HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsWe dont need blood stains on ballot papers!

We dont need blood stains on ballot papers!


It appears President Robert Mugabe, in spite of better advice from every corner, and despite clear evidence the people of Zimbabwe are against such a frightful prospect, insists on pushing the country into elections this year!

Given the hive of activity in his office, the envoys dispatched into the region and his reported statement to the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, indications are that the President will stop at nothing.

It becomes even more intriguing that Zanu PF should want the nation plunged into elections in the second half of the year when the nation should be concentrating on farming something that has never happened before.

Besides, there are many other factors that should dissuade Zanu PF from hurtling the country into an election, no matter how urgent that may be to their 88-year-old leader.

The fact remains that this country is not ready for elections, not by a long shot. And to the ordinary Zimbabwean, elections still represent horror and bloodshed. An MDC-T official Cephas Magura was killed in Mudzi on Saturday by alleged Zanu PF supporters and reports implicated a Zanu PF official.

Zanu PF has openly declared, in one of their post 2008 songs, zvikaramba toita zva June (If we fail we will resort to the June (2008) violence strategy). Such levels of unrepentence and celebration of impunity in Zanu PF spreads political tumor that is sure to slide the country back into violence.

There is no doubt we need elections in Zimbabwe to rid ourselves of this animal called the GNU, GPA or whatever name one prefers to call it.

It goes without saying the so-called inclusive government has not worked and that this country deserves better, but the stumbling block to the peoples free expression of who they want is violence, intimidation and general closure of democratic space.

There is no shred of doubt Zimbabwe must rid itself of lazy, corrupt, opportunistic and greedy political parasites through a decisive election but let us not confuse that with the very needful free and fair elections.

What we must be clear with each other about is that without a free and fair election, rushing to any pretence of a plebsite will not get us what we want. Besides a stolen election, there would be as a colleague of mine would have said blood on the floor.

Given the seriousness with which the politicians seek votes through death and broken bones, the blood is already reeking in our nostrils.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe says violence against teachers has escalated with alleged war veterans and Zanu PF-aligned politicians attempting to take control of institutions around the country.

Tsvangirai is well aware that violence is steadily on the increase, even though he appears to want to downplay it saying it is not yet as bad as June 2008. Should our politicians only raise alarm when that nightmare is reincarnated?

Holding elections this year, especially before electoral reforms and a complete overhaul of our political culture, would be a mere political ritual and very dangerous.

It appears those in the former opposition who appear to accept that elections be held now have not looked at the real implications of an election under the prevailing conditions. The military has reiterated their partisan declarations while self-proclaimed intellectual firagos have started flexing their cerebral muscles on emotive issues to do with the constitution.

The tragedy is that there are no safety guarantees for the ordinary Zimbabwean. Our people are, once again, being asked to sacrifice on behalf of crackpot politicians who have failed to make an impact on how Zimbabwe should go forward.

What is even more worrying is that South Africa, the architect of the so-called GNU, Sadc and everyone else that are demanding conditions for free and fair elections are being ignored or are being persuaded to accept this gory prospect.
Zanu PF is bent on putting the lives of the people of Zimbabwe on the line and the MDCs appear to be playing ball.

The political stance that the uniformed forces have taken, the state of the media, the non-existent constitution, the repressive laws still in force and the state of the voters roll are all a cause of worry.

The prevailing environment in Zimbabwe is clearly not conducive for the holding of free and fair elections. It is not disputed the institution in charge of administering elections is still discredited and lacks the institutional capacity and financial resources to conduct elections.

So why do the MDCs want to fall into the same hole twice? What is expected of them is to fight, not for elections, but for a level playfield and safety guarantees for the people so that June 2008 is not repeated.

True, we need elections but we do not need blood stains on the ballot papers.


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