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Archive for the 'Elections 2013' Category

Coercion by traditional leaders

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by Bev Clark

From a rural subscriber:

 is continuing, this time severely.Two weeks ago people were forced to contribute towards Heroes Day celebrations in rural areas & now it is contributions towards the inauguration of the local headman. Are celebrations forced to be contributed towards or it is someone’s wish? Rural people have suffered much yet they struggle to get money. Who will liberate them from the scavenging leaders?

It’s my party and I’ll swear if I want to

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by Marko Phiri

Not many would have imagined that Mugabe would actually swear during his swearing in.

But then it has become customary fare that public events such as the inauguration always present a “too-good-to-be-true” opportunity to take jabs at anyone who does not find the old man’s politics likeable.

Yet it’s more than that: the inauguration, understandably boycotted by opponents who feel they were cheated, while appealing “So help me God,” was always going to be spliced with brickbats aimed at those Western countries who have condemned Zanu PF’s victory as a sham.

“As for the odd western nations which denounce our elections, we dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn,” Mugabe charged, finding his element right there.

Even the Herald editorial, borrowing Biblical allegory with the headline “Desert is behind us, Canaan beckons,” could not resist that thread and commented: “We are fortunate in having the rest of the progressive world outside the evil Anglo-Saxon alliance of the US, Britain and its dominions Australia and Canada on our side.”

It’s the kind of stuff that gives you a hint of where we are going in our relations with the West, and we can expect more of that excoriation, yet of interest also is that even for ordinary Zimbabweans who feel cheated are invariably lumped with the West, and we already know how the MDC has been dealt with by the State media whom the MMPZ has accused of peddling hate speech.

But then, like a petulant child, the man could swear and get away with it, after all it was his party and no one could spoil it for him!

We know the exhortation that leadership comes with responsibility, and the next few months shall be watched closely as to where exactly we are going as a nation, and as the “new” president swore without any hint of irony: “The peasant who cast his vote on July 31 created my victory. I am at his service. I am his emissary and servant.”

Words are powerful constructs and we shall all be held to them.

The MDC don’t have a leadership and strategy capable of winning an election

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by Bev Clark

I thought I’d share some of the feedback that we’ve been getting from Zimbabweans on Leonard Matsa’s recent article in which he suggests that Zanu PF didn’t so much win the election; rather the MDC don’t have a leadership and strategy capable of winning an election.

I have to respond to some of Leonard Matsa’s comments. I totally agree that the MDC leaders were sleep at the wheel of a ship that was steaming towards the rocks but I cannot agree that all the blame can be put at their doorstep. Our biggest problem was that we put our trust in the likes of the AU, SADC, ZANU, the Judges and assumed the honesty of our opponents. They did not realise the depths of desperation to subvert and undermine the whole electoral process that  ZANU and their government agencies were prepared to go to. The MDC cannot be blamed for the fact that the millions of people in Zimbabwe cannot be bothered to go and register. The MDC cannot be blamed for the appointment of partisan and devious people to the Registrar generals office so that those that did register were either excluded from the roll or deliberately put in some other constituency . The MDC cannot be blamed for the fact that Billions of dollars have been looted at Marange and diverted into the coffers of ZANU. Memory is a very short term thing, the people have forgotten what state Zimbabwe was in 5 years ago. The cholera, worthless money, poor service delivery collapsed infrastructure, hyperinflation and starvation have been forgotten by the people. The deprivations and suffering inflicted on the people by ZANU ineptitude and corruption over the first 28 years of independence cannot be blamed on the MDC. It appears that Zimbabwean people expected the MDC to fix all the hardships inflicted on them over a quarter of a century in the space of 5 years. They expected the MDC to do this with both hands tied behind their back and blindfolded. The real power was never in the hands of the MDC, the civil servants and local government officials have always been and still are manipulated and controlled by ZANU appointees and the MDC was and still is powerless to put a stop to it. The MDC’s biggest mistake and it will always be a scar on their reputation is that they were sweet talked into becoming a part of the GNU. The MDC in effect surrendered the mandate the people gave them in April 2008 through the control of parliament to recognise a president that stole the subsequent run off. The MDC leadership were then so arrogant and irrationally self confident that they agreed in 2013 to participate in the next flawed poll. My only hope is that the people of Zimbabwe never allow any of their future leaders (MDC or otherwise) to participate in any election without a completely level playing field and which is conducted and run by an honest broker. By participating in these last elections we have given Robert Mugabe and ZANU the legitimacy to claim “We were freely elected by a majority of the Zimbabwean electorate.” Everyone including the most die hard ZANU supporter knows that that statement is a complete fabrication. The people now have 5 years to decide whether they perpetuate the farce that is the ZANU government or find a new or existing leader that everyone can rally behind 100%.
Written by: John

