Naïve Tsvangirai at it again with BVR

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai last week made a surprise declaration that the biometric voter registration (BVR) process would not be manipulated.

Candour: NQABA MATSHAZI

Nqaba Matshazi
Nqaba Matshazi

This is quite bold considering that Tsvangirai and his party are still crying foul over what they perceive to be interference from Nikuv International Projects, which even though four years have passed, they are yet to bring any plausible evidence of vote tampering.

It, thus, comes as odd that someone, who feels hard done in past elections, can be so quick to endorse the coming on board of Laxton Group for the BVR process.

The question is: What has Tsvangirai seen in Laxton Group that convinced him that they will not be open to manipulation by the government and we will not see a repeat of the 2013 episode, where Nikuv was blamed for everything?

Laxton Group has hardly set up in the country and only brought demo kits and surely it is too early for anyone to make an informed critique of the company.

For a politician in Tsvangirai’s position, a healthy dose of scepticism in any government process is vital and there was no need for him to endorse Laxton Group at this stage.

This is not to say there is anything wrong with Laxton — they could come in and do a fantastic job — but by endorsing them, Tsvangirai has little room to manoeuvre and were he to lose, then there is no way he can make a turnaround and blame the Chinese company.

Tsvangirai has literally given hostage to fortune on this one.

We have been here before and my worry is we do not seem to be learning from history and the same mistakes are being repeated.

When Rita Makarau was appointed as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson in 2013, Tsvangirai, then Prime Minister, gave her the thumbs-up and said she was the right person for the job.

There was some disquiet over Makarau’s appointment, but just as he has done now, Tsvangirai came out and allayed fears, saying she was able, qualified and was the right person for the job.

Before the 2013 elections, Tsvangirai even seemed to absolve the Zec secretariat of chicanery in the 2008 elections, whose final results were delayed by a month, insinuating that the fault was with some underhand and “other forces behind”.

In 2013, Tsvangirai repeated the same mantra, saying Makarau had nothing to do with his loss in that year’s elections and again blamed shadowy forces for his defeat.

“The fact of the matter is you could have put God there [in Makarau’s position] and even He would have been defied,” Tsvangirai said then.

This is an issue, because for me, if some underhand forces can take over Zec, influence the delay in election results announcement and manipulate results, then the body is not fit for purpose and should be disbanded almost immediately.

If not, then what is needed is a strong character, who will not accept interference from any force and at the slight hint of interference, they should have the integrity to walk away and say why they quit.

So, if Makarau and her predecessors allowed interference from underhand forces, as alleged by Tsvangirai, then they do not deserve endorsement from anyone, let alone the MDC-T leader.

Going back to Tsvangirai’s argument that Makarau knew nothing and was also a victim of underhand forces, what is there to stop the same shadowy figures from influencing the tendering process and awarding the tender to a favoured company?

While Tsvangirai might have wanted to allay fears of manipulation of the registration exercise, because he knew that casting aspersions on Laxton Group could affect the number of people intending to register, the smart thing would have been to keep quiet and let debates rage in public and then say something only when he is cocksure he is right and there would be no need to turn back.

Then back to Nikuv; in 2013 it was reported that Nikuv’s sister company, Pedstock had installed irrigation systems at Tsvangirai’s, his deputy Thokozani Khupe’s and then women’s assembly boss, Theresa Makone’s homesteads.

This raised questions on the three’s naivety, they did not do their due diligence on Pedstock before inviting the company to install irrigation systems.

Makone said she had used her own money to pay for the installation of the irrigation system — and I won’t doubt that — but from this episode it is clear the three invited Nikuv into their homes and into their lives and turning around to claim they were cheated by the same company smacks of political innocence that you would not expect from the three.

My colleague, Brezhnev Malaba wrote that the opposition was sleepwalking to electoral defeat, he was quite courteous, at this rate, they are literally blundering their way to a heavy loss next year.

There was no need for Tsvangirai to endorse Laxton Group, he would have lost nothing by keeping quiet about this whole episode.

If he was desperate to say something, then he should have asked his supporters to register in their numbers, but raise alarm immediately if they spotted any shenanigans, which the party would document and challenge Zec on.

What Tsvangirai’s message should have been is; that it does not matter who won the BVR tender, but rather emphasis should be on electoral reforms, just as he has been campaigning for all along.

Laxton Group can be the best company ever, but as long as there are “underhand forces”, which he claims to see, then there is no way the group can conjure a miracle and deliver a free vote.

He should have waited before passing his endorsement, now he may find himself in an unenviable position, where he has to explain to his supporters what went wrong if things do not go his way.

