrel of the gun, and it can never be recolonised through a simple pen, which costs as little as five cents”.

These three constitute the conditions for elections next year; a forced election under the same conditions as 2008, a skewed electoral system that facilitates the MDC clean-up operation and finally the possibility of a military coup should two fail and the wishes of the people go against the wishes of power.

Conclusively running this election is a mere formality whose main objective is to reclaim total control and legitimacy through whatever means. Any talk of the will of people is just charade.

People know what they know and they know what they want. They have expressed their wishes 10 times since 2000 but the environment does not accommodate the wishes of the people. So why waste time and money in elections?

If the main question is about determining who should rule the country between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Mugabe, why not toss a coin than expose the country to a costly process which exposes people to political violence unnecessarily?

This may be an option, especially when there is no guarantee that the wishes of the people will be respected.

Whoever wins the toss becomes the leader. I will donate the coin.

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