Ordinary Zimbabweans also to blame

HARARE - When things go wrong, we blame the leader; that is natural human behaviour.

Zimbabweans were led to election 2013 like lambs to the slaughter, but can we only blame the leaders for the outcome that followed?

Why oh why did we, the ordinary Zimbabweans, agree to take part in the July 31st elections? Why were we silent?

We knew nothing was right about the electoral playing field and yet we closed our eyes and took part in a process that was doomed from the start. We listened to our leaders when they urged us to register to vote, to check our names, stand in the queues and encourage our friends and neighbours to do likewise.

When more and more thousands were unable to get to the front of the voter registration queues and the process closed, we should have insisted that an extension be given.

We should have made our leaders listen to our cries, but we did not, we trusted them.

Then came the debacle of the “special” vote for security personnel and electoral officials. Half of those eligible to take part in the two-day “special vote” were unable to do so because of administrative mayhem.

Ballot papers did not arrive, people’s names were not on the rolls and later came the mysterious ballots that were found in a dustbin.

Alarm bells tolled over the way Zec had bungled the “special vote”.

If they made such a mess of that small process involving less than seventy thousand people, how were they going to cope with a general election of over 6 million registered voters? We should have made our leaders listen to the alarm bells but we did not, we trusted them.

Next came the utter absurdity of the voters’ roll. How could any party go into an election without having a copy of the voters’ roll? Right up to election day the MDC had not got a copy of the voters’ roll and so they went into the poll blind, not knowing how many dead people were on the roll; how many 100-year olds were still registered, how many names were duplicated or missing.

No one was happy about the unavailability of the voters’ roll but our leaders urged us to turn out in our millions to vote.

They said if millions voted it would reduce the chance of rigging. We all asked why 35 percent more ballot papers than voters had been printed but there were no answers and still we trusted our leaders.

As voting day dawned everyone who could, turned out and joined the queues.

It was only when they got to the front of the queues that people began to see how critical that voters’ roll was and what a terrible mistake the MDC had made by going to the poll without seeing and inspecting it.

Without the voters’ roll the MDC had not identified one of the crucial elements that would lead to their downfall: people’s wards had been changed.

Countless thousands of voters found their names had been changed to different wards.

How many hundreds of thousands were disenfranchised because of their missing names and the ward juggling?

Then ask yourself who were all the people that made for the “massive turnout”.

Did they live in those constituencies or had they come from elsewhere to swell the numbers? Was this actually anything near a “massive turnout?”

Everything was wrong about the election, we all knew it and yet we allowed our hearts to rule our heads and took part anyway.

This is a bitter lesson for Zimbabwe but one long overdue in the learning:  we must find our voices, and our common sense.

Comments (17)

but i thought the ordinary people voted for ZANU PF unless they should think like you. sorry the ordinary people voted for the best party and it happens to be ZANU PF

pop - 7 August 2013

I fully agree with you that we are also to blame because we legitimised and sanitised the fraudulent elections through our blind participation. How can we participate in an election where we have not been to inspect the voters' roll? The MDC leadership is really culpable in that they rushed into an election without having had access to the most important document in an election. ZANU (PF) should, however, be magnanimous in victory and co-opt key members of the MDC (T) in their government in order to give it a semblance of legitimacy. MRT should, ideally, be appointed to the post of 1st Vice President with Tendai Biti retaining the Finance portfolio while Nelson Chamisa will be in charge of Information, Broadcasting and Publicity. Ian Makone can be appointed Minister of Industry & Commerce

Chief Philip Charumbira - 7 August 2013

I fully agree with you that we are also to blame because we legitimised and sanitised the fraudulent elections through our blind participation. How can we participate in an election where we have not been to inspect the voters' roll? The MDC leadership is really culpable in that they rushed into an election without having had access to the most important document in an election. ZANU (PF) should, however, be magnanimous in victory and co-opt key members of the MDC (T) in their government in order to give it a semblance of legitimacy. MRT should, ideally, be appointed to the post of 1st Vice President with Tendai Biti retaining the Finance portfolio while Nelson Chamisa will be in charge of Information, Broadcasting and Publicity. Ian Makone can be appointed Minister of Industry & Commerce

Chief Philip Charumbira - 7 August 2013

Perhaps you guys are also to blame! Remember this article? http://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2013/05/17/mugabe-biggest-beneficiary-of-gpa

june bug - 7 August 2013

cathy buckle ,why don"t you write about the queen and leave zimbabwe alone. How old is the queen of england and how long has she presided over england without being elected.how old is shimon peres and his reign in israel

joseph dube - 7 August 2013

dube shut your foul mouth when talking of the Queen that culture is something you will never understand or see. Like it has been told, you are 1000 years behind civilised countries.

