Greasing up the Slippery Slide

By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375pxZimbabwe’s elections have come and gone. We all know the results and most will agree that they yielded more than a few surprises; within both party camps. Something is just not right and all the analysts worth their salt are struggling to come to terms with what really happened; and just how sweeping is the victory. Few are discussing the consequences. Clearly the election was over-rigged creating skews where they should never exist, but some will suggest that the losing side were really caught on the back foot by a cunning, methodical and experienced old fox.

The sham is not so much the fact that the winning party usurped the vote, but rather that a now grumbling opposition is found so badly wanting. They were outmanoeuvred or outclassed in more ways than one. Principally, it was abundantly clear to the wider audience that supposed reforms were needed before any fair election could ever take place.

To venture into an election without these reforms was political suicide, and they were warned. The now ruling party had absolute and utter control over the electoral process. This provided the necessarily biased infrastructure needed for the winning party to manipulate to its heart’s content; from voter registration, through to organisation and the count.

The platform had thus been set for biased maladministration. It ensured that those contesting were denied sight of the voter’s roll. Voter registration and roll manipulation are considered the core of the vote scam and no bias could be determined before voting began.

Both disenfranchisement and false enfranchisement (duplicated, deceased and centenarian voters) saw to it that the opposing parties could never achieve an outright majority save for securing a few party strongholds. Voter registration in rural areas amounted to 99.97 percent of eligible voters (compared with 2012 national census figures). That is an incredible feat in itself!

The campaign saw contesting parties denied access to National media, petty attempts to prevent opposition rallies being held, and even refused real access by one party to the other party’s strongholds. The thuggery was absent. It was going to be a peaceful election, but while the thugs were reined in, seemingly, the fraudsters were released with a vengeance; scheming and planning to scoop power back to the “liberation” party.

Some say the MDC formations did not smell the rat, yet everyone was pointing to where it lay festering. Instead they were quaffing the sweet fragrance of victory and indeed relishing in their false sense of triumph. Never underestimate the enemy in African politics.

On the day, many legitimate voters were denied the vote and sent away from polling stations, mostly in opposing party, urban strongholds. There was a heavy and unprecedented incidence of assisted voting, for alleged illiterates in Africa’s most literate nation. And then there was the bussing; the movement of youths in large numbers to vote in several locations; false voter registration slips and all the trimmings of the rook. Finally, there was outright denial of results being broadcast from individual polling stations, lest this exposed the eventual swindle.

Apart from a few party die-hards, everyone is saying that the vote was rigged… the kleptocracy has successfully enforced its will upon the people. Those who believe otherwise are rather slow on the uptake. Even ZANU(PF) are worried that perhaps it was over-rigged by all the tell tale signs now being exposed! Did they really expect to win in the territory of the Gukurahundi massacres? They did. The winning party announced very early in its campaign that they would achieve as much as 90 percent of the poll with some degree of confidence. Did they know something then that bolstered their confidence? Whatever, they achieved a devastating defeat of the would-be aspirants.

Early post election whimpers for a regime of passive resistance were just not going to hold water. Those people who would perhaps care were disoriented and shocked with the poll outcome. A sense of being let down by their own permeated and suddenly the knives were being drawn, not for the wicked kleptocrats, but for those who led them to defeat.

There is a to and fro of opinion as to whether the MDC-T should take up their seats. It is a case of condemning the election, yet taking up the resultant parliamentary seats. Not many among the party faithful are sticking their heads above the parapet just yet… so just how does one expect the people, the man in the street, to cast the first stone of passive resistance? Politicians seem to be leading from the rear here and clearly they have not strategized to the optimum. The storm troops are waiting for any resistance.

Election observer parties from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) see the election as free and fair and their judgement will not be reserved for long. In contrast the non-partisan Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is exposing the poll for what it really was. It is perhaps a foregone conclusion that the submissions to the Constitutional Court will fail. Can Zimbabweans presume a different outcome from what many consider to be partisan courts? They are yet to hand down judgements to earlier election contests. There are those who hold hope despite the odds.

