Can MDC Alliance point finger at Zec?

THERE is a time to set the record straight so that repeated lies about anyone and anything do not begin to sound like the truth.

By CONWAY TUTANI

Fellow Zimbabwean Brighton Musonza posted this on social media recently: “Listen folks, no one is paid to have different political views from yours. That mediocrity should end . . . People don’t have to be paid not to agree with you or not to reconcile with your version of Zimbabwe that you want. We are in a democracy and we make choices. You should accept that or simply jump onto your bike and go to hell . . . We’re citizens first before we assume political activists’ roles. I am not a political activist and so I am not entitled to be emotionally attached to your party . . . Politics of extremism is hurting Zimbabwe. Don’t take a religious relationship with political parties.”

With the worsening toxicity in the political atmosphere as elections loom, these are timely words. I say so because, without beating about the bush, without prevarication, without mincing words, deliberate gross misrepresentations and lies are being spread by mainly a vociferous section of MDC Alliance supporters that if you don’t see things their way, you have somehow been bought by their main rival, Zanu PF. Just go on social media and you will get a feel of the deluge and virulence of the ignorant, immature and insulting baseless accusations.

But we should not let censurable conduct go unchallenged just to please or placate people whose unhealthy sense of belonging to a political party makes them go to the ridiculous extent of putting their party leader’s face as their profile picture on Facebook. This is often seen in people with a low sense of self-worth who let the party completely take over every aspect of their life — like the man who bashed his wife for attending a Zanu PF rally as if he owns her. Unfortunately, many people obsess over one aspect of their lives — such as elections which come and go — at the expense of the others — such as their marriage and family. Theirs is a case of infatuation. Infatuation is liking everything about a person, and seeing them as perfect; you do not see their flaws, you just overlook them and act like they are perfect. We should not waste time for discussing serious national issues by humouring or indulging such people with a fan club mentality.

This poisoned atmosphere could be partly blamed on those leaders on both sides of the political divide who are sending the far-fetched message that they are on a divine mission to rescue Zimbabwe, which blasphemous and profane message will be taken to the maximum literal meaning by unthinking, fanatical minds in their ranks who are incapable of seeing the other side to an issue. That’s why Musonza warns of the dangers of having “a religious relationship with political parties”, where (not Musonza’s words) “the rose-coloured lenses of the mind play their trick, filtering its perceptions to see that which it chooses to see. It is like a form of immature puppy love”.

We have to speak truth to power about both ruling party and opposition party leaders. But some people are giving the lame excuse that the timing of pointing out such glaring faults in the opposition is wrong because “we want to get rid of Zanu PF first”. First, some people do not want to be drawn into the Zanu PF-MDC fights because they don’t give a hoot for either party; they don’t care at all about what happens or doesn’t happen to either party. Second, this is erroneous and presumptuous thinking because it’s not all people who are on a mission to vote Zanu PF out as seen from the numbers at the ruling party’s rallies. This is not a zero-sum game. Third, while to some people nothing has changed, but to others Zanu PF has reformed enough post-Robert Mugabe and improved things to be electable again.

Of course, we should factor in that some traditional Zanu PF supporters are now backing MDC because the Zanu PF they loved disappeared with Mugabe’s ouster in November 2017. Equally so, some traditional MDC supporters now back the reconstituted Zanu PF government under Emmerson Mnangagwa because the party they loved died with the mayhem that followed party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s death in February 2018 and they see real change on the ground and on the horizon. No one can justifiably accuse these people with their contrasting perceptions of being bought by anyone for seeing things the way they do and for shifting support between the two parties as and when they feel like. So no one owes anyone an explanation for their choice except their conscience.

With the elections a matter of days away, there is no better time to point out what is not acceptable. It cannot be untimely to criticise because life is always work in progress and, as such, nothing should stop just to make someone win elections, especially undeservedly so. The time to raise red flags is here and now because if you wait until these politicians get into office in the event that they win, they would have become too important to listen to anyone or heed any advice. This week, I heard some journalists discussing among themselves that of all the opposition Cabinet ministers appointed to the Government of National Unity (2009-2013), only three remained accessible, while the rest became unreachable because they were now too firmly ensconced in high office to preoccupy themselves with mere reporters. So, those journalists who have reduced themselves to be megaphones of politicians ought to take heed — that is, if they still regard journalism as a conscience profession.

This brings us to the raging topical issue about the voters roll which the opposition has raised against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). Wrote Tawanda Majoni: “These are legitimate concerns, of course. That means the opposition is not offside to complain and its message on how Zec has handled the voters roll, in particular, is good to listen to.”
But, continued Majoni in the article titled “The voters roll and a double-faced opposition” (The Standard, June 17-23 2018): “The problem, though, is with the messenger, particularly the MDC Alliance. These guys are accusing Zec of what they also guilty of. ‘Hostile’ names were removed (from the MDC-T’s own primary election voters roll). Ghost party voters were added. In some cases, candidates were imposed. Quite disturbingly, some candidates never got the registers and if they did, they had them flashed in their faces just before the primaries, literally . . .

“Similarly, the Alliance primaries were not without violence and intimidation. Hired youths gave hell to rival candidates. They decided who voted and musn’t and were strategically positioned at the polling points to make that happen. That makes it very hard for the political outfit to make a convincing case out of the fact that the BVR process was marred by violence and intimidation. This is because, more often than not, humanity has a tendency to look at the messenger before listening to the message.”

Indeed, do not look at the messenger, but heed the message instead of rushing to baselessly and ignorantly accuse anyone of being bought.

Concluded Majoni, an experienced journalist and international correspondent with a strong passion for humanitarian and investigative reporting, media and public relations and training, as well as scholarly research on media ethics: “Never mind the fact that the opposition is making good points moaning over the voters roll. Where Zec is bad, so is the opposition. It must have avoided doing what it doesn’t want to happen to it. That is approaching the voters roll conversation with a dirty mouth. As they say, charity begins at home.”

Well, does suggesting that the MDC Alliance is least qualified to point fingers at Zec mean that one has been bought?

lConway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: nkumbuzo@gmail.com

25 Comments

  1. Zimbabwe Rising

    On point Mukoma Conway

  2. Anotuka haana kuraiwa

    Mashoko makukutu.uchanzwa rimwe risina kuraiwa rakutuka ipapa.panekuti ripewo pfungwa dzinehungwaru.

  3. what are you saying by the way ?

    1. tongai tione, this is not for thick-headed people like you. Leave it to others. Zviri kure newe izvi, bvuma.

      1. We have always known you to be a Zanu supporter masquerading as a neutral reporter. Look at the comments you makeabout MDC on your facebook page. I used to resoect you but realise that with age your true Zanu colours are showing. Are you being paid some pension of some kind by Zanu, realising that you are reaching retirement age

        1. BOGHILA, are you “we”? One can also say that you BOGHILA has always been an MDC supporter, so hapana nyaya kuti which party Tutani supports or does not support. If you support MDC, what’s wrong with anyone supporting whoever? The facts which Tutani has highlighted are that MDC is as crooked and as fraudulent as ZEC. Can you deny that?

  4. Tutani is entitled to his opinion in these “both sides are wrong” pieces, of course. All what most of us want most, I hope, is a free and fair expression of the people’s will, come voting day. But for example, to point out the hazards of MDC supporters posting Chamisa’s face on their social media profiles, while not mentioning that grown men and women are attending rallies dressed in party clothes pasted with ED’s face (just as in the Mugabe era) seems shady at the very least. If I’m in a hut with a cobra and a house snake, I doubt I would see the merit in someone repeatedly emphasizing that the house snake bites too.

  5. TUTANI u are a zanu pf apologist.we have know n u for a long time.u are so narrow minded so you don’t want pple to complain abt Zec.we want a free and fair election period.Go and hang tutani after 30 July u are history

  6. MUZEPETE, those grown men and women wear party clothes with someone’s face but they don’t wear a mask with someone’s face over their own face. That’s the big, big difference. Maybe you would also like to take to task Tawanda Majoni, who Tutani has extensively quoted exposing the hypocrisy of MDC.

    1. @Iquiniso. We are allowed to prioritize things differently. But as countrymen and women we should all agree on one fundamental thing: the right for people to choose freely and fairly who they wish to lead them, for better or for worse. No more rigging.

  7. Tutani and Majoni are u saying simply because primaries were botched then national ones should be as well? You are sick.

    1. Tawanda Majoni

      Vimbai, it’s wise not to use abusive language in a conversation, worse still when you are failing to grasp the gist of the arguments being made. The oint that Conway makes here is that we must sway away from the tendency to label people for holding opinions, and the Zec reference is just to say opposition (Alliance) has dirty hands too so its tainted too and must not start telling us they are perching on high moral ground

  8. I totally agree with you but on the other hand those concerns Zec must take heed of them.These elections are for all Zimbabweans not considering anyone’s political affiliation. Zec must be called to order coz after elections and the out come might send someone into compromising situations. I rest my case

  9. Crazy, how can Tutani compare internal party primaries to a national election

  10. bheveni sibanda

    Point on for sure. dindingwe rinonakirwa richakweva rimwe kana rokwevewa hanzi mavara azare mavhu. zvekubirana is a rule of the game saka lets go and campaign tiende kuma Elections 30 July arohwa arohwa ikoko.

  11. so the actual fact u agree is that ZEC is rigging is that so by the way do you believe in idealism or realism dear to start with

  12. There is nothing wrong in Tutani criticising the way MDC handled their primary elections, but there is everything wrong in saying ZEC must proceed with a flowed voters role …you are offside mukoma apa

  13. Most of the above comments are biased versions but Tutan remains with a straight face,Chamisa & mdc alliance are not guaranteed answers to our national woes nor it that zanu pf is a complete devil with Mnangagwa only a new man released from the hook of Mugabe-some people simply want to test the depth of his called new dispensation& they have that right without interferance

  14. Most of the above comments are biased versions but Tutan remains with a straight face,Chamisa & mdc alliance are not guaranteed answers to our national woes nor it that zanu pf is a complete devil with Mnangagwa only a new man released from the hook of Mugabe-some people simply want to test the depth of his so called new dispensation& they have that right without interferance

  15. Those who were here in 1980 during the run up to the first democratic election will remember that the political playing field did not at all satisfy all the contesting parties. In fact it weigned heavily against those representing the liberation movements like ZANU PF & PF ZAPU. But since they commanded the majority support, the Rhodesian evil machinations or dirty tactics, including its cruel rigging machine did not stop genuine winners from cruising to victory. Fears or no fears do not stop genuine winners to be voted into office by genuine voters, PERIOD. So, MDC Alliance and its supporters should not misplace their efforts by focusing on these inconsequential trivialties. Who said bravery or fearlessness is now a vice in this modern world?

  16. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

  17. Conway, Are you saying MDC Alliance is not supposed to point out malpractices by ZEC because they had problems during their primary elections? This is shocking reportage by a supposedly seasoned columnist!!!

  18. Excellent and fair comment

  19. Tawanda Majoni

    Vimbai, it’s wise not to use abusive language in a conversation, worse still when you are failing to grasp the gist of the arguments being made. Zvinoitwa kubhawa raMai Jojo izvozvo. The point that Conway makes here is that we must sway away from the tendency to label people for holding opinions, and the Zec reference is just to say opposition (Alliance) is also tainted and must not start pretending its standing on high moral ground. It doesnt absolve Zec

  20. Comment… nonsense

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