Social Media’s Oppressive Anger


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375px
Social media users are becoming stale at creating new and interesting own-content
, thus allowing the networks to be hijacked by partisan politics, extremist religion, and to a lesser degree causes, anti-phobias and conspiracies. It is a hot pot of grumpiness.

Recent surveys suggested that “more than one-third of social media users are worn out by the amount of political content they encounter”. And, individually, you really are not contributing to the groundswell of content or discontent with fresh ideas. Same old, same old.

Both Facebook and Twitter are being populated with so much unoriginal content that they have become the premier platform for re-messaging (sharing/re-tweeting) partisan interests. The volume of conflicting ideas and philosophies in single medium has never been surpassed. Stop the internet, I just want to get off… enough, I just don’t care what you think, really!

Social media users are suffering information overload, and often this excess is of material they do not wish to deal with. The Pew Research Center suggests that “more than half (of users) describe their online interactions with those they disagree with politically as stressful and frustrating”. People with causes are using brutal force feed tactics to deliver their messages, often with horrific, gory images.

Content is stressful indeed. Those users let loose on social media who do create original content seem to pursue very blinkered views. They will not entertain contrary thoughts that may be different, unconventional, or even from a new perspective. Dogmatic content sometimes reflects, sometimes poorly, on the user’s general upbringing, philosophies and shaping.

To cap this, there is an awful lot of anger out there in social media. Clearly, this is an angry little world and so too is the content of social media. It is nasty. The tone of content is often disrespectful, condescending and, frankly, troubling. This anger is a reflection of the broader climate in our societies today. Who foments this anger and what is the end objective?

Add to this spurious, fake news. Social media users have a penchant for fake news distribution. They just cannot help themselves. Few take time to check and verify. Gullibility is at its peak. The more outrageous the better, and why not one might ask?

Governments and the mainstream media have been the masters of fake news for years. We used to call it propaganda. But today’s fake new is sensational, good reading for the bored masses and angry people. They are being fed, and we are all being manipulated.

Governments, in their infinite wisdom (takes tongue out of cheek), busy themselves with anti-hate laws in the hope that the problem will subside. It will not go away. Racism was never properly suppressed, its use moved simply from one hue to the other. It’s a cause that will not die. Nor will religious extremism.

Populations have aversions to those who are different and do not conform to custom. Social media provides a ready platform to offer discontent and multiplies the issues when legislated against. Germany’s proposal to fine social media companies for failing to remove illegal content “is a significant moment in democracy’s battle with digital giants”, according to some!

Social media moguls are extending the science of social media with artificial intelligence. Google has launched a new AI program called Perspective to detect “abusive” comments and hatred online. Facebook recently admitted “it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like”.

With both government and social media controls creeping in, users are actually seeing little relief. In fact the problem is getting worse, and the majority of users now try harder to avoid political and religious argument on social media.

Often, when avoidance fails, users take steps to filter or curate their feeds, frequently then eliminating the good material too! When the State takes a role in the media, the news is always biased, but boycott often leaves one without useful information.

The solution may lie very much in your choice of contacts and friends in social media. The average user is actually carrying too many contacts. Once it was vogue to have as many as you could muster, but alas, that is biting back.

Some interesting statistics suggest that two-thirds of your Facebook friends are generally known to you personally, while Twitter is almost the reverse. Yet of your contacts, only about a quarter have similar views to you, less than 6% opposing views about politics and the rest have mixed or neutral opinions. Selective pruning of your contacts may well be necessary.  But do you want to stick your head in the sand?

Unless you can achieve some peace of mind in social media, angry information overload will wear you down. One would think that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, yet social media, especially Facebook, membership continues to climb. Clearly humanity needs its little dose of anger, its gripes, whinges and whines. We are being overwhelmed, it may be time for some to pull the plug on this social monster.

