Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

In silence we sing

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We sent out a Kubatana email newsletter recently and in it I asked our subscribers to give some feedback on the following

We’re reading a lot these days about the “harmonization” of the 2008 or 2010 elections. However, the MDC has experienced what they’ve called “stolen” elections for the last 6 years. It seems that the MDC along with elements of civil society feel that formal elections are still the only way to go and that they hope that the electoral and constitutional conditions will be favourable by 2008 to enable free and fair elections. The mind boggles at this lack of creativity and innovation. Isn’t this like flogging a dead ballot? Do you have some bold ideas? Feel like sharing your daring? What are your thoughts about voting and elections?

We got a lot of feedback and I share a little bit of it with you here

Perhaps I am mistaken, but aren’t parliamentary elections held every five years and presidential elections are held every six years? If so, isn’t this so-called harmonising a once-off event as I have not seen any reference to reducing the presidential terms to five years to bring it into line. (Ken)

It is utterly immaterial when the elections are held, as the regime will rig them, come what may. Indeed they can probably run elections without rigging as the MDC factions will spend most of their energy fighting each other and doing the regime’s work for them. If anyone is naive enough to think that change can come through the bent ballot box, they are living in a fog of self-delusion. I can understand trying something once, twice or even three times, but if you do so again and again and learn nothing, then you are an idiot, pure and simple. Those who wish to waste their energy on opposing this ‘harmonisation’ are reactionary counter-revolutionaries who will divert and distract and divide us – just as King Robert intends. Even if through some miraculous cock-up, zanu-pf fails to rig the elections and fails to unleash an overt coup against whoever wins, without meaningful structural and procedural change, we will merely exchange one set of thieves for another who will waste no time in looting the remnants of the economy while making all sorts of excuses to justify keeping POSA, AIPPA etc while they consolidate power. I for one cannot tell the difference between the fat cat chefs in zanu and those in the mdc except that the mdc ones are perhaps slightly leaner. (Mandebvu)

2008 was not only marked as a year for getting the voices of the people heard through elections, we all even expected a new product on the Zanu PF shelf. We expected Mugabe to simply abdicate the throne and give a wholesome chance to another candidate. At least this could have given the people fresh hopes of a better Zimbabwe since it was this one person who had made this country become a failed state. Can we really blame it all on the opposition and call it a moribund? To that I can only say the power of any revolution lies in the people and not in the leadership of the revolution. That was then going to be revealed in the year 2008. (Clayton)

In keeping with the last opinion, perhaps the poem In Silence We Sing by Zimbabwean poet Albert Nyathi is appropriate

Even the silent ants
Trampled upon by giant elephants
Do sing a silent song
They shall surely know
How to shoot
The great foot
Weighing heavily on them

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