Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Polling officers abusing citizens should be beaten up in the polling stations

By Kennedy Kaitano
2018 is not too far, and elections can be held 12 months away from now, hence the opposition parties, most of whom seem agreed on the need for one presidential candidate to fight Mugabe. It is encouraging that most of those who have spoken now believe the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is the preferred candidate. I am fully agreed Morgan Tsvangirai should be the candidate, but I think it should be that the party which has or is assumed to have the biggest support base should be the one to provide the Presidential candidate.
Regarding parliamentary candidates, I would support Dr. Joice Mujuru’s earlier position that while opposition parties must come up with one Presidential candidate, all parties should be free to field candidates wherever they are confident. This provides an opportunity for the parties to prove their worthy, and should the agreed Presidential party supported by the oppositions parties win, he will then appoint a cabinet that includes members of other parties based on the number of seats secured in the election, considering the skills specific individuals will bring into the new government.  
However, agreeing on a candidate alone is not the biggest issue that should be addressed, the biggest challenge to our election system is the rigging machinery which Zanu PF is perfecting with each election. Particularly appalling is the system where villagers in the rural areas are forced to vote for a candidate who they do not like.
A brother of mine who teaches in a rural area told me about how known teachers had to pretend they were not able to read and right and requested to be assisted to vote. Stories about teachers and nurses who were forced to bandage their hands to justify being assisted to vote have also been reported.
A cousin of mine living in Wedza told me recently that it is only the fear in people that may lead them to vote for Zanu PF, but the people want Mugabe and Zanu PF out of power yesterday. So even though Zanu PF may no longer enjoy mass support, they can still win the elections through this form of election forgery.
What then is the way forward? The opposition parties must continue to push for electoral reforms, but reforms alone are not enough, Zimbabweans need to be practical.
In the past, the MDC-T and other political parties have identified, listed and published the names of people being used as tools for electoral fraud, but I think we need to go beyond that. Naming and shaming shameless people does not help, so a step further in my opinion would be for groups composed of members of the opposition parties to visit and confront these tools for electoral fraud and tell them to stop it hence forth, or else risk the full wrath of the citizens should they choose to continue doing so.
Come election day, Zanu PF has used a system whereby people are force marched to polling stations and queue behind traditional leaders, and some forced to pretend they are unable to cast their vote on their own so that they are assisted by the polling officer, who will be a known Zanu PF agent.
Opposition election agents should watch out for such instances and confront the abusive polling officer and prevent them from abusing the electorate that way. I strongly suggest polling officers who refuse to comply with the demands of the opposition election agents at this stage should be beaten up, and the election will be condemned and a fresh election held under international supervision. This is also where it pays for all opposition parties to field parliamentary candidates, so that the Zanu PF election agents in the polling station will be outnumbered and will be easy to over power. 
Let us be serious Zimbabweans. Let us take the law into our hands where we should. If we don’t, Zanu PF will rule Zimbabwe for ever, and I can guarantee you there are people more evil than Mugabe in Zanu PF. A good example is Mnangagwa who recently unashamedly said Zimbabweans in the Diaspora should stripped of their citizenship if they don’t pay tax. Evil Mugabe hasn’t said such, so Mnangagwa is more evil than Mugabe, and should be exposed for what he is.
Zanu PF will never willingly implement election reforms which the opposition parties are crying for, and even if reforms were agreed on on paper, Zanu PF will always behave otherwise, and this requires Zimbabweans to collectively mobilise and confront Zanu PF to liberate themselves. Zanu PF will never grant us the Transitional Authority that some of us are crying for, an authority which though necessary is not in the constitution after all. Zanu PF will simply laugh its lungs out when you suggest a transitional authority that is not reflected in the country’s constitution.
Change Demands Action, but the action must be well calculated to produce the desired results.