Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

If you want a farm, vote Zanu PF

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What we need in Zimbabwe right now are more defections in Zanu PF, a viable plan of action for what we’ll do when the election is stolen (again), and citizens with courage. Without these, it is unlikely our next election will produce anything startlingly different than the past three have.

I’ve been reading the various reactions to Simba Makoni’s candidacy with interest. The Mutambara formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has gotten behind Makoni. But by and large, the response from civic activists and supporters of the Tsvangirai-led MDC has been negative. The negativity is based on a couple of factors which include his late entry – he’s seen as someone who hasn’t been around long enough as an independent; and the fact that he has been Zanu PF and he intends to remain Zanu PF.

The thing is, even if the Tsvangirai MDC does win the March 29 election, Zanu PF will still be around. I don’t see them just up and disappearing come April. And we need to reach a place in Zimbabwean politics where extreme polarisation is a thing of the past. We need political parties to work together for the benefit of Zimbabwe whilst maintaining their different philosophies and ideologies. If Makoni can move Zanu PF to a new thinking and new leadership that makes them more approachable and easier to work with, he should be given the opportunity to do so.

An article entitled It’s an election not a coronation caught my eye recently. Both Tsvangirai and the MDC should reflect on these words. It is an election in which both candidates have to work hard to convince Zimbabweans to get out the vote for them. Having worked tirelessly for the last 8 years does not automatically guarantee Tsvangirai victory. And he should not be viewed as the only legitimate challenger to Mugabe.

A Kubatana subscriber emailed us this opinion:

Loyalty is a great quality, but we have to ask to what exactly are we being loyal. The argument that we should continue voting for Tsvangirai because of his past contribution is the same argument used by Mugabe as to why we should vote for him. Didn’t he liberate the country from colonial shackles and therefore we should continue loyalty well beyond his ability or willingness to deliver “the goods”? Sometimes, we have to step back from emotional loyalty and look to the greater good. Not voting for someone is not necessarily being disloyal to that individual. People’s contributions to a cause, does not bestow the entitlement of office or reward. We do what we do because it is the right thing, not because we expect high office. If Tsvangirai doesn’t make it to the Presidency, I will still respect and honour him. I just want to see my country begin the road to recovery, both nationally and individually.

For many years the MDC has been unable to convert their stolen elections. Why would they suddenly be able to do so in 2008? A failing economy and an ailing dictator don’t necessarily place victory in one’s lap. Indeed, Mugabe has become even more shameless (his latest election jingle features the refrain: “If you want a farm, vote Zanu PF. If you want a company, vote Zanu PF.”). And Mugabe is confident that his battle-cry of “sovereignty” allows him to rig elections with impunity and run Zimbabwe into the ground without any regard to criticism.

If Makoni can somehow encourage the neutralisation of Mugabe and create a “new Zanu PF” committed to justice and Zimbabwe’s social, economic and environmental recovery then this should be seen as progress.

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