Its not over till its over

HARARE - “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

This quotation from 2 Timothy 4 verses 7 aptly describes the peaceful and democratic fight that the people of Zimbabwe have embarked upon to extricate themselves from the clutches of a deeply-entrenched dictatorship.

On July 31, 2013 the gallant and peace-loving people of Zimbabwe were not defeated. No. They were not.

They are winners. They won the fight but they didn’t get the victory that they rightly deserved.

It is a harvest of fear. A manifestation of a dictatorship gone awry. An empty expression of political dominance.

An election should be a legitimate, free and fair expression of the people’s will in choosing who should govern them.

Once the people are subtly denied their democratic and constitutional right to choose the people who should govern them, then, unfortunately, we have a lopsided and warped version of democracy.

A version of democracy where the real will of the majority of the people counts for absolutely nothing.

As long as the people are denied their right to freely cast their ballot, then democracy is trivialised and as such, there would be virtually no  purpose in going through the motions of an election.

It would be a monumental fraud. A complete and unadulterated denial of the people popular will.

When the State becomes a Frankenstein monster that uses every trick in the book to ensure that the people’s legitimate will and choice is morbidly short-changed, then there is really no reason for regularly holding elections.

The State is a powerful institution whereas the people are just but a defenceless but well-meaning group of patriotic individuals.

It is a hopeless mismatch to pit the might of the State against the will of defenceless and poor citizens. In such an unfair contest, the State always and invariably wins.

This is what precisely happened in Zimbabwe on July 31, 2013.

This was a David and Goliath battle.

Goliath was the State and David was the people. Unfortunately, Goliath proved to be invincible this time around and unlike the Biblical David, the people were caught flat-footed and they were dealt a deadly and massive sucker punch.

It is unthinkable that thousands of literate men and women, someone of them school teachers and  qualified artisans, would queue at polling stations and claim to be unable to read and write and therefore, in need of assistance in casting their vote.

It is equally ridiculous to find thousands of young boys and girls clad in brand, spanking new police uniform, most of them barely out of their teens, patiently queuing outside Alexandra Park Primary School in suburban Harare, claiming to be registered voters holding the so-called voter registration slips!

It is a travesty of democracy when more than 21 000 people are reported to have voted for a particular political party in a very sparsely populated rural outpost somewhere in Mire Constituency in Mashonaland Central Province.

When an election is rigged in such a blatant and flagrant manner, then one may ask, what is the whole purpose of holding elections when the people’s will never be respected, anyway?

That is the major challenge of July 31, 2013.

On that fateful day, the people’s will was hijacked and trashed.

When some shadowy company called Nikuv makes sure that the national voters’ roll remains a closely guarded secret, then you know that you can never hold a free and fair election that will past the test of legitimacy.

When the State pours millions of dollars into making sure that the voters’ roll is manipulated and faked, then you can completely forget about democracy and good governance.

This is the tragedy of our beloved motherland. A ruthless and power-crazed State apparatus versus defenceless, peace-loving citizens! 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) became a bystander as the hawks in the State machinery literally took over the whole electoral process.

Otherwise decent and well-meaning professionals were reduced to mere spectators as the battle for control of the State took centre stage.

Little wonder that at least two commissioners in Zec saw it fit to tender their resignations as it became apparent that some other force was now running elections in our beloved motherland.

I was the chief election agent of a Presidential candidate and I was literally camped at the national command centre at the Harare International Conference Centre as the shenanigans were taking place right before our own eyes.

Even in my capacity as a chief election agent, as late as Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at around 17:30 hours, I still couldn’t lay my hands on the  national voters’ roll when I dashed to collect the same at the Registrar-General’s Office in downtown Harare. Such was the charade that took place during the just-ended harmonised elections.

I knew, even before the first ballot was cast on July 31, 2013, that the election was never going to pass the test of legitimacy.

I remember meeting the Registrar-General of Voters at his offices on July 30, 2013 and pleading with him to furnish me with an electronic version of the voters’ roll.

I distinctly remember the forlorn look on the Registrar-General of Voters’ face as he asked me whether I had brought a 30 tonne truck in which to load the manual version of the national voters’ roll.

I clearly remember advising him that all I wanted was the electronic version of the voters’ roll.

Such was the confusion that preceded the holding of the harmonised elections on July 31, 2013.

Nikuv and its paymasters had done their homework thoroughly. They knew that they were heading towards a landslide “victory”.

Little wonder, therefore, that just a few days before July 31, 2013 several High Court judges were hurriedly sworn into office.

The stage had been long set for a landslide “victory”. If only some of us had been more strategic and careful in our planning.

We should have flatly refused to participate in a farce that was disguised as an election.

July 31, 2013 is clearly a stolen “victory”. It is neither legitimate nor democratic.

The fact that Sadc have endorsed the “result” is neither here nor there.

It is up to us as Zimbabweans to take a long, hard look at ourselves and ask ourselves some very tough questions. Whither to the beloved motherland? Whither to the people will?

Is this what the majority of the people actually voted for? Where did we get it so hopelessly wrong? What is the way forward?

Why are the majority of the people so sad, so depressed, so despondent? Will this battered economy ever recover?

The battle is far from being over. Indeed, this is just but the end of the beginning. Let them govern. One day, very soon, the people will shall be honoured and respected.

Obert Gutu is the MDC Harