Buck still stops with the MDCs

via Buck still stops with the MDCs | The Zimbabwe Independent Editor’s Memo with Stewart Chabwinja

AS expected, Sadc’s observer mission report on Zimbabwe’s July 31 general elections to end a dysfunctional coalition government endorsed the poll as “free, peaceful and generally credible”.

After the regional bloc and AU observers had initially described the poll as free and non-violent, and the selection of President Robert Mugabe as Sadc deputy chair, a thumbs-up report was a fait accompli.

Predictable as it was, Sadc’s ringing endorsement is a further setback for the MDC-T which is smarting from the worst defeat at the polls since first contesting it in 2000.

The MDC-T can justifiably feel aggrieved that the report glosses over some of the electoral process’s major shortcomings which rendered the poll “a monumental fraud by state security agents and Zanu PF” –– to quote its post-poll statement.

Indisputably a litany of factors deliberately fashioned by Zanu PF, chief among which was a controversially fixed polling date, a chaotic voters’ registration process, a “shambolic” voters’ roll, massive disenfranchisement wrought by the turning away of mostly urban registered voters, and electoral and other state institutions brazenly on Mugabe’s side, effectively tipped the voting scales in Mugabe’s favour.

Yet all these adverse factors cannot absolve the MDC formations from being the authors of their own spectacular downfall.

Whatever the final verdict on Sadc’s mediation efforts as guarantors of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) there can be no denying the MDC-T enjoyed much goodwill from Sadc, as evidenced by a series of Sadc communiqués favourable to the party’s cause during the tenure of the GPA.

While Sadc would diplomatically express satisfaction over progress towards the full implementation of the GPA despite scant proof, it was unambiguous in insisting there would be no elections before reforms.

Such was Sadc’s resolve in helping deliver a Zimbabwean rarity in the form of free, fair and undisputed elections that its thrust sufficiently riled Mugabe, perceived to have perfected rigging, that he threatened to quit Sadc and publicly insulted Zuma’s facilitation team spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu, deriding her as a “stupid street woman”.

Unfortunately, lulled into a false sense of security by their entry into government and an increasingly cosy Mugabe-Tsvangirai alliance, the parties squandered the leverage accorded by Sadc’s stance as the trappings of power took their toll on them, blurring the vision required for effective strategy for electoral triumph.

Zulu confirmed the MDCs strategic maladroitness, saying they failed to use their influence during the protracted talks to secure reforms from Zanu PF before elections.

“We were really shocked by the MDC negotiators who failed to pin down Zanu PF to implement reforms,” Zulu told this paper on the sidelines of the recent Sadc summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.

“There was a well-stipulated Sadc-initiated roadmap to be followed to the letter until elections were held, but the MDC negotiators decided not to push for its implementation.”

Despite repeated warnings from progressive and pro-democracy forces not to sleep at the wheel, glaring naivety saw Tsvangirai readily accept a poisoned chalice by agreeing to supervise poll preps in a “facilitative” role, which resulted in him even defending the staffing of Zec despite his party’s gripe it was run by Mugabe’s supporters.

To cap it all, the MDCs agreed to participate in rushed polls despite outstanding reforms, with Tsvangirai declaring victory was certain on the eve of the elections — even without the voters’ roll.

So while the MDCs might have a case for crying foul over the electoral process and outcome, Tsvangirai was repeatedly warned he had forfeited the right to question the conduct of elections due to his superintending role.

In the absence of widespread dissent over the poll results a weary Sadc has evidently decided it is time to move on; the Zimbabwean crisis is a closed chapter.



  • comment-avatar
    mkonto 9 years ago

    This Chabwinja guy is a fool….you have been singing for your super for a long time that you have lost your compass.The MDCs knew that the GNU was not a permanent arrangement and were also part of the electoral process…why didn’t they pull out.What reforms? Had they fulfilled their part of the bargain of having the illegal sanctions removed?Its a fact that they had their own members in ZEC.Why are they not crying foul about results in Bulawayo ,Harare and other constituents where they won?

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    trevor 9 years ago

    this then means people can take the law into their own hands because many mdc supporters saw the same as what lindiwe zulu was saying.its only 3 negotiators who failed because of their own reasons or they wanted to benefit from the outcome as what happened. it then follows that zanu pf is now being allowed to get away with murder simply because negotiators didnt listen to sadc. or didnt do what sadc expected them to do. remember we are dealing with millions of people who sacrificed a lot to get to where we are now.

    i will not be very wrong to suggest that the will of the people can not keep being determined by non zimbabweans and the mwembes of tanzania. this is the time to determine our own destiny.

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    Gatsheni Khumalo 9 years ago

    And this is a clear case for the overhaul of the MDC leadership. The failure of the current MDC leadership to concede failure as opposition party leaders is a clear sign that the leadership is no different from that of Zanupf. MDCs should remove the log in their eyes before they complain about the speck in someone else’s eye.

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    munzwa 9 years ago

    it amazes me that many are climbing on the blame the MDC band wagon yet admit the polls were stolen by zanu.Why not do something about the (your)stolen vote instead of showing your apparent fear of these looters.supping with the devil only compromises your own conscious and is there for every one to witness.

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    Chigaru 9 years ago

    I just have one question: Why hasn’t Tsvangirai stood down? Sadly the man has never been the same since they slaughtered his wife. But step aside he must and let new and more vibrant young leadership come through do they can drive the country out of the ditch that Tsvangirai drove us into.

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    eztechplc 9 years ago

    After these coming five years voters in the rural areas will emerge “literate”, no one ll voter for them. They ll “guard” their vote jealously. Wait but see

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    Tongai 9 years ago

    Elections were not stolen , its a stupid belief ! If MDC continue to believe elections were stolen , this will work against then even upcoming elections!
    They must try to find out why they lost ? This has nothing to do with rigged elections ; 1) why the country has 4 MDC parties ? isn’t this a sign of greedy ? If they can not even agree with each other to oppose ZANU, something is not right! (2) do they have clear policy on how to address unemployment and poverty? Or they are only looking for investors ? (3) why Britain and Americans quickly rejects Mugabe ? Why is it that they don’t like him ? Isn’t because he is clever , he does not want to allow them to loot ? Look at South Africa 80% of the Land belongs to whites who are only less than 20% of the population! Is that what you want for Zimbabwe? Don’t you think even blacks can investors?

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      trevor 9 years ago

      my friend tongayi, what makes you think elections were not stolen even when the unimaginable happened? the role of nikuv was to steal those elections for 10 million. its a fact. when western powers condemn this election, they are not doing it because of hatred of zanu pf. nikuv is a sidekick of mossad, which shares intelligence with the cia and mi5. they know what happened. cia knows exactly how nikuv caused election problems in kenya and zambia, which actually took them to court. that the election was stolen is not an assumption. they steal in such a way the there is no eveidence, like the mdc at the moment, have no proof. how do you explain votes in matebeleland, where zanu committed atrocities, and has never won since 1980 ? is there a sudden love for mugabe now ? whats new or progressive has he done for the people of matebeleland and midlands now to convince them to vote for zanu pf ? everyone knows no development has ever taken place in the part of zimbabwe. dont let your minds be shut by tribalism. it only leads to national disintergration. cry zimbabwe!!!!

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    Guvnor 9 years ago

    The MDC leadership should call for a elective congress promptly to justify those continuing in office after such an electoral setback. Someone did not do their homework resulting in a loss of the parliarmentary majority. Even if the other party rigged, why was there no foresight or intelligence on what was going down, such that the party was blindsided to the extent of turning a assured victory into a defeat?