Peter Macklyn - 7 August 2013

Peter Macklyn giving out his true colours. We are 1000 years behind their civilization. Do I hear racists?

muvengwa munondivengerei - 7 August 2013

How many people were turned away in 2008. No one bothered to check coz MDC won.

nigel Munach - 7 August 2013

Many people writing to you are actually brainless and defeat intelligent discussion from going on. Why not rank these according to what they contribute so that some of us read articles from the likes of Cathy Buckle than read some contributions from some mbanje smoking retard!!!!

Achimwene "the Alien" - 7 August 2013

I totally disagree with , if those that voted for MDC would not have participated then those that ZANU PF would still have won. We must blame the leader of cause, If a team underperforms we fire the coach , he doesnt have direction. Its high time for Tsvangirai to pass on the batton, because no miracle will happen in 2018 again.

NGEKE - 8 August 2013

We are not regretting having voted Mugabe back into power. It was a race tightly contested we have to accept that. MDC has failed to come up with reforms that would give them an upper hand to win the elections. They lost contact with the masses when they were incorporated into the so called unity gvt. The masses are defenseless and needed reassurance unfortunately the MDC was leaderless. Where in the world has the tail dragged its head, the head should always carry out its duty. Mugabe held only 10 rallies across the country but managed to mobilise millions of voters to rallies and also to the polls.

Tendai - 8 August 2013

you are right. why vanhu vachitya kudai. can you believe the number of people who were assisted with regards to the highest literate rate in Africa. Change haidi kutya

robinsen - 8 August 2013

Its not yet too late people we can still fight. If we don't fight now come a few months down the line we will be crying badly and we will have no one to rescue us since the illegal government would have been legalized. All this is happening in our eyes and don't forget we will cry very soon as Zanu doesn't have respect for anyone except themselves. Zimbabweans are known the world over for being the best educated and yet we have reduced ourselves to the world as being the most stupid. Sorry but this is the reality. Mugabe is simply waiting for his government to be legalized and afterwards he will trounce badly on us; ignoring every promise he made. When we wake up and cry it will be too late the devil would have found its roots and any uprising will be taken as an uprising against a legal government and yet if we are to stage an uprising now many will stand on our side as the government is illegal and the wishes of the people have been stolen. My dear brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents, this is the right time to wake up and reclaim our identity.

Elijah - 8 August 2013

there is someone somewhere who need to do corrections

wenzira wenzara - 8 August 2013

Democracy is the supression of the minority by the majority. The ordinary citizens did not participate in Tsvangson bed hopping. Please leave ordinary citizens alone. Tsvangson akati havana maunderwear. leave them alone

crocodile squad - 8 August 2013

The truth is all the allegations of vote rigging are hearsay street gossips,do anyone here have evidence of how many people were assisted to vote?how many who were turned away at a polling station and then completely failed to get the correct station to vote?lts a shame that a political party such as MDCT and the so called civilised nations such as USA,the littleBOTSWANA and EU who were never here to witness the elections are relaying on GOSSIP that the elections were rigged.Please stop these utterances and know that there is always a winner and a looser.What is it that these people want from us?and l am sure its not love,your guese is as good as mine.

sekemutema - 9 August 2013

How can you blame people who overwhelmingly voted for ZANU PF... I have never met so many cry babies in my life... Can we just move on and get to sorting this country out. I hear people complaining about 200,000 assisted voters. What is that as a percentage of the 3.5 million people who voted? Mental arithmetic tells me that that is close to 5%. So 96% of the literate Zimbabweans did not need assistance, while 4-5% did... That seems to tie into our stats on literacy in the country dont you think? What is sad to see is that someone who wanted to be president of this country is showing such a lack of grace and dignity in his defeat... Mr Tsangirayi, you have been president of the MDC for too long!!! And you cost your party this election... I hope we can get a more credible and local oposition to balance our polical playing field. Zimbabweans are not fools Ms Buckle, and the people are not to blame... Very shallow opinion article.

Bhola - 14 August 2013

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