Greetings! I am writing to express my profound gratitude for your featured article on leadership and democracy in Zimbabwe by Matsa. The article captured in a poetic way what most of us who are in the trenches for democracy’s sake have been seeing and watching for a very long time and now it has come to pass! The article is a balanced analysis that highlights our pain and betrayal without passing stinging judgement. I cant find a better way of saying what we have gone through as ordinary citizens than the way Masta has done. Thank you for your courage to publish this article and thank you to him for the inspiration he gives to the movement of those who pray to be delivered from evil! We are all to blame! and we are all pained! Peace.
Written by: Jimmy

My opinion is that Leonard Matsa’s article is spot on and presents the realities,Zanu PF started campaigning in 2009 hence the massive win. Written by: Gumbusai

Excellent. Many, many people are angry with MDC leadership but they do not really now why. Their anger is largely instinctual. This article will help folk articulate their anger. How do YOU get the people who will insist on leadership renewal to read this?
Written by: Richard

Yes, I support you. MDC has no leadership, its only that people of Zimbabwe are desperate for the so-called change. MDC should be honest and take responsibility of their mistakes and miscalculations not just to blackmail ZANU-PF with its clear policies.
Written by: Admire

Parties and Presidents

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by Bev Clark

You see now, this is why I don’t have birthday parties, anniversaries or any of that sort of stuff. More often than not parties actually prove how unpopular you are. Like you rifle through your addresses, email or other, and you figure yeah well how about her, even though you haven’t seen, never mind spoken to this person, in the last year. Take Mugabe for example. I mean you’re a President right. Not a new one either so you know quite a few folk, if you know what I mean. Then you have like a big Inauguration bash and barely any Important People come and the stadium fillers are made to smile with free fizzy drinks, T-shirts and some muzak to get the groove on. OK. So he had to do something. Poor guy. Must be bleak wondering where all the (real) love has gone.

Mugabe’s “last minute” inauguration party planning

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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s 31 July Election was free and fair, and that Robert Mugabe was duly elected President. This followed the submission of an election petition to the Constitutional Court by Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T, and the subsequent withdrawal of the petition when it became clear that the Electoral Court would not give the MDC-T access to the election materials they needed to support their election petition.

Mugabe’s inauguration has been scheduled for today – and yesterday it was announced that today would also  conveniently be declared a public holiday, so that everyone can attend. (As I recall, inaugurations in the past haven’t been public holidays.) Oh yes – And 30 heads of state (current and former) are expected among the guests.

So, never mind whatever plans, appointments, meetings or other obligations you may have had for Thursday 22 August, they’re all suspended. And hey – If 30 heads of state can clear their calendars to arrive in Harare at a moment’s notice, who are you to complain about a last minute public holiday. Besides, this year Zimbabwe has held a Constitutional Referendum with one month’s notice, and Harmonised Elections with six weeks’ notice. What’s a bit of last minute inauguration party planning?

But is it really that last minute? As this Kubatana subscriber comments, the timing of all of this makes it clear that petition withdrawal or not, there was only one possible outcome of the election petition before the Constitutional Court – Mugabe’s inauguration on Thursday. The “last minute” notion is just to add to the sense of theatre:

Claims that in Zimbabwe there is no rule of the law have been vindicated. How can a judiciary rubber stamp a ruling from Mugabe on Sunday 18 August that he will be sworn in on Thursday 22 August. Chidyausiku reiterated the same in his constitutional judgement on 20 August as if he was something new but a pre-determined statement. What a mockery of justice system in Zimbabwe? On the other hand Bhunu was delivering a judgement to order arrest of MDC lawyers for saying the courts are an appendage of Zanupf, a thing they the mdc lawyers where not supposed to say to the sacred Courts, infringing on freedom of speech as allowed in the constitution of Zimbabwe. Why are the courts not prone to criticism. The courts are above the law. I thought if they were not an appendage of Zanupf they should have simply proved that and not to abuse their powers infringing the constitutional rights of citizens and lawyers doing their job. Why should lawyers be intimidated in a free Zimbabwe? It a shame? What will the international and not sadc say about the rule of law in Zimbabwe and more on sanctions? What are we trying to prove to the superpowers? That we are dictators. That we do not reason? That courts are there to punish voices of reason? And not to protect or remedy from injustice amongst ourselves? Why oppress ourselves in the name of protecting one person over millions of God fearing people? Protect the ruling elite (Zanupf members only). The courts have failed this nation, proving there is no rule of law? They are biased. And the country expects foreign investment?  Hey God forbid! Ndanyara lusvika pekupedzesera. Ko kungoti yave one party state vanhu voziva ka, zvinei, than to pretend and wasting people’s time!

What’s up?

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Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Today we got fired up on chocolate cake (yes, call us dangerous why don’t you) as well as this little gem from Ibbo Mandaza on the election: a coup that has legitimised itself through an election. We found out why Baba Jukwa, and any other organisation working from their Internet bed, can’t inspire revolution: The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life. We agreed with Fungayi Mukosera that writing off water and power debts both persecutes good citizenship and illustrates what a truly brainless government we have. We got a whiff of Marko Phiri’s election induced PTSD infused with the belief that fresh beginnings were stolen on 31 July. We laughed when we read how Lenard Kamwendo has been trying to dodge election talk; my neighbours were even amused when they saw me on the roof and one of them asked if everything was okay? Knowing where I work the old man living next door came to my place asking me if the new government has also rendered me jobless. We liked the opening paragraph of an article by Richard Dowden writing for African Arguments: from the moment Robert Mugabe said he would step down from the presidency of Zimbabwe if he lost the election, it was clear that he knew he would win it. If he had not been certain of winning, he would not have called the election. Power – military, political, bureaucratic – is what he understands, loves and has enjoyed for 33 years. It’s more than love – it’s an addiction. Other African presidents try to cajole him. He charms and patronises them. British prime ministers and American presidents lecture him. He swats away their words and plays the colonialist card. Opposition movements challenge him. He crushes them with violence. Then he charms them. Mugabe will leave power when he wants to – or when his body gives out. We came across a provocative quote from Sisonke Msimang writing on the Daily Maverick – her whole article is well worth reading: as currently practiced, African standards, certainly in respect to elections and democratic governance, basically suck. We were inspired by an article that reflects on the rise in global protest as citizens lose faith in politics and the state and it got us questioning the protest apathy that personifies Zimbabweans. We agreed with Leon Hartwell that many Zimbabweans feel cheated because the credibility of the process that produced ZANU-PF’s victory was deeply flawed, thereby also betraying the essence of democracy. With 270 MPs and a Parliament designed for 160, Zimbabwe’s new Parliament will be standing room only. But not to worry, Marko Phiri writes: Yet we know from past experience that many MPs ignored sittings anyway, which means space will always be there! ZiFMStereo got a pom pom from us for making their birthday a day of action and cleaning up the rubbish and election posters in Newlands – You Rock! We came across Fungai Machiori interviewing Christopher Mlalazi, the author of Running With Mother which relives the Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s; on whether it’s time to put the pain of Gukurahundi behind us, Christopher responds: it is very easy for a perpetrator in any situation to say let’s forget about that, but it is not that easy for the victim to do the same, especially if the perpetrator is not forthcoming and sometimes tries to dismiss the whole issue as a none event. For the victim there is always the fear – that if the perpetrator is not forthcoming or apologetic, what can stop him or her from doing it all over again? We loved reading Dikson’s tribute (saying goodbye to our Marley) to Chiwoniso: if Mother Earth had a wind chime on her porch, it would be Chiwoniso with an mbira. We blogged a Q&A with the author of Hairdresser of Harare, Tendai Huchu, who reckons that you can never go wrong with sadza. We read an interview by Tinashe Mushakavanhu where he finds out more about how and why the gay activist Peter Tatchell arrested Robert Mugabe in London. And finally we’re thinking of making a useful offline product like rolls of toilet paper with inspiring messages on them for example: wipe out dictatorship. Please send us your slogan to: info [at] kubatana [dot] net