Advertisements

Manchester’s Sad Dichotomy


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375px
Every terrorist incident in the West seems to have a sequel, and that is the blame game.
In a poll on Twitter by David Jones 70% of respondents suggest government was partly to blame for the attack. Even the music concert performer, Ariana Grande, who sung at the Manchester event is being blamed for the clothes that she wore. Then it’s the security services for not preventing the attack.

Of course, it goes without saying that an entire religion is also to blame. Loose immigration policy on Middle Eastern and North African refugees, and the infiltration of radicalism into mosques is apparently much to blame. Even liberal thinking people took a knock and so too does every strain of political party. On the other hand, singer, Morrissey suggests that politicians are just too scared to blame Islam for Manchester attack! It doesn’t help.

Indeed, how is all this indignant blame going to help? It is certainly throwing up a smoke signal and one wonders if our political ‘elite’ can see the smoke for the mist and formulate pro-active and acceptable policy.

I am told that two poor homeless people, Britons, who were begging and sleeping on the street in the immediate area of the blast, rushed to the aid the bleeding victims. Their moving accounts of how they helped the victims has ended in an appropriate appeal to assist them and the money is still pouring in!

Here are two British people made destitute by the system, struggling to keep going, against all the odds, and their Government does naught for them, so it seems. How could they? Here is the irony. So much funding available to the poor is allocated to refugee immigrants first; they are housed, given jobs and lead a right royal life in comparison to life in their home nations.

Our ungrateful terrorist, even enjoyed a university education until he dropped out. Who funded that? Police named British born Salman Ramadan Abedi, a Muslim, just 22 years of age, from a Libyan refugee background. His brother, Ismail Abedi, was arrested and so too were his parents, in Libya.

Salman and Ismail appear to be of good home and blessed with the opportunities of the British way of life. Abedi lived in a house on Manchester’s Elsmore Road – a quiet, residential street lined with red-brick semi-detached houses. How quaint. Better than a cardboard box outside a stadium. The brothers were more favoured by the system, it would seem, than are most true Britons who find themselves in dire straits.

So who is responsible for this, who should take the blame? Seems to me that there is blood on the hands of successive Western governments. European and American intervention in the Muslim non-secular states is part of the problem. Invasions on false premises of weapons of mass destruction and, of course, the war against terrorism. All with ulterior motive. Offensives against ISIS in the ‘Caliphate’, and more recently in Syria cannot help. But it is not the entire cause.

Islam cannot possibly be described as a religion of peace. By all accounts it is clearly the root of most terrorism in Europe and is based on its tenets of non-Muslim intolerance, jihadist revolution, hatred of the infidel and the anti-Semitism of its faith. It’s a hateful religion, so much so that some are influenced to perpetrate dastardly acts of terrorism in its name.

There are a disturbing number of psychotically deluded little Muslims running around Europe. This psychosis is the ultimate motive for all Islamic terrorism in the West. Yet the West digs its head deeper into the sand. The migration to Europe by many thousands of Muslims, away from their now broken homes and bankrupt economies run by despots, is not without contribution. They come with much religious indoctrination, a pathological bitterness, and even thoughts of retribution and, yes, the blame game too.

We owe them, some might say, and we are giving abundantly it would seem. Yet the system that feeds and sustains them is foreign to them, non-Islamic, and needs to conform to their way of living.  They, and more so their issue, are easy victims for radicalisation; that process of religious corruption of the mind and making the infidel host enemy. Their new home, with generous benefactors, becomes the target. No holds barred. They perceive they are profiled badly, which they are much due to Muslim terrorism, and they feel rejected.

So there is the ugly mix. The West seems to have ignored the alarm bells rung and buries itself in the comfort of being nice to these strange and struggling people with different ways. Society is intolerant of those who point fingers at migration or object to the pacifism in the face of an onslaught, labelling them racist or even bigot. And now the fires are burning. Manchester weeps. Terrorism wins yet again – Europe raises the white flag to negotiate!

