What if Tsvangirai wins?

HARARE - The chances of Morgan Tsvangirai winning Zimbabwe’s presidential election on July 31 in the first round of polling have never been better, many analysts believe, even if surveys (that are now a-year-old) seem to tell a different story.

A majority of voters, mostly peasants and the unemployed working class, are desperate for relief from the grim economic situation created by previous Zanu PF administrations.

The brief glimpse of economic recovery following the arrival of an inclusive government in early 2009 has faded; in reality there is no investment and infrastructure repair has mostly come to a standstill.

Reforms to election laws, including the administration of elections, make rigging or miscounts more difficult, despite chaos within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) which last week showed — with its poor handling of just the special voting — that it is not yet ready to run full elections.

But just as it seems more likely for Tsvangirai to win more than 50 percent in the first round, the prospect of his possible victory sends shivers down the spines of most Zimbabweans as they recall what happened in the last poll.

Those elections were, as usual, peaceful on the day, March 28, 2008. The official count showed Tsvangirai easily beat Mugabe in the first round but was nearly 3 percent short of what he needed to win, 50 percent plus one vote. But insiders believe Tsvangirai had got more than 50 percent-plus-one and that Zanu PF knew this within 12 hours after polls closed, via the electoral commission.

Mugabe was prepared to stand down. He felt thoroughly beaten, and was tired. But there was panic elsewhere in Zanu PF and some of the party elite began moving assets.

The military and others in the security sector, in particular the Joint Operation Command, which is an informal committee bound by no laws, then hatched a plot for Mugabe to survive.

They would manipulate the vote to deny Tsvangirai victory in the first round and then drive him out of the run-off — by violence. Or so some insiders suspected.

That’s why it took an otherwise-inexplicable five weeks for the Zec to announce the presidential election result, three weeks after the announcement of the legislative elections, showing a narrow MDC victory.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti claimed Tsvangirai had in fact won more than 50 percent in the first round. He was arrested; his claim could not be proved. What is not in doubt is that major violence erupted soon after the elections.

Hundreds of people were killed, mostly beaten to death, tens of thousands had to flee their homes. As the pressure built, Tsvangirai left for Botswana.

Finally, a week before the scheduled run-off, there was massive violence which led to Tsvangirai’s withdrawal from the run-off.

Tsvangirai arrived there, and announced he was withdrawing from the run-off.

Mugabe stood as the sole candidate and, of course, won. But there was no food on shelves, the currency was more useful to start a fire than take to a shop, there were fuel shortages, power cuts, closed schools and hospitals, and no money to pay civil servants.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) intervened, asking then President Thabo Mbeki to mediate negotiations among the three main parties for a power-sharing transitional government.

More than four years later, Zimbabwe has a new Constitution.

Its election laws are much better, it has a couple of independents on the electoral commission and its chairperson, Judge Rita Makarau, is more wary of her reputation than her predecessor. It’s not all good, but it is better.

There is also President Jacob Zuma’s mediation team, who know all of each political party’s strengths and weaknesses, and who are concerned enough to have called an Sadc security troika summit today, mainly to discuss “the status of preparations” — or lack thereof — for the elections. It is clear that a Tsvangirai victory would be a move into the perilous unknown.

Perhaps Zanu PF, assured by Tsvangirai that he will not prosecute Mugabe or other party leaders, would accept the results; perhaps Sadc and Zuma’s interests and behind-the-scenes influence would persuade the generals — who are still on the record that they will not serve Tsvangirai — that there can be no going back.


Comments (42)

I have always said it and I will say it again and again - had Zim been a normal democracy, the presidential contest should actually be between Tswangirayi and Welshman. Gukurahundi Mugabe should actually be thought of as a distant third, given his advanced age and poor governance record. Unfortunately, because of issues of tribes, and general primitivity, our nation is about to enter the Guiness Book of Records as the only one on Planet Earth where a 90-year old stands for elections and still draws crowds that are actually more than that of his 52-year old opponent, Welshman - what a sad example of a so-called modern nation!!

Phunyukabemphethe - 23 July 2013

It's been more rigging than anything else for the non change in governance. MDC has a very good chance on these elections than ever before but then again the rigging machine is in full force but what about the voting numbers to counter that. Nikuv must be shown the red card.

obama4eva - 23 July 2013

@Phunyukabemphethe. Couldn't have said it better myself. These dinosaurs failed spectacularly at governing while amassing so much wealth for themselves and yet there are idiots even contemplating voting for Zanu PF. The 'oh look at diesel oozing from a rock' deadwood had 33yrs of fixing things. They failed miserably. We must be the only nation on earth with 92% literacy rate, diamonds, fertile lands, etc and yet we are poor and can't even fund our own elections! We messed up so much we use other people's currency! That's a disgrace.

Moe_Syzlack - 23 July 2013

Laid on with a trowel...Moe

gutter poet - 23 July 2013

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muvengwa munondivengerei - 23 July 2013

MDC T yazotongawo manje, they are putting my party on check kwese kwese and zviri kushanda, ndepapi pavachariga napo this time?

Nelson Maningi - 23 July 2013

If.......If wishes were horses beggars would ride. Amadonki azaze abele mpondo kwatsho Muzenda! Its telling when you hear journalists saying "if...."

Be Factual - 23 July 2013

These ZANU PF Ministers and Cronies failed dismayly and spectacularly at governing while amassing so much wealth for themselves .33yrs failure is proof enough. ZANU PF failed miserably even after chasing all the whites, and swallowing ZAPU. We are only country on earth with 94% literacy rate, Extremely fertile land,Diamonds, Platinum and yet we are the poorest and can't even feed our own people! We even use the supposeddly oppressor's currency and still claim we dont want the whiteman on our soil.Its such a disgrace President Robert Mugabe and I suggest you just retire before you get retired. Morgan tsvangirayi has already promised you immunity so just rest peacefully and let Zimbabwe prosper!!Thousands of people you helped educate are awaiting your departure so that they can come and rebuild Zimbabwe.Dr Thomas Mapfumo once sang."Nyika ndeyevanhu, ivhu nderevanhu, haparwirwe.Makuva amunoona ose vanhu vaimbogarawo panyika.Nyika yangove mamvemve.

reuben - 24 July 2013

If Tsvangirai win i will go made

kaylie - 24 July 2013

people must vote in all MDC candidates in all constituencies thereby isolating Baba Chatunga ,their focus is on the Presidential seat but hw can he rule with majority MPS.

mozzy - 24 July 2013

@KAYLE, At least only one mad person is not much trouble. And washaiwa zvokupengera here

tata - 24 July 2013

All I want is for Zec to anounce the result that wil say; bla bla -NDP - 0% Dabengwa Dumiso - ZAPU- 1% Mugabe Robert Gabriel - ZANU PF - 31% Ncube Welshman - MDC - 5% Tsvangirayi Richard Morgan - MDC-T - 61%. Therefore I proclaim Tsvangirayi Richard Morgan the winner of the presidential vote! If Zec can do this everything else should follow, so to me, everything lies with ZEC. Thye should say it as it is!

TaTanga - 24 July 2013

It is a very good inquisitive TOPIC, but here lies the answer- the moon will never shine and the sun will disappear only in Zimbabwe.

reason - 24 July 2013

If wishes were horses beggers would ride. All civil servants now understand that MDC is full of empty promises and will not the mistake of voting for them again. Mdc will definitely lose people have realised that sanctions are infact targeted on Zim companies to make the economy scream. The worst mistake MDC made was to join Simba all who voted him in 2008 didn't want MDC or ZANU PF hence they are not going to give him any votes. definitely mdc hailume

papa jose - 24 July 2013

If Morgan Tsvangirayi wins we are assured of more jobs ,more medicine,more usd($)and less poverty,no competition for wild fruits with monkeys and baboons. so lets all vote for the change we can trust. for the past 33 years we have suffered enough at the hands of zanu pf and mugabe. SO GO SAVE GO. We rally behind you nomakunzima

