We need free, fair, credible elections


IT was sociologist Robert Merton who defined the term self-fulfilling prophecy as: In the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come true.

This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error, for the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.

In other words, a positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion – declared as truth when it is actually false may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfil the once-false prophecy.

Zimbabweans have become victims of the self-fulfilling prophecies that:
Robert Mugabe will never hold free, fair and credible elections and therefore, it is futile to think there is anything we can do to change that,

When elections are held, lo and behold they will not be fair and credible, regardless how blatant the vote was rigged, it is utterly pointless challenging the results cause the courts will throw out the case.

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

The set goal of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) agreed to by Zimbabwe’s three political parties, Zanu PF led by Robert Mugabe and the two MDC factions led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, and co-signed by (now former) South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of Sadc as the guarantor of the agreement was to ensure Zimbabwe’s next elections would be free, fair and credible.

To achieve this set goal the GPA came up with a raft of democratic reforms that the Government of National Unity (GNU) were tasked to implement and to write a new democratic constitution.

The way Sadc leaders had reminded the MDC leaders to implement the democratic reforms and literally begged them not to take part in the elections without the reforms, as MDC MP Sipepa Nkomo has admitted, shows that Sadc believed Zimbabwe would have free and fair elections if the reforms were implemented.

“It is common knowledge that Lindiwe Zulu (President Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser) advised us,” admitted Nkomo.

“Zuma advised us and even the Sadc heads of State meeting in Maputo (Mozambique) advised not to participate in elections without electoral, media and security sector reforms, among others.”

So the MDC leaders signed on to the GPA agreeing to implement reforms, but for five years the GNU did absolutely nothing to implement even one reform.

Yes, they are corrupt; there is no doubt that the $4 million Highlands mansion for Tsvangirai and all the trappings of holding high office for the rest of the MDC leadership made themvery amenable to Mugabe’s suggestion to do nothing about the reforms.

“MDC vadzidza kudya vanyerera!” (MDC have learnt to enjoy the gravy train spoils without rocking the boat!).

Was the pithy retort from one of Mugabe’s cronies explaining why MDC were not implementing any reforms?

Of course one has to be breathtakingly incompetent not to have foreseen that MDC leaders would not hold on to their political post if Mugabe rigged the elections. Lo and behold Mugabe rigged the elections and, yes, many MDC leaders were unceremoniously kicked off the gravy train.

Tsvangirai has been lucky, at least so far, to have held on to his Highlands bribe. Still he is having a real tough time; it is very hard to keep up a high-flier lifestyle befitting that of one living in a $4 million mansion on zero income!

While most of the other MDC leaders whose political careers came to a sudden stop on July 31 2013, elections day, had other careers to fall back on, Tsvangirai had no such luck.

Tsvangirai is one of the many MDC leaders who really did not see the vote-rigging coming; they are corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent, period.

For the remaining few like Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, David Coltart and others, there is a lot more to why they did not get even one reform implemented than being corrupt and incompetent – they never believed implementing reforms would deliver free, fair and credible elections.

So we did not have free, fair and credible elections in 2013 because MDC leaders in their infinite wisdom prophesied way back in 2008 that Mugabe and Zanu PF would never concede to holding such elections and therefore, implementing the reforms would be a waste of time, so not one reform was implement.

The 2013 elections were blatantly rigged and I mean blatantly rigged – what could be more blatant than the number of polling station being increased from 2 000 to 9 000, four and half times two days before polling; failure to produce the voters roll.

There was no real attempt to challenge the elections results regardless of the mountain of evidence, of vote-rigging because no one believed the courts would consider the case because the judiciary is pro-Zanu PF.

So you make the judges’ work much easier by pre-empting the case by pre-judging it?

Last year Mugabe, blatantly rigged Zanu PF’s own electoral process to elbow Joice Mujuru out of the way and install Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice-president.

Of course there are grounds for a court challenge and the fact that some of the judges will be from Mujuru’s faction – given that this purge has divided Zanu PF down the middle. There should be no excuse for taking this to court, one would think!

“Whether or not their legal argument is sound is quite irrelevant in this politically-charged case which will most likely be decided not on legal merit, but on political considerations,” Dewa Mavhinga said.

Mavhinga is not just any lawyer he is the senior researcher for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

He is a human rights lawyer who does not believe in the rule of law and is advocating that we should not bother with taking cases to court regardless of the evidence and regardless of the critical importance of the case to not just Zanu PF members but to the whole nation – forcing Mugabe to abide by the law will constitute one of the greatest political decisions of our time!

How is it possible that a reputable organisation like HRW, whose core business is fighting for human rights and rule of law, would employ someone who does not even believe in the rule of law, beggars belief!

Ever since Zimbabwe’s rigged 2013 national elections, it seems, nothing gives Tsvangirai greater sense of pride and fulfilment than announcing to the world that Mugabe rigged that election!

“And it was I, Morgan Tsvangirai, who made it all easy and possible for him to do so!” He might as well add, drumming his chest like a silver-back gorilla!

Zimbabwe is in deep political and economic trouble because we are a country of self-defeatists who love to indulge in self-defeatist self-fulfilling prophecies and, while wallowing in our own self-inflicted misery, we shamelessly boast of how all our self-defeatist prophecies have all come true!

Wilbert Mukori can be contacted at zimbabwesocialdemocrats@gmail.com