The thing is, you cannot negotiate with terrorists. Negotiation with terrorists will only succeed if you bend entirely to their demands. They call the shots. The jihadist wants to impose his religion, his way of life, the Islamic way, and give privilege to Muslims and those of the faith. There is no compromise. Understand clearly, the jihadist has no political master nor tangible nation to which they are loyal. They fight and slaughter the innocents in the name of their mythical God. Gods cannot negotiate. So who are European government to negotiate with?

The Manchester suicide bombing is a dire tragedy of multiple proportions. The dead and their grieving and suffering families, the lacerated and torn wounded, and the horrified onlookers scared with fear, are only a part of the tragedy. The other tragedy is that of successive governments which, clearly, cannot see the wood for the trees.

The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in combatting Muslim terrorism. It goes much beyond tackling home grown radicalisation. Europeans need to go to the root of the problem and exorcise or purge the community which breeds the problem. This, of course goes against those well entrenched doctrines of human rights, religious freedom of association, and the credible system of jurisprudence that Europeans enjoy, but which no immigrant Muslim would have enjoyed in his home country. There is the dichotomy.

Mankind: Critically Endangered to Suffer loss of its Wildlife Heritage


Rushing to Water_2012_09_03_5990-2

By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375pxYou have all heard that saying about the elephant in the room… it’s a metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth which goes unaddressed. It’s a risk that nobody wants to discuss. Our elephant in the room is as real as it will ever get, yet everyone is sticking their heads in the sand, to excuse another idiom. In the news this week is the story that a recent three year survey has “revealed a dramatic 30 percent decline in savannah elephant populations.” i

African lion populations have been declining rapidly too. Some say that 75 percent of the lions have been wiped out in the last 50 years. The world lion population is estimated at between 25 and 30 thousand… that is barely more than twice the number of athletes at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. By the next games, Olympians may well outnumber lions in Africa.

One doesn’t have to search too hard for information to establish the dramatic decline in the now critically endangered rhinoceros populations, the now vulnerable lions, not to mention Grizzly Bear, the Polar Bear and the Great White Shark. These species are still being hunted. You would have thought man would be smart enough to realise his destruction of our environment. But no, we are told this is conservation.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) lists 18 species as critically endangered. Nearly half of those species are African! A further 30 species are simply endangered, with African Wild Dog topping the list and a few other African species being prominent. ii One might begin to point fingers towards incompetent governance, corruption, land encroachment and poaching. They are all rife in Africa. We might well cry loud about the insatiable Asian demand for animal parts too. We know the hunters will also rush to defend their patch.

Take as an example the case of the rhinoceros, killed for the horny growth on their forehead to make dagger handles and used supposedly as an Eastern medical remedy. Zimbabwe’s wildlife parks have succumbed almost entirely to being poached out. There are an estimated 800 rhinoceros left in Zimbabwe almost all of which are in privately owned parks in the hands of rhino conservationists, but even those are under attack, often with filthy politicians being complicit! Twice the number of rhinoceros were poached in 2015 compared with the previous year!

National Parks and Wildlife Management in Zimbabwe recently ventured into dehorning rhinoceros in what is described as a desperate attempt to stop poaching. One wonders what will happen to the horn? Will they destroy it or will it be whittled off to some Chinese trader to enrich some politician or bureaucrat? Why have National Parks not destroyed the huge stock of ivory in their possession? Who has his eye on future enrichment?

The point is, we are awash with information on the problem, yet nobody with the power at their disposal has the courage to stand firm on real conservation of African species. The solutions can only lie in Africa. Yes we have a whole army of tree huggers, conservationists, and animal lovers barking at the world, but nothing they do will reverse the trend. Indeed it is like one man trying to push over an African Mahogany tree; with his head.

Governments need to prioritise actions to reduce the destruction of our African heritage. We as wildlife enthusiasts need to boot them in the right direction. Organised Wildlife needs to speak out and become more prominent and active in this fight. Sadly, if they don’t and during my lifetime, the rhino population will have dwindled to naught, lions will have gone too and the elephants will perhaps survive me on the critically endangered list. What great African wildlife heritage we are leaving to our grandchildren!

i Agence France-Press
ii World Wildlife Fund

So whose Flag is it?