SPLEDNOUR - 24 July 2013

SPLEDNOUR- Who told and assured you that if Morgan wins we will not compete with monks? The falsehoods that you have been fed with extremely dangerous. Do not rely on FRIENDS OFFER. Rely on yourself.

dungas - 24 July 2013

TSVANGIRAI THIS TIME SHOULD GO FULL FORCE, he should not withdraw for victory is certain http://www.profmpiya.com

Rigel Bernard - 24 July 2013

dts e same as wishing fo donkeys to have horns TS NEVER GNA HAPPEN NOT IN A MILLION YEARS AS LONG AS US TRUE ZIMBABWEANS R ER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tapuwa rusununguko - 24 July 2013

MOREGAY will never win,zviroto zvichagara zviroto,em sorry vazukuru vanofunga kuti nyika ingaende.Zanu PF Today,Tomorrow and Forever

Runako Shona - 24 July 2013

It is very sad, we still have "many or some people" who think that Zany PF is the only one party with the brains or that is allowed to rule this country. I honestly do not know where this comes from. Honestly, Zany PF after 33 years in power have another to offer - just look or listen to their election manifesto. Zimbabwe haisi yeZanu PF, Zimbabwe is for all of us including non Zanu PF. It is time for change, and if Tsvangirayi brings us that change, BINGO. That somebody will die if Tsvangson wins is sheer stupidity. That he will reverse land reform et.c and promote gayism is utter nonsense coz the consitution has already dealt with some of those issues. Zanu PF can never ever and will never ever win a credible election. Asijiki. Because takatopanduka zvachese.

Darlington Muroyiwa - 24 July 2013


CDE SIMUKAI - 24 July 2013

If Morgan wins he wins..no issues because Zimbabwe has always had elections since 1980 without a single rig. All this rigging goes back to 2008 when the west clearly stated that they will never remove sanctions njin Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe is in power. That position has and will never change. All this rigging mantra is designed as a get out clause for their main man morgidza in case he loses. They are prepared to take their chance with Morgan but should that fail they will just go back to elections were rigged. We already have Zec clouded in controversy because even in a free and fair election mac can not win. Their only chance is if people in the diaspora are allowed to vote and not everyone there is mdc but the majority are judging by their contributions online. Politics will always be there but Zimbabweans should focus on what they need as a nation and how to bring about long lasting stability. The west clearly hate Mugabe for his courage give land to the people and empowerment programs. Obviously they will not stand idle while their businesses lose some of their share to the locals. Their only hope is Morgan who can reverse all these policies in favour of the foreign businesses. Farms back to the white people who are perceived as masters of the industry. In my book Zimbabwe should keep these ZANU of program's and tweak perhaps one or two areas to make it fullproof. These program's are for Zimbabweans to take ownership of their country so that whoever comes to Do business with us will never gain plunder our resources. Failure to do this will only result in Egypt style scenario in Zimbabwe.

Joey - 24 July 2013

what if a pentagon had four sides? of course that is impossible.

pop - 25 July 2013

What if if if if if and you think you are talking sense cant you see that you are day dreaming having wings like a bird to fly in the sky. Your story is baseless and lack merit how can you if if if if on reality that tsvangirai is losing big time. People have realized wat type of people mdc's are. Three parties dying to use same name to an extend of another personalising it with his ugly face.

tsvangie - 25 July 2013

all these people saying never in a million years or wat wat so remind me of a certain white man who once ruled this country and said the same about mugabe. it was one of the last speeches he made b4 he handed over to mugabe. i think his name was........ Ian Smith.

gunners - 25 July 2013

well said gunners, ian smith and not robert mugabe

pop - 25 July 2013

Let me remind everyone that only God, and He alone can say never, not motal men. Ese mapenzi arikuti Mugabe forever or Zanu Pf forever are fools. Hapana shiri isingamhari, chisingaperi chinoshura, aiva madziva ava mazambuko etc ndidzo tsumo dzataka dzidziswa kuchikoro. Fools, change will certainly and inevitably come whether you like it or not, where is Hitler, Nebucadnzer etc who were thought to reign forever? Only The Sovereign LORD reigns forever and ever, He alone. Can someone say Amen!

wiseman of the east - 26 July 2013

Nothing is forever

Zhou - 26 July 2013

Does anyone recall TB Joshua foretelling bloodshed in Zimbabwe or are these just rumours by some alarmists.