Thus the issue for many is not whether opposition will upset the apple cart through the Constitutional Court; whether the AU and SADC yield to the reality of it all and call for a new round; or perhaps what happens within the losing party’s senior ranks; but rather how the winning party is going to measure up to its election manifesto. More critically for some is the scale by which it handles the selective xenophobia, resource nationalisation and outright racism by its far right.

Nobody can come to grips with the fact that Zimbabweans, by hook or by crook, have brought back into power a party which has bad economic form. It has a track record for destruction; self enrichment and gross patronage of the ‘chefs’. The markets responded negatively within hours of electoral results. There was even a run on the banks. The prognosis is not good. This seems to suggest that Zimbabweans may have been prostituted at the polls and they have inadvertently greased up the slippery slide once more.

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9 thoughts on “Greasing up the Slippery Slide

  1. Andrew I had some guarded high expectations for the election as I saw the wonderful activity on Facebook and the strong worldwide interest in the elections. I had some idealistic hope that Mugabe would run a clean election. I got a rude awakening on election day. I lay blame for the whole election conduct and fraudulent results at the feet of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, In his mind, if Tsvangarai won, all of the young and frustrated poor black people in South Africa would rise up and run the whole ANC “Old Guard” out of office. He had to help “The Old Man” to win again. For the major Zanu-PDF leadership this election was a matter of life and death, They knew that the minute they stepped out of office all of them would be arrested for crimes against humanity and spend the rest of their life in prison. There would be no Truth and Reconciliation Commission as there was in South Africa. Sadly the reaction of the international media was one like this: “Oh well the Zimbabwe economy is doing good; Mugabe is not all bad.” Even more disturbing is the fact that the Republican Party in this country uses precisely the same tactics that Mugabe used to win this fraudulent election. Fortunately in this country the opposition is well-funded and fights like hell when such tactics are tried.

    Mugabe won’t live much longer. I doubt that he will serve out his five year term. Some other thug will take over and eventually sanity will prevail and the Zanu-PDF will go the way of the Nationalist Party in South Africa.

    andrew you are a courageous man to stay in the country that you love under these conditions. Youalways earn my respect and admiration.

  2. You are absolutely spot on Andrew. We were all hoping for a miracle but deep down I think all of us knew just from Mugabe’s devious and autocratic behavior in the lead up to these elections that it was going to be a repeat performance similar to what we witnessed with the two previous stolen elections. Mugabe is grinning from ear to ear and cares not in the slightest about the condemnation from Western countries knowing that he has China and Russia on his side and that he has the full blessing of the AU. Mugabe delights in the fact that the West and AU are in open disagreement and that he is at the centre of the arguement. So blatant was the rigging in this election that Mugabe now dares not let go knowing only too well the fate that awaits him – he sees what is happening to his friend Laurent Bgagbo, that former leader of the Ivory Coast who is now facing charges in front of an International Court in the Hague.

  3. Good work Andrew..however, the facts are being overlooked by many countries, organisations etc…the fact of the matter is that the voters roll was a shambles, doctored, tampered with and I believe more the one set,(that is different copies with different names…)…93 additional voters posts not registered, etc etc etc…people turned away, people being promised payment to vote more than once, twice three times….!! etc etc..the list goes on..
    So tell me and any normal person, what does it take for an election to be classified unfair… the mind boggles..and you know what! if a country/government behaves in such a manner, what can one believe holds good for a bright and prosperous future for all its people

  4. Andrew God knows when, if ever, the Zimbos will be able to get out from under Mugabe’s feet! I guess with the majority of seats he now claims to hold he could completely undo the new constitution and revert to the previous one ( or write his own in fact) making the whole recent period of the power sharing government with MDC (T) a complete waste of time! It seemed to hold such promise of a new beginning!

    John Davison Pinetown Tele 031 7001497 mobile 0834550165

  5. Thank you for taking the time to write this Andrew; your summary is exactly what happened; you have my respect and admiration as you write with the perspective of a man who still lives in Zimbabwe and has witnessed many years of change and upheaval since the early 1960s.

  6. Well done Andrew. An excellent analysis of the “great Zimbabwean electoral fraud”.. As you say it is a pity that MDC’s went ahead and participated in an election that was going to be an obvious fraud……but who is to say that the principals in these parties were “not” aware of what was going to happen!! When a lot of us could see it coming.

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