ZimbabweFlag
By Neelix at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375pxJust a few years ago, about three in fact, Zimbabweans voted old fashioned nationalist notions and philosophies back into power… some say they stole the election, but no one really contested that. So one might only assume they achieved a fair majority. In fact, Zimbabweans have been a little like the proverbial sheep in not resisting the tyranny of autocracy and stale liberation demagoguery. The ZANU(PF) regime continued with its merry looting and oppression against all legitimate opposition. Where has the money gone? Today we are faced with the expected consequences of allowing that regime to remain in power. An economy spiralling out of control and a cash crunch of such significant proportions it has brought us to our knees.

This is not the fault of the British or the Americans… nor the white man, or colonialism… No, this is the entire the fault of a clearly incompetent regime more fully occupied with personal self-enrichment and empire building than caring for the people. Let us be blunt, the party should have been democratically deposed 15 to 20 years ago, but Zimbabweans, seemingly, did not have the courage to do so or certainly failed in their foresight. No credible opposition has been formed. The ruling party’s leader is worshipped like a God, he has the following of rural populations, a major religious cult with a powerful support, and remains solidly entrenched. Zimbabweans, it would seem, your impending fate is one of doom and gloom. Yet, aside from the whinging and whining, seemingly little is being done. Well not entirely…

During the earlier part of May, 2016 a lone pastor, Evan Mawirire launched his sole campaign, appropriately hash tagged in social media as #ThisFlag. A small modicum of hope, this little trickle of resistance may not have the impact it deserves immediately, because those who dare dabble in the social media movement are just too timid to speak out. However, people are slowly beginning to lend it support, and why shouldn’t they? ZANU(PF) hi-jacked the flag when they assumed ownership of the country. Now the pastor wants to hi-jack the flag back and give it to the people, to the citizens who actually own the flag. It’s metaphorical in concept but wonderfully healthy protest, to be encouraged and supported. It will be interesting in the days ahead to see if Zimbabweans take back their flag.

Would it be unfair to suggest then that Zimbabweans have become the international laughing stock? Their currency did, and now they want to try printing money again! Perhaps, but one might candidly suggest there is not a whole lot of respect for a people who lost their national pride (and their flag) to the party and remain subjugated by its almost subservient bonds, many times worse than their colonial heritage. History is going to judge very harshly indeed the last two voting generations of Zimbabweans in the scheme of things; if they do not rise to the challenge. They have at their disposal a clear, non-violent, non-political form of protest which if given sufficient support may see a few tails turned. But let us not forget the courage and tenacity of another sole campaigner, Itai Dzamara. Don’t sell Mawarire down the same trickle of pathetic support. Each wave of your flag is asking “where is Itai?”

A Liberal Dose of Whimpering


6140688017_a0baf13cfe_b
Picture by Dan Hodgson – @darkroom

There was a huge flash of whimpering, egalitarian, liberal sentiment following Donald Trump’s infamous little quip about barring Muslims entry into the United States. The bigot, how dare he! Sure, to any sensible thinking person, it was a ludicrous thing to say, especially on the campaign trail, he being obviously expectant of the peoples support. It is all rather farcical only because Trump, well knowingly, uttered his thoughts in the ferment of a rather too liberal society. His words were intended to shock, if not wake up a blinkered, apparently big-hearted, electorate. As the old cliché suggests, they truly do walk among us.

The indignant outrage of Western society is a touch preposterous, perhaps more so than the very pronouncement by our prime, all American, presidential hopeful clown. It has stimulated division within his own ranks and most certainly the extremes of society; it has created victims in the Western Muslim community further exacerbating the ‘dangers’ of living in a free, decadent society, and thus creating a cause; and, heaven forbid, it has been truly rough abrasion for simply nice people who cannot see the wood for the trees.