Johno - 27 July 2013

I think after next week shortages of food, fuel and money are looming. People should make plans.

Wiseman - 27 July 2013

I think after next week shortages of food, fuel and money are looming. People should make plans.

Wiseman - 27 July 2013

Joey. zpf has ruined this country during the last 33 years and you still want them to stay and rule some more? Are you spme kind of moron. You say they gave the land to the blacks bur apart from the chefs getting land do you know of any average citizen getting anything at all. You are living in a dream world with your stupidity and its obvious that only the uneducated will vote for zpf so they can carry on looting and destroying our country. Wake up and see what's going on.

Peter Macklyn - 28 July 2013

Gunners, Ian Smith handed over to Muzarewa a year before mugs came on the scene. So mugs never defeated Smith but stole the vote from Muzarewa who had been ruling Zimbabwe for a year. Bet thats not in the new history books!!!!!!!!!

Peter Macklyn - 28 July 2013

Chembere icharuza - 89yrs!!!!!!

Bobo - 28 July 2013

if tsvangirai wins i will not loose my farm , i wont loose ma mine also even my right to telln him to quit fronting the whites intrest. No company wl re open unless Tsvangson bends down to their demands like to kubvuma hungochani sezvakaitwa na aZuma of SA.

madziva - 28 July 2013

pple wake up,do not be continuously fooled by zanu pf few greedy folks who think Zimbabwe is zanu,they literally replaced the white colonialists and all the so called policies never benefit an average citizen,inturn they do more harm than good,hw can someone own more than 57000 stands while someone has been renting all their life ,lets prove our democracy and change the governmnt ,lets all vote for tsvangirayi and break the syndrome of believing tiri vanhu ve zanu,we are all zimbabbweans and so is TYsvangirayi,he deserves the post if pple want him,pamberi nechange ma Zimbabweans ,Excersise your right!!!!!!

rue - 29 July 2013

peaceful election fellow zimbabweans

proudly zim - 29 July 2013

Biti and the MDC think that for the elections to be judged free, fair and sustainable,they must be won by the MDC and observed by the west.To hell with these pupperts

tendai - 29 July 2013

it z actualy gud if parties weaned frm dependng on non national sources.the EU n many othr share e same goal of opposng e rulng party bt their intrests r difrent.they r mo of self -servng than they r empathetic.only very few countries with e EU hv uncoditional n true support fr democracy in ZIM.all others wl do watevr it takes to benefit their own cause.sme of us value land reform n nation benefit of resources what we r afraid of z dat MDC wl take those benefits of resources frm us and hand them ovr to e west and wl hv nt helped a ordinary Zimbabwean.my vote z on ZANU PF coz dey value their pipos concern

tanaka - 29 July 2013

If Tsvangira wins...which he is going to......it will be the rebirth of hope in a new Zimbabwe. That will be the liberation of Zimbawean people from Black Colonialism..........we will call the era " Youth Empowerment"

tdza - 29 July 2013

Ndokunyepa ikoko, the matter of the fact is that 31 July is going to throw into the dustbin this political-pretender, i would rather vote for a 1000 year old sensible leader than vote for this 60 year old stupid and idiotic character.One who goes around taking people for granted by lying to them that he`s going to create 1 million jobs, yet in actual fact he`s referring to 1 million babies. See you at the Polling- Station!!

John Marara - 29 July 2013

It boggles the mind when one says MDC ine ma empty promises! yakambotonga kupi? then u c someone claiming kut zanu pf its a good part of 33yrs running the country like a tuckshop vs MDC'S 4yrs in the gnu, it made our lives better than the former, votr wisely guys

chamvari - 30 July 2013

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