I TOOK a long break from writing, focusing mostly on microblogging on Twitter. I have also reduced my presence on Facebook.
Inasmuch as I would like to write frequently, I have come to terms with the fact that ideas are sometimes shared fairly easily and quickly in smaller amounts than when one focuses on coming up with a write-up which requires more words and organisation.
As a postgraduate student, I have had to work on presentations and writing as well as travels to other continents of the world.
Because of the amount of energy, time and organisation required in academic pursuits of this nature, my writing time became even more severely-rationed, I couldn’t just keep pace with developments in Zimbabwe.
Although my interest in global issues remains, my foremost interest is in what gets to happen in Zimbabwe. I pay no allegiance to any other country apart from Zimbabwe. When Zimbabwe is working, I will be the happiest man on earth.
It is against this backdrop that I interrogate the feasibility of the July 30, 2018 elections in reversing the wretched conditions that our country is in, conditions brought about by former President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s excesses.
It is in the public domain that Zimbabwe witnessed Mugabe’s humiliation and unceremonious ouster from power in a coup fronted by Constantino Chiwenga, the then commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, on Emmerson Mnangagwa’s behalf in November 2017.
Mnangagwa had lost his positions as Vice-President of both party and country. Mugabe had felt the need to clip his growing wings amid accusations of plotting to take over, which happened anyway!
Mnangagwa returned in some dramatic fashion following his brief exile in neighbouring South Africa. To some, he returned to a hero’s welcome while others still consider him a villain in light of his role in brutal and violent campaigns against Zanu PF opponents since independence in 1980, including during the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Since his return from South Africa in November 2017, Mnangagwa and the military have effectively been in charge of all State institutions in a manner that exposes the façade of a new era or the so-called new dispensation.
For instance, apart from his appearance on television sets in mid-March (exactly four months after his political castration), Mugabe appears to have lost his voice.
As expected, he complained about the manner in which power was wrested from him and, unfortunately, he hasn’t been fortunate to receive much audience and sympathy from the people he oppressed for 37 years and seven months.
However, despite Mugabe’s fall from grace, nothing much has changed both politically and economically. The only big change is that Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe are, for the first time since 2000, not on the ballot paper.
Sadly and painfully, Tsvangirai lost his brave battle to cancer of the colon on February 14, 2018. He bravely stood against Zanu PF dictatorship, suffering immensely in the process.
For him and many innocent Zimbabweans brutally murdered by the Zanu PF regime, our wretched conditions need to be reversed.
Otherwise, what would be the justification for all the suffering we have been through as a people?
Tsvangirai never fought in vain.
Gibson Sibanda, Gertrude Mthombeni, Fletcher-Dulini Ncube, Learnmore Jongwe, Joshua Nkomo, Better Chokururama, Tonderai Ndira, Trymore Midzi, Ndabaningi Sithole, Talent Mabika, Tichaona Chiminya, and Matthew Pfebve are some of the heroes and heroines who fought for our country’s democratisation before and after independence.
For their sake and our own sake, conditions really need to change. I am happy to see members of the original Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) working together against the junta in Zimbabwe.
What worries though is that Tsvangirai’s former deputy, Thokozani Khupe, has chosen to go it alone, even in the full knowledge that her presidential bid is doomed and a futile exercise.
The stance taken by the Zimbabwe African People’s Union leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, is worth mentioning. Dabengwa has thrown his weight behind Nelson Chamisa, the new MDC-T and MDC Alliance leader, in the July 30 elections.
It would be quite heartening if all other presidential aspirants without any chance of winning this election stood behind Chamisa.
Chamisa has a huge chance and I have no doubt that he’s capable of winning two-thirds of presidential votes (please take note of this for the record!).
Pro-Mnangagwa polls showing his victory should, therefore, be dismissed with the contempt they deserve. Mnangagwa is unelectable and has no support.
Only a tiny proportion of what remains of Zanu PF is deluded to the extent of thinking that Mnangagwa will ever win a free, fair and credible election.
So what do we need to do to win this election? Sometime in April this year, exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, claimed that Zimbabwe was, as it were, in a “Machiavellian moment” which required some sort of symbiosis between the so-called “Philosopher-Prince”, following the teachings of Plato.
However, I don’t intend, in this treatise, to consider the merits and demerits of Moyo’s assertion and the elixir he believed would be needed to normalise wretched conditions in our country.
Rather, I seek to avoid any form of “pedestrian opinion” because we have before us a giant statue which, in ways almost similar to the Prophet Daniel’s frightening dream, is bright and shining and terrifying to look at.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) stands between us and our victory. Without professionalism and impartiality, Zec won’t be able to deliver to the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe a free, fair and credible poll.
We already know and so does everyone else that “there are no free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Elections are associated with various irregularities such as violence, intimidation and administrative loopholes of the election body” (Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index (BTI), 2018, p11).
We know in painful detail that the ‘ruling party, Zanu PF, has managed to entrench its autocratic rule mainly through the use of intimidation and fear as well as the violation of basic human rights’ (BTI, 2018, p16).
For these reasons, the “Grand National Union” that Moyo proposes seems to make sense. We have the chance to work together and defeat this junta.
Finally, although I will be in South Africa during the elections, I won’t be able to vote because I, just like all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, have been denied my right to vote.
I, however, believe that those who will vote will do so for present and future generations of Zimbabweans.
Without doubt, our wretched conditions call for some kind of reversal and they need every single vote there is. Will we rise to the occasion and reverse them? Only time will tell.
May God bless Zimbabwe!
The struggle continues unabated!
Mutsa Murenje is a social activist. He writes in his personal capacity.