This weekend marks the end of the campaigning period for Zimbabwe’s watershed harmonized elections to be held on Monday the 30th of July 2018. Two of the major and arguably the contesting parties ZANU PF and the MDC Alliance held their final rallies in Harare on Saturday. The journey has been long and many promises were made along the way.
These two major contesting parties have made their position with regards to the election results very clear. While ZANU PF are confident of victory they have said they will accept the results and President ED Mnangagwa is on record saying he will hand over power in the event that he loses the election. On the other hand Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance is saying he will not accept anything short of his victory and on Saturday he says he will get more than 65%. So confident he is that he even made a wager and placing his 18 year old sister as a wager he will give to ED in the even that ED gets 5% of the total votes cast. According to Chamisa any result that is contrary to his desires it is an illegitimate result. One then ask what is the point of getting into an election when all he wants is one result?
Many polls and studies are saying these elections are too close to call but not to the MDC Alliance and its candidate. A precedent was even set when the lawyer of a contesting candidate called a press conference to declare that they will not accept any result short of victory of its candidate. This has never happened anywhere in the world. Advocate Thabani Mpofu, a lawyer speaking on behalf of Nelson Chamisa insinuated that any result that show a defeat of Nelson Chamisa will not be accepted and they have put in place what he termed “anti-rigging mechanisms.” Now imagine if these statements were being made by Mnangagwa or even by the army? Who will be crying the loudest?
In 2002 the army then being led by the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe made pronouncement that the army will not salute anyone with no liberation credentials. The statement was insinuated to mean the late Morgan Tsvangirai who was leading the opposition then. The statement by General Zvinavashe was said to be undermining the ballot. Chamisa and Mpofu’s statements are to be seen in the same light. They are undermining the ballot and are meant to incite the masses for an uprising. And with Chamisa’s reputation as espoused by the nickname Wamba dia Wamba (a rebel leader from the DRC) as he is popularly called by his supporters, these statements are to be condemn by all peace loving and progressive Zimbabweans.
With advent of new media, many conspiracy theories have been thrown around mainly to undermine and to discredit the electoral process. The commissioners running the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) especially the chairperson were attacked left right and centre to the extent of being labeled “hure” (a woman of loose morals). This according to some observers was part of a well thought out plan to discredit the electoral process. Threats were even made to picket at the ZEC office in the last week towards election to try and arm twist the ZEC to accept their demands.
Every day in the run up to the election, the MDC Alliance would come up with different demands from the voters roll, to one with pictures to be given a ballot paper to go and test to prove their theory of migrating ballot. Where they were say an X marked against the name of Chamisa will magically move and be converted to be a vote for Mnangagwa. Some of these demands were they deemed “unreasonable” by the group of eminent persons known as The Elders led by Koffi Annan the former Secretary General of the United Nations. All these demands were made in an attempt to discredit the elections and thrown the country into a crisis. The idea was also to delegitimize the process giving the winner legitimacy challenges. Many observers have labeled Chamisa’s way of politics as childish, characteristic of student politics at university colleges.
The MDC Alliance even threatened to boycott the election if their demands are not met. ZEC accepted the lawful demands such as not changing the voting booth to maintain the old designs which gave the voter total secrecy. Other unreasonable demands were thrown out.
The MDC Alliance chose to fight the electoral process, to discredit it, and undermine the ballots while Zanu PF was focused on voter mobilization. This will be reflective on the 30th. With Chamisa threatening not to accept the results and to mobilize his supporters to “protect their vote” anarchy is on the horizon. MDC Alliance are being advised to camp at the polling station soon after voting to “protect their vote.” This is contrary to the Electoral Act that forbids people to gather in groups within the 300m radius of the polling station. Polling officials are now under threat especially if they announce results that is contrary to the wishes of the MDC Alliance.
These reckless statements by Chamisa is a testimony of him resorting to default settings that earned him the nickname Wamba dia Wamba. If not to create a crisis, incite violence, create legitimacy crisis what can be taken from these statements by Chamisa and his legal team? Zimbabwe is headed for interesting times ahead and what is left is to hope for peace and not anarchy as being desired by Wamba and others.
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