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Zimbabwe opposition risking a 2018 electoral humiliation – Mangwengwende

By Elijah Mangwengwende

Regardless of President Robert Mugabe’s well decorated history of failure in state management since 1980, there is a point where it is important not to get too wrapped up in an individual candidate and his personality but instead to focus on the real issues regardless of one’s political affiliation.

Elijah Mangwengwende
Elijah Mangwengwende

What is of paramount importance at this juncture is to fight the current autocratic rule, advocating for democracy in place of mobocracy. It is a public secret that corruption is widespread in all government departments and public enterprises. Our political system promotes nepotism and looting.

Corruption is now part of our lives. This has undermined our legal system and confidence in the functioning of the state, the country has collapsed under the watchful eye of ZANU PF but that alone doesn’t translate to opposition strength.

We must not spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. We must put our own door to find a way out of this predicament. We achieve that through self-introspection.

Opposition in disarray

Although not all hope is lost but it is possible that President Mugabe may “win” 2018 election in spectacular fashion if the opposition fail to put its house in-order and time is running out.

In an unprecedented and unbelievable turn of events, when the masses were hoping to have a coalition of parties with one candidate, we already have three confirmed coalitions, one from CODE led by Elton Mangoma of RDZ, another one led by Joyce Mujuru of NPP and MDC Alliance led by Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T.  We have APA led by Nkosana Moyo who is claiming that his party is heading towards a resounding victory and rewriting political history books contrary to the demise of Simba Makoni’s short lived Mavambo/Kusile.

People respect human rights including one’s freedom to contest an election but taking people for granted is not only intolerable and unacceptable but unpatriotic. Putting personal interests ahead of the long suffering masses is abominable and treasonous in nature.

Since 2013 the opposition knew about the 2018 elections, why they didn’t plan the coalition logistics on time? With less than six months left from elections, the bickering over coalition positions and seats allocations has become an antagonizing process with no success in sight. Coalitions within coalitions, unbelievable.

Opposition failure on Biometric Voter Registration

When Ruvheneko invited the opposition to air their views regarding BVR, it is when many people including myself realized that the opposition were not really serious about addressing the man made flows of this noble technology. Instead of looking for technical people to argue their case, they all send lawyers or party spokespersons to articulate how that system is supposed to work.

One would have expected secretaries for technology to be at the forefront.  We may not blame ZEC entirely on the current shenanigans because the opposition agreed to the implementation of BVR without proper research. 

One wonders how this BVR is going to eliminate rigging without verification system in place. It is fraudulent and myopic to put a list of voters in a computer system and still voting using paper ballots without any electronic verification, why the opposition agreed to BVR registration requirements which they now try to overturn is bit surprising, the process is in full swing and things like proof of residence, affidavits etc. are not necessary if the system was properly thought out, it is logical that fingerprints are unique than a letter from Village head or Chief.

But because of the flows and haphazard implementation by ZEC, those particulars are required because 98 % of the voting process will be manually executed and polling station based. In short the process is not clear on what it is trying to achieve.

Some remote areas are already failing to send the figures of those registered, what hope is there when they are required to send election results on time. Some USBs being used to store data are being stolen at registration centers, some are going to malfunction before data is transferred into main database and without verification system between the registration point and ZEC head office it is just a recipe for disaster. A computerized-manual system if that thing exists, if it does not exits then that’s what exactly ZEC is creating. All under the watchful eye of opposition.

Broke opposition

So what does the opposition doing to fight a well-funded ZANU PF campaign machinery? A broke opposition versus people who are sitting on $15 billion dollar diamond cash, people in charge of RBZ, if they can give each other loans to buy tractors from a national bank what stops them from looting for elections? 500 new cars ordered just for elections, at the same time opposition is lagging,  two agents are supposed to be at each registration centre to oversee the proceedings but so far the opposition have no one, only ZEC officials and ZANU PF agents. At least 20 million dollars is needed by opposition just for registration monitoring.

To Contest or Not To Contest that’s The Question

Indicating Left and turning right, that’s the biggest mistake by certain opposition parties.

Low BVR turnout: Mixed signals from opposition is also to blame. At one point they preach boycott mantra, No Reforms No Elections. Next day they say participate in an exercise which they promised not to be part of without informing the public the about turn of events?

The electorate are in a state of confusion, I call upon my dear leaders to go out now, have rallies across the country and tell the people the Actual Position: i.e. participating in 2018 without reforms or not participating without reforms. Failure to galvanize the opposition base will be catastrophic, the blame won’t be entirely on ZANU PF rigging but flip flopping by opposition. Similar rallies like those used to tell people about No Reform No Elections are needed now for No Reforms but Elections

With a united opposition and proper systems in place, it is possible to end this autocratic ZANU PF government, but opposition in its current state and the fraudulent BVR system chances are very slim for the opposition in 2018 and people may need to liberate themselves

Elijah Mangwengwende writes in his personal capacity and as opposition MDC activist.