Perhaps we need to reflect on Trump’s words and the reaction to them a little more carefully. What we are seeing here is egalitarian liberalism forcing the suppression of freedoms, rather than advocating them. We may not like what Trump had to say, but he had the right to say it. One does protest a little too much. Thus, those rights and freedoms espoused are, perhaps, the very same liberties that allow others to do Western society harm. The fact is, Islamic terrorism, through its many variants is well intent on doing harm in Western Judeo/Christian society.

There are many taboos in Western society in the interests of political correctness. The late Christopher Hitchens once wrote about unwelcome attention received in response to essays written ‘defending the right of Holocaust deniers and Nazi sympathizers to publish their views’. He averred,

“I did this because I think a right is a right and also because if this right is denied to one faction, it will not stop there.”

How right he was. Laws criminalising Holocaust denial are already being extended to the criticism of Islamist sentiment, clearly the single biggest threat to Western society today. Laws prohibiting so called hate crime, or the motivation of racial, sexual or other prejudices, involving violence, are blossoming in Western society. They deny our right to free speech, we cannot offer vitriol and contempt to our worst enemy. Yet our enemy is at liberty to offer his! How soon will it be an offence to condemn mass immigration?

For Islamists, to achieve their objectives, it is inherent that they should subvert and deploy people of their ilk, religion and culture, in other words, those select, unwitting Muslims who have integrated into Western societies. Yes, it is a broad sweeping brush, but it will be those from this community who wish to destroy or more rather have infidel Western society succumb to their religious zeal. Islamists, seemingly, have the right to hate and destroy, while Western society has its hands tied through ignorance and passivity. One might begin to understand Trump’s clear frustration, albeit the man is a fool.

Liberalism is about freedoms and rights, which makes it all the more astonishing why liberal minded people have denied Trump the right to his freedom of speech; the right to dislike a certain sector of the community who pose a threat to their well-being. Dislike, and indeed distrust, is not hatred. How can anybody like and trust those who seek to destroy our cultural and religious values? People cannot expect to uphold the rights of those who would destroy them, while suppressing the rights of those who believe their ideas and policies may prevent such destruction. It is a grey line, much like hate crime, but Western society needs to get is head out of the sand!

And for those still blurting their anti-Trump vitriol, of course you have the right to do so, but take note: Muslims do not have a right to visit the United States, nor migrate to Europe. It is actually a very liberal privilege.

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.

Visit Andrew’s Simply Wild Photography photo blog… you will not regret doing so!

Once More Unto the Breach


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIThere comes a time when the ideals of a past revolution become a terrible wart on the face of democracy, as mythical as this can be in Africa. That time arrived in Zimbabwe well over a decade ago. The wart has grown bigger. It is uglier now as it erupts and oozes its vile liberation muck, but people have become used to that; having been sucked into its propaganda vortex. Or so it would seem, as we venture into yet another round of nuttiness, which we refer to as elections.

Print, electronic and social media is abuzz with commentary, opinion and sometimes even satirical retort about the forthcoming poll. People set aside their inhibitions and take courage in the narrow window of seeming freedom offered at this time, yet there remains an air of suppression, an uncanny, determined focus, and a yet stronger will by some to retain power, come whatever cost. And we are sure this is not the will of the people.

There is no pulling out the stops now. Conceivably, every trick in the book will be used to ensure our erstwhile revolutionaries retain their power. It is their right, so it would seem, and thus irrevocably due to them. So who dare challenge the status quo and why the folly of elections? Well, in effect, ‘democratic’ elections are done merely to pull the wool over the eyes of otherwise gullible democracies who preach condescendingly of their free values. Africa is challenged by democracy.

So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. What evil schemes will erupt , ooze and spoil genuine choice? The Presidential Decree for an early election will most certainly have placed the opposition on its back feet, despite the paper tiger, SADC, calling for extensions in time. Zimbabwe’s Courts put the finger up to SADC.

