Today there’s a lot of buzz around the shopping centre where I work in Harare. The buzz is about Simba Makoni’s election bid. The first person to grab hold of me on the stairs was a heavily blue eye-shadowed Italian woman who held on to my arm tightly in excitement saying that everyone she’d encountered was pleased to see Simba sit up and growl (well, maybe more like murmur).
Likewise vendors and bank tellers are also having pow wows chatting about what might be in store for us in March. David, the video store manager, echoed what most others are saying . . . that many have lost faith in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and an alternative to Morgan Tsvangirai is much needed, and welcomed. In our office Dennis suggested that Simba’s entry into the race is a ploy by Mugabe to steal votes from disillusioned MDC supporters.
Yes, it’s quite likely that Makoni will attract a large number of Zimbabweans who would have voted for Tsvangirai. If Makoni does attract this support it means that Zanu PF’s chunk of the vote, one way or another, gets bigger. So how independent is Simba? How genuine is his bid? Is he a late minute spoiler, or Mugabe’s running puppet?
I must say I smiled to myself when I read one of Eddie Cross’ latest justifications for the MDC participating in this farce of an election. He’s quoted as saying
Our focus has to be on the campaign — explaining to the voters what we will do if elected.
Every Zimbabwean, across all walks of life, will tell Eddie that the MDC won’t win because the electoral reforms that the MDC have been negotiating for the last many months have not been adopted. The election will be rigged. Mugabe will win. What Eddie and the rest of the MDC gang should be focused on is their Plan B: what to do when the election is stolen.
Elementary my dear Mr Cross.