The fatal error does not belong to Tsvangirai alone
Opinion by Ken Mufuka
My instructions were very clear. “Please, Professor, write a non-partisan analysis of the Zimbabwe elections.”When I started writing my story, before the instructions came, my title was; The end of the road. I have decided to keep that title as it fits the story very well.
The first rule of politics is that there are no rules. Cheating is permissible to the extent that the cheater must not be reckless as to endanger the prize, which is power. For this reason, all politicians employ surrogates, who cheat for them.
President Ronald Reagan employed William Casey who carried a bag full of money and smoothed Regan’s way with cash as they went along. Casey was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1982, thus scaring all those who wanted to see him in a jailhouse.
The presidential election of 2001 went to George Bush as a result of cheating in Florida. His brother Jebb was governor. Sixty thousand black votes unfavourable to Bush were deemed unreadable. The supreme court largely appointed by Bush’s father, however, allowed 500 favourable votes in his favour. That action alone changed the history of the United States.
Political parties are supposed to prevent cheating before it occurs; otherwise there is no legal system that can prevent a cheating winner from assuming power. In 2011, there was widespread cheating in the Republic of the Congo, but the cheating was regarded by observers as not sufficient to annul the election of Laurent Kabila.
The point I am making here is that we know that ZANU-PF was liable to cheat, and we can document that. But it is still the responsibility of the opposition to win the election, and to make sure that cheating is nipped in the bud. In the case of the MDC-T, the opposition was caught napping, a situation which was exacerbated by the gullibility of the leadership in the MDC-T.
Here are two examples of their naivety. Morgan Tsvangirai is on record for praising President Robert Mugabe. “President Mugabe does not make any decision without consulting first,” he said. All the election decisions were made without any consultations, as we shall show below.
Brother Tendai Biti is on record as saying that President Mugabe is a “fountain of experience, knowledge and, most importantly of stability. There are lots of horrible things that would have happened in this country if he had not said NO. History will prove the correctness of this statement.”
Any first-year under-graduate lawyer will bring these statements before the Constitutional Court to prove the veracity of President Mugabe’s conduct towards the opposition party. President Mugabe is a student of politics and there is a manual that describes this outwardly kindly disposition towards one’s opponents by the Roman historian Plutarch.
In the book, Lysander, Plutarch describes this dissembling discourse by which Brothers Tsvangirai and Biti were completely beguiled. “By his conduct, in their daily intercourse together, especially by the submissiveness of his conversation, he (President Mugabe) won the affection of the young princes, and desired them (Tsvangirai and Biti) not to refuse him their goodwill.”
We in the diaspora developed a great love for our white Brother David Coltart. Through his good services, we set up different organisations to help Zimbabwean students acquire books and scholarships from the US. Coltart, however, was also caught up in the love fest for President Mugabe, whom he described as sincere and passionate in his love for Zimbabwe.
I have before me a long letter by Coltart to the head of the Southern African Development Community observer mission to Zimbabwe. President Mugabe made an illegal proclamation of the election date, without concurrence of the Cabinet, or the three principals as stipulated in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), Section 31H.
Among other things, Coltart says that “the Registrar General and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have very cynically and deliberately breached this provision of the Electoral Act and the motivation for doing so is clear — it is designed to ensure that serious anomalies in the voters’ roll are not brought to light prior to the election.”
That a ghost voters’ roll existed is not in dispute. That an intensive voter registration 30 days after the announcement of the date was not done is not in dispute. But ZANU-PF can answer the charge by saying that while one million voters were left out in the cities, rural areas suffered a loss of 640 000, an indication that the breach by the Registrar General was not political, but due to insufficient resources allocated to him by an intransigent Treasurer, none other than Biti himself. When Biti released the funds, it was too late in the day for the funds to be effectively used.
The question was asked, if President Mugabe had committed so many breaches of the GPA, why then did he, Coltart and the two MDC formations take part in the election? This is the gist of my thesis. From the beginning, the MDC-T failed to learn the lesson of ZAPU, that while President Mugabe may appear sincere and affectionate in his dealings with opposition parties, his only aim is their total destruction. Read Plutarch above.
There are two referees in this game, the Constitutional Court chaired by Brother Godfrey Chidyausiku and the Electoral Commission, chaired by Sister Rita Makarau. A further argument which Coltart himself brings forward is that of incompetence. Incompetence is not criminal.
Having accepted to play the game under these two referees, the court and the commission, I doubt very much that these complaints can meet strict scrutiny before these two authorities.
There are two further difficulties. Biti was able to document ZANU-PF stalwarts bussed from Manicaland. These stalwarts were instructed to vote in his constituency, far away from their own homelands. Even if these scoundrels are prosecuted and jailed, they are small fish. ZANU-PF will deny any responsibility except the stalwarts’ own zealousness. That is why Regan employed Casey to do his dirty work.
The theory is that Regan would deny any complicity and Casey was willing to go to jail until pardoned by his superior. In any case the Biti case can be regarded as unusual and outside the norm. The second difficulty is that all ballot boxes were sealed and opened in the presence of witnesses.
The accusation here is that ZANU-PF voters used an ink-eraser which enabled them to vote three or more times. It is not in the interests of ZANU-PF to watch out for zealous stalwarts cheating on its behalf. It is the MDC-T’s responsibility.
The MDC-T and Brother Tsvangirai gave it all they could. There is a law of nature that says opportunities for greatness come only once. He missed his opportunity in 2008 when ZANU-PF clearly lost the election and he ran away to Bostswana.
In the meantime, ZANU-PF learned its lesson and took all measures necessary, by any means necessary to win the election. The fact that there is subdued silence is immaterial. But as Bush intimated to his adversaries, a win is a win, by whatever means. For Tsvangirai it is the end of the road. Biti may tarry for a while, but he too has come to the end of his road.
The support which the MDC-T received from the imperialist powers has also come to an end. I wrote to my friends in the MDC-T before the election that the US and the European Union (EU) are ready to make peace with President Mugabe. For the West, this too is the end of their love for the MDC-T.
The fatal error does not belong to Tsvangirai alone. We all trusted that outsiders, the US, the EU and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa would fight our battles.