Such prolongations were critical to ensure proper voter registration for a start, not to mention amendment to electoral legislation and other critical reforms. Millions of first time voters, the young people of Zimbabwe, and aliens will have been disenfranchised; fundamentally, sectors of the community which would reap positively for the opposition.

A more sinister aspect of the call for an early election was that of a poll before security sector reforms, supposedly to ensure a free and fair election, if ever that can happen in Africa. Such reforms are foremost at the heart of the opposition, for there is little doubt about the patronage and support of the Generals for the old school revolutionaries. The military are expected to play a rather biased role in covert campaigning for the liberation party. Should they fail in that objective, there is mooted suggestion of coup!

The mechanics of what one can only describe as a half cocked and shambolic voter registration abound with yet more suspicion of evil being done. This is considered the base of the rigging yet to come. Voter roll transparency has been all but forbidden in what appears to be an obvious agenda, following an interdict against a local research company.

The xenophobic machinations of the liberation party were never present when employing a foreign company, of apparently dubious repute, to handle aspects of voter registration, and who stand accused of tampering with the lists. The company is said to have ‘form’ for Zambian voter roll manipulations, but deny local involvement in the election process. Several impartial Zimbabwean firms could have qualified for the task; so much for indigenisation.

Was there trickery too in the just run Special Election vote for members of the security forces? A special vote is offered for those who, ostensibly, will be on duty on election day, and thus unable to vote. Really? Nevertheless, it could have been a revealing test of the waters of security force sympathies or otherwise, were the exercise not bungled. The opposition were quick to smell a rat when 69,000 police officers applied for the special vote, almost double the Treasury payroll figures.

The initiative turned out to be a shambles with the ZEC shooting itself in the foot by failing to deliver ballot papers, especially in those areas where the vote would clearly have fallen, perhaps, in opposition favour. Now it is suggested special vote candidates may be able to vote again, despite laws to the contrary. Such chicanery we are used to.

Now the question arises, will the expected chaos (a prognosis based on the Special Vote exercise) prevail in the main election of 6 million participants, and thus be the veil under which a rigging exercise can take place? The general modus operandi will be to deny marginal areas voting papers and slow down the process. We have seen it all before, can we now expect an honest poll?

One may get the impression that perhaps in the final analysis things are going to be skewed. The opposition pacts are already chirping ‘foul play’ as if their fate is sealed. This makes for an interesting study in opposition strategy. There is none. Memories are just so short.

While there are chasms that divide the two MDC parties, their unity or pre-election coalitions could only improve their odds. Their origins are born out of the same philosophies; they both want change in governance; and they share many common issues and agendas, although Welshman Ncube may deny this. It seems very peculiar that they just cannot seem to come together to break the hegemony. The point is that in the final analysis one of the opposition parties may well have to make up a coalition government. Will this be with the other MDC or with blood on their hands?

If the incumbent* liberation party is the popular choice of the people, then this scenario is simply academic. But the general consensus is that this is not the case. People want change, yet those who could potentially deliver such change, in one fell swoop, seem incapable of engineering the platform to achieve this.

Zimbabwe is predictable in its unpredictability and perhaps the sway of the vote will fall into opposition hands. Given the natural tribal patronage overlay, the urban versus rural vote swing, the enlightened opposition versus dogmatic loyal peasant support, much is actually predicable.

Clearly, the odds are against opposition success, if the vote has been or it is intended to be rigged, and we should remember the history here. This situation can only give rise to run-offs or, worse still, absolute defeat of a split opposition. The opposition boycotted the last run-off: an own goal much to their peril. Will one or other opposition party be strong enough to take victory? Time only will tell, but the uncertainly could surely have been turned into certainty with a few commitments and a simple shake of hands.

* incumbent in so far as it holds sway in critical Government Ministries

Visit Andrew’s Simply Wild Photography photo blog… you will not regret doing so!