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Get up and get out and support the political change

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So I’m sitting here in Harare on Monday morning wondering what it exactly was that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) intended to gain from their two weekend victory press conferences. Yes, their announcement got a lot of international news coverage, not local. And I’m sure it put Bob on the back foot. But what now? What is the MDC waiting for . . . the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s “official” results which everyone is suspicious of? It seems odd to temper a wonderfully audacious move (claiming victory) with the predictable path of comparing results.

What will the MDC do when ZEC announces Mugabe the winner? Across the country Zimbabweans agree that the MDC has trounced Zanu PF but they don’t believe (correctly) that this automatically translates into Mr Mugabe handing over the keys to State House, and his black Mercedes. So what can the MDC, showing decisive political leadership, and the Zimbabwean people activating their courage, do to seal the victory and challenge our collective disbelief that we can actually have change in Zimbabwe?

Eldred Masungurure, a Harare political analyst recently disagreed that Zimbabweans will actively resist a stolen election saying that fear is too pervasive in this country. And certainly we live in a country where Zimbabweans willingly hang Mugabe’s portrait in their shops and businesses even though there is no law requiring them to do so. And where, over this election period, Zimbabweans have had their private property Zanu-fied with posters of Bob’s fist and have been too fearful to take them down.

All of us have to ask ourselves how willing we are to get up and get out and support the political change that is happening in Zimbabwe. My fear is that the MDC leadership and the Zimbabwean people will once again, wait for each other to make the first move.

5 comments to “Get up and get out and support the political change”

  1. Comment by Global Voices Online » Zimbabwe: What is MDC waiting for?:

    [...] Bev Clark writes about elections in Zimbabwe:”But what now? What is the MDC waiting for . . . the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s “official” results which everyone is suspicious of? It seems odd to temper a wonderfully audacious move (claiming victory) with the predictable path of comparing results.” Share This [...]

  2. Comment by BM:

    The MDC is right to follow the law. The ZEC has to announce the results. If the MDC and people ‘do’ anything before that point it is very likely that Mugabe will have them arrested, perhaps even declare martial law. Don’t give him the excuse. It is fantastic people are so calm and prepared to act within the law. There is no move to make except making the polling station results known and waiting for ZEC to announce the results and compare them before acting. No doubt there is rigging going on but in fact Zanu-pf don’t have much room to rig.

  3. Comment by Bev Clark:

    Hi BM

    Thanks for posting your comment. There is much that the MDC can do within the framework of the law in Zimbabwe. It is imperative for them to keep their supporters engaged and to maintain the momentum and the excitement that they generated when they claimed victory.

    For example
    - As mentioned above, there is no law stating Zimbabweans must display Mugabe’s portrait. The majority of Zimbabweans have voted Tsvangirai. In order to create ways for people to explore and engage in non-violent defiance and non-cooperation the MDC should ask Zimbabweans to pull the portraits down.

    - There is no law saying that people can’t hoot their horns, display the Chinja wave and play loud music. MDC campaign vehicles should be visiting various suburbs and sharing their victory and excitement. Going one step further the MDC should send out bulk SMS messages to their supporters asking them to all hoot for freedom at 1pm these next few days.

    - We have received no word or communication from MDC MPs calling us to constituency based meetings which would unify, and most importantly, build courage in Zimbabweans for the next few days.

    These are the sorts of activities that need to be unfolding NOW to keep Zimbabweans engaged and hopeful and most importantly, preparing us for collective action.

    What do you think?

  4. Comment by Roger:

    The MDC must be patient for a little longer. MT doesn’t need to declare himself winner, find himself arrested, cause Mugabe to declare a state of emergency and cancel the election results.

    The delay might not be designed around rigging. They might just be playing for time. They might be trying to work out how they deal with the defeat. And they might also be destroying incriminating data on government computers, etc. But how would Mugabe save face? Does he run away? And what do the service chiefs do, and how do they save face?

    Mugabe’s definitely lost Chinamasa and Comrade Chen, and he’s probably definitely lost several other of his “lieutenants”. He can’t appoint them all to Parliament, so who does he use? He probably wasn’t expecting to lose those guys. He knows ZANU(PF) is split, and won’t really know who he can trust anyway, and some of those may already be trying to persuade him to go.

    He can’t be sure that the rank and file of the police and defence forces will follow instructions from their present chiefs, as they will know that it has been fixed and won’t have wanted it. He will be running out of state money and won’t be able to provide them with any better pay and conditions than before. Life will only get worse for them.

    It might not be Mugabe who’s in control of this. Others might be the ones playing for time. If the likes of Mujuru and Zvinavashe really were/are on Makoni’s side, might if not be possible that they are pulling ZEC’s strings and getting the delay while they try to persuade Mugabe that he it’s too difficult to rig this time and he should seek a statesmanlike exit? Mujuru and Zvinavashe might even think that they could find more useful/successful roles for themselves in an MDC “unity government” than in an unreformed ZANU(PF).

    And I’m not sure how well SADC and Mbeki will take a Mugabe win if it’s not announced until, say, the end of Tuesday. Mugabe might have given Mebki the runaround once too often by now.

  5. Comment by BM:

    Good ideas tho’ pulling down portraits could be ‘insulting’ the ‘pres’? Zanu-pf is so good at ad libbing the law. Would be good if the MDC MPs called you together. We do need to know what they are doing/thinking… so frustrating to have a blank MDC website. What’s happened to Simba? Where is he? any response from him? Is he going to stick with opposition or slink back? How to stay sane and calm… and not lose the obvious victory?