The 26 March by elections – a fallacy that this is a contest between ZANU PF and Chamisa
This week on three different occasions I bumped into three people I know. After exchanging pleasantries, they all seemed to want to know if I was a registered voter and if I was going to be voting in the 26 March by elections.
The interest was quite pronounced. In one sense you would want to think that people were concerned about the affairs of the state, and they were just carrying out ordinary citizens duties to urge fellow countrymen to go and vote come 26 March.
However, in another sense I got a sense that people were getting ahead of themselves and exuding a misguided notion that they can lecture others about politics in Zimbabwe, who to vote for and how to go about it.
The three encounters got me asking questions – why the interest; why people are behaving as If this is a national general election and how do you know if my constituency has a by election.
My responses were quite measured although I was getting a bit ticked from the conversations for the obvious reason I did not and still cannot see what the fuss is about with these by elections.
I am not in any way saying that these by elections are not important. As a democratic process and as provided by Zimbabwe’s laws it is a must that these by elections be held, as it should have been done donkey months ago.
However, it must be clear that while the new CCC outfit will compete in these by elections, the opposition led by Nelson Chamisa cannot behave as if they were not a big player and party to this whole circus.
It was the disorder, the recklessness and disregard for internal party democracy following Morgan Tsvangirai’s death that led to all these splits that have seen people like Mwonzora instituting the Recall process on the MPs and local government officials.
Thus, the by election cannot in all honesty be labelled a competition between the CCC and ZANU PF. The opposition then called the MDC Alliance or MDCT or whatever brought this upon itself.
The second argument that people seem to be excited about is the fallacy that ZANU PF was afraid of going to any form of election after 2018. This cannot be true. ZANU PF whether stolen or not had a majority in Parliament in 2018 and will still have after these by elections.
The constituencies which are now being contested have always been under the opposition and thus if anything they are for the opposition to reclaim not for ZANU PF to lose.
ZANU PF would of course want to take part in the elections and try to possibly win a seat or two in addition to winning back the seats they lost due to death or other reasons their MPs and councilors had lost the seats.
The election will come, the opposition under the CCC will need to show its strength by reclaiming the seats it had and this can only be called Restoration of the old order not that it is a new situation.
There is another argument that ZANU PF had taken advantage of the Covid 19 situation and bought Mwonzora and Khupe to stifle the opposition.
While this might be true, there is no denying that at first it was going to be foolish for any head of government to push the elections agenda without taking note of the need to secure peoples’ lives from Covid 19.
At some point, however, neighboring countries started conducting elections and ZANU PF continued to dig in using all sorts of ludicrous and unbearable excuses. This was mere politicking, even Trump tried to use the same arguments and he was defeated in the end.
If the MDC Alliance had conducted themselves with order, due regard for democracy and within the confines of their constitution, they would not have had found themselves in a situation where ZANU PF would abuse them like this. There would not have been any need for these by elections except for those caused by death.
The excitement that makes people feel that they must ask each person they meet whether they are registered voters and if they will vote while important is equally misplaced. People are feeling that any victory by the opposition in these by elections will be a victory against ZANU PF. That cannot be true!
For me, this election is a mere restorative process by the opposition trying to right the wrongs it committed in – house. That there are economic woes in the country is equally understood but people also need to be very honest and note that the election of these MPs and councilors will not suddenly bring any earth shuttering change.
What we are most likely to see is a cadre who will start clamoring for their cars, loans, and all before they even look at the legislative agenda when they go back to Parliament and councils.
People should and they must go and vote if the by elections are in their respective constituencies, but the supposedly enlightened ones must not put us into unnecessary pressure where we are made to believe that this is an election pitting the CCC against ZANU PF. The opposition CCC is fighting to restore what it lost out of its own miscalculations. 2023 is coming and that is when the real battle will be.