Feedback: nmatshazi@southerneye.co.zw

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26 Comments

  1. the whole issue is not on Makarau, or BVR system or the Laxton grp. My collegues if you can revisit Bikita by election properly. the Zec secretariat ndopane nyaya.it is full of Intelligent operatives who can control the campaigning ,police permission of rallies, chiefs and headman and counting itself.if you can remember very well CIO room the areas at night and indimidate voters and make rallies at night in ruaral areas.chiefs are ordered to gather his people and told what to tell them.voting patterns are done there. any suspicious movements are recorded.KUtaura kwatiri kuita even installation of chiefs these days CIO is involved.THey evaluate all potential candidates before information is released to thier bosses.it will be formalities only to install a chief only their prefered candidates are installed in expectation of rigging elections and implementation of their proZANUPF POLICIES.election ZANUPF yakahwina kare guys.its waste of time.

    1. Agreed. Members of neighbourhood watch committee in my area went to a town around here claiming they were being trained on 2018 election running

  2. Surely Mr Tsvangirai lost it. He should have waited until elections are over to give an evaluation.

  3. tendai chaminuka

    Tsvangirai is a leader of a democratic party and knows that in a democracy you have to appreciate a good when its done.It is naive on the part of the writer himself to state thus “Tsvangirai has little room to manoeuvre and were he to lose, then there is no way he can make a turnaround and blame the Chinese company.”When someone loses does he have to go for the blame game.

    1. I am in with you on this one. The writer just wants to discredit Tsvangirai. What is wrong in appreciating something which one feels is good? Every man is entitled to his opinion. Zimbabwe is a democracy!

    2. No grown up men and women should waste their time debating about the alleged election rigging by the Nikuv company this or that.

      The writer’s composition is full of trivia and borders on insanity. Surely, the Nikuv Company charade is for the insane and of little mental capacity being led by none other than the Senior leader of the stooge, puppet Mdcs Party Morgan Tsvangira and whatever he represents.

      In any case, they represent inconsequential matters in regard to the socio-economic of our Motherland….

  4. Tsvangirai made the right call. It will encourage his supporters to register to vote. Keeping silent would not have helped anything.
    Lets remember that the Laxton Group is not conducting BVR for the first time. The electoral problems lie elsewhere, no need to have Laxton as a convenient scapegoat.

    1. Zindoga Zindoga

      You are right. You need to build confidence in your followers otherwise they will be discouraged to vote if you engage in baby crying all the way to the election day. Tsvangirai made the right call.

  5. chitova you’re right. these so called opposition parties waste their time fighting zanupf in the press and in towns when the real war should be fought in the rural areas if they ever think of winning an election. the level of intimidation in these areas is so astounding. it is barbaric and its strange just how these opposition parties don’t talk much and enough about it. for as long as the rural vote isn’t given the security it needs from the marauding zanupf functionaries, then its as well proper that the opposition must stop even conducting rallies in these areas because these only serve to expose people who when election time comes they are subjected to all forms of barbaric abuse. conducting a rally in rural areas when you cannot guarantee the rural folk’s security after the rally is itself as evil as forcing people to vote for you the zanupf way. kana zvoipa tinokuzivai munotizira mumadhorobha muchisiya povo iripachena ichibvuraudzwa nezanupf nokuti kwekutizira vanenge vasinawo.

    1. Rural vote ndopane nyaya zveshuwa, rural folk need to be empoered against zanu pf chicanery

  6. Tsvangirai??? What is wrong with him does he have advisers he could have been President a long time ago asi those small blunders have cost him.

  7. you know what i think guys, Tsvangirai must have been bought by zanu pf to play with our minds and lives. i am a true mdc T suppoter but i am now loosing trust in save. 2008 we won but he ran away, 2013 we were riiged but he kept quite, this time around we will vote for him but i know he is going to lose again not beacause zanu inodiwa but because haagoni kuona nekutaura chitsotsi chezanu. this man is already living zvakanaka saka chero akaloser hapana chaanobva sarei tavamapenzi tichitambudzwa nezanu iye agere hake kuHighlands kwake uko. taneta nekubirwa vhoti takatarisa vakomana. Save munovhoterwa asi rambaiwo kubirwa makatarisa pliz. munoda tiite sei isu pedu tichizama kuita, this time i wont forgive you mukadyiwa Save. ikozvino tarirai matotanga kuti heee maChina haana kuipa chino chino. trust no one and suspect everyone Save. 2018 we will vote for you but make sure reforms dzaitwa. Viva MDCT.

  8. the elections are never manipulated in the balot box but a few days or weeks before the actual election through intimidation. our biggest challenge is to let the electorate know that they are safe if they vote for a candidate of their choice

  9. Takapareyi maZimbo kupihwa Zanu. I wish we could take the whole politburo for a drive along Chirundu road in King Lion Bus.

  10. Janana wa Bikaz

    As much as we may want to blame Tsvangirai,our main problem as far as elections are concerned is voter intimidation, violence and ballot stuffing.Tsvangirai is only giving confidence to the electorate.The awarding of the BVR tender is something that Tsvangirai cannot change.Awarding of the tender is a perogative of ZEC.Even in a court of law he will never stand a chance if he decides to challenge that, so the only option available is to give his supporters all the confidence so that they fully participate in the elections.Factually speaking there is completely nothing that shows that the company awarded the tender is not competent except that it is a Chinese company.If there is anything that disturbs the voting in Zimbabwe,it is violence that is perpetrated by zanu pf hooligans and the failure of the law enforcement agents to to bring the perpetrators to book.If the opposition retaliates they are arrested in the blink of an eye and are subjected to beatings, torture or even death at the hands of the law enforcers.I have seen and heard of opposition supporters being arrested at police stations for reporting that they have been beaten by zanu pf thugs.

  11. Benard Chimuzinga

    This should have been an editorial or something.I find it not to be a story,but an expression of Trevor Ncube’s hatred on Tsvangirai. The way you scorned Tsvangirai shows lack of diplomacy and persuasiveness in writing which resembles good journalism.

    1. Benard Chimuzinga

      poor journalism i mean.Munofanira kuve objective kwete kutuka opposition leader zvakadai.Let facts speak for themselves!

  12. the thing is to instill confidence in the electorate, if he had said the bvr is rubbish then why should people go and register.

  13. embrace October 17 with a smile.

  14. kuti musati maona hondoka muchaiona nyika ndeye munhu wese kwete zanupf chete.Handiti mugabe akazvigadza ega pa chituru muchiona.Zvino kana angazvinyeberazve kuti ahwina election ya 2018 iyo muchaona tichigadza president Morgan Tsvangirai muchionawo nenharo kuti iri hondo ndiyo yandakasimbira ini.

  15. The problem with you pple is that you want tsvangirai to lie to you that he won 2013. He knows the truth and remaining in denial will repeat the same thing. He is trying to get new voters by encoutaging them to vote

  16. The problem with you pple is that you want tsvangirai to lie to you that he won 2013. He knows the truth and remaining in denial will repeat the same thing. He is trying to get new voters by encouraging them to vote

  17. For how long shall Tsvangirai misdiagonise the cause of his serial losses? He is the alternative face of Zimbabwe’s leadership but he serves in a master-servant capacity rubberstamping everything arranged behind the scenes. What is his input in national affairs? The whole BVR affair is a carrot Zanu PF is dangling and now than Tsvangirai has swallowed the bait, the election is as good as done. Was he consulted in the whole BVR deal? With such a broad geographical representation, his input is absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, MDC-T supporters should drop their blind fanaticism and put their leader to task to voice out his concerns in such monumentous issues. Unless they force him to demand full-blown electoral reforms and to penetrate the rural areas decisively, he shall not have diagonised where the rains started beating him yet. The 2018 election therefore will just be a formality. You take my statement to the bank!

  18. To Benard Chamuzinga, this is not a new piece but an opinion!! Just look at and read the title ‘Candour.’ The writer is merely expressing his opinion on Tsvangirai’s utterances my foot.With all due respect, was Tsvangirai suposed to be consulted regarding the BVR issue? Is he in government? Note that all opposition parties were duly invited when the kits were being tested and they expressed their opinions and they were generally in agreement that the Chinese company will do a better job based on its past history.

    Now as to whether Tsvangirai is correct in endorsing the kits or not – the most impottant thing l think is to make people register in their numbers especially the young and those in the rural areas. Opposition parties in Zimbabwe should take note that in most countries where long time ruling ruling parties have been defeated in elections, it is because the youths would have voted as they are directly affected by the policies of these partiies which tellingly fail to create jobs for the many gradutaes. Also, the rural vote is very important, so all opposition parties should make sure to invade the rural areas and conscietise people on the fact that their vote is their secret, contrary to what they are told by chiefs and their cronies. It is only when the electrotate is empowered and fearless that we will see a change of governing parties in this country. Thus, to Tsvangirai and all opposition parties, there is need to make a real bliztkiereg of the rural areas so that you win their confidence. Most of the urban areas are already in opposition hands so the real work is in UMP, Bulilimangwe, Chakohwa so to speak.

  19. mbandaka bolomba

    For now Tsvangirai has no power ,majority in parliament is democratic power of which the mdc does not have .The election is good but the mdc is losing again because of the same errors ,it has supporters but no voters ,their party discourages them to vote but not taking responsibility when they lose an election cleanly .From 1998 you sing the same song rigged ,rigged eish muripiko why should we vote now , why entering an election knowingly you have lost .Fools they continouesly repeat the same mistake with bad results.

  20. MATSHAZI….. a great deal of NOTHING! bring him down syndrome….kkkkkk ..uneconomic use of words ,fallacy at its best…literary nosense… a proponent backwardness!

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