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After 40 years, still failing to hold free and fair elections: 'to find the strait gate and narrow way'

21 Oct 2020 at 07:32hrs | Views
The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis is the country's failure to hold free, fair and credible elections. For 40 years the nation has beeb stuck with corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship and it shows.  

40 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption have left the country's, once robust and promising, economy in ruins. Unemployment has soared to nauseating heights of 90%, basic services such as education and health care have all but collapsed and over 34% of the population now live in extreme poverty.

The de facto Zanu PF one-party dictatorship has stifled public debate and democratic competition making politic such a dirty and dangerous game only corrupt and incompetent thugs seek public office. It is this death of quality leaders in both the ruling party and the multitude of opposition parties, 130 at the last count, that explains the political paralysis in Zimbabwe.

The economic meltdown has pushed the nation to the very edge of the precipitous abyss, the economic hardships have made the country politically and socially unstable. There is only so much suffering and deaths human beings can tolerate before the rebel, we are not that far from reaching that limit in Zimbabwe.

It is not too late to stop and turn back from the abyss. All we need to do is implement the democratic reforms to ensure the next elections are free, fair and credible elections. A very tall order but not mission impossible!

If we are ever going to have free, fair and credible elections, we need to understand why the country has failed to have such elections so far.

During the fight for independence there was never any doubt in the blacks' mind that they were fighting to end white colonial exploitation and oppression and replace it with black majority rule where all will enjoy freedom, justice, peace, liberty and economic prosperity. "One man! One vote!" was the rallying cry.

The black nationalists who took up arms to fight to end white colonial rule were called "freedom fighters" and "liberators". There was never an qualms they could be anything else much less the corrupt and murderous tyrants many have turned out to be. Of course, we were being naive and have paid dearly for our naivety.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Matthew 7:13-14

In 1980, Robert Mugabe and his fellow Zanu PF nationalists did not withdraw all the party's freedom fighters into Assembly Points as agreed in the Lancaster House Talks. The fighters campaign message to the populous was that the civil war would continue if Zanu PF did not win the elections.

Some people have tried to dismiss Zanu PF's threat to make the country ungovernable as just an electioneering gambit that had very little effect in the electoral outcome. The 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre in which over 20 000 innocent Zimbabweans were murdered in cold blood has settled the question of what Zanu PF would do to secure absolute power.

The primary purpose of the Gukurahundi massacre was to force the late Dr Joshua Nkomo and his PF Zapu to sign the 1987 Unity Accord merging the two party into Zanu PF and paving the way for the imposing of the de facto one party dictatorship. Ever since, Zanu PF has blatantly rigged the elections under the pretext those calling for free and fair elections were threatening unity and peace. A feeble excuse for denying the people their basic freedoms and rights and to justify abandoning the straight and narrow path.

By the late 1990s many Zimbabweans had finally come to the conclusion that Mugabe and many his Zanu PF cronies were corrupt, incompetent, vote rigging and murderous thugs and not the liberation heroes and heroines who cared about the freedoms and rights of all Zimbabweans. It was a bitter pill to swallow but many did swallow it. There was a national consensus that the nation will need to carryout democratic changes designed to end Zanu PF's carte blanche dictatorial powers to rig elections.

In 1999 Morgan Tsvangirai and his friends launched their party, November for Democratic Change (MDC), promising to deliver the democratic changes, as their party name implied, the nation was dying for. Sadly, after 21 years on the political stage, 5 of which in the 2008 to 2013 GNU, MDC has failed to implement even one token reform.

By continuing to participate in flawed and illegal elections the MDC have given credibility to the process and, by extension, given some modicum of legitimacy to the vote rigging Zanu PF regime.

To avoid taking the final steps over the edge of the precipitous abyss, Zimbabwe must ensure the next elections are free, fair and credible. There are two courses of action:

Plan A

Must implement the democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections. Since any Zanu PF led government, on its own or in a GNU arrangement, will not implement the reforms, the party will never reform itself out of office; Zanu PF must step down to allow the appointment of a body that will implement he reforms.

The opportunity to pressure Zanu PF to step down was lost because the opposition participated in the July 2018 elections. Still the worsening economic meltdown is putting the regime under great pressure as this is unsustainable.

Plan B

If the 2023 elections go ahead with no reforms in place; this time,  no stone must be left unturned to ensure the outcome is declare null and void and Zanu PF regime declared illegitimate. The world must be left in no doubt that the Zimbabwe opposition participating in these flawed elections are sell-out with no political credibility.

The people of Zimbabwe must wake up to the political reality that the opposition are running with the povo hare and hunting with the Zanu PF hounds.

The very fact that Zanu PF thugs have blatantly rigged the elections again and again for the last 40 years and we, the people, have allowed the regime to get away with it speaks volumes of our own political naivety.

Freedoms and rights including the right to a free vote and even the right to life are God given and every man and woman's birth right. But like everything else in this world, these freedoms and rights will only be enjoyed by those who take their responsibility to claim them as their own and, if need be, defend them with their very lives.

If we are ever going to have free, fair and credible elections and the enjoy the fruits of good governance then we must earn it by demanding reforms. Like it or not, we are masters of our own destiny, we are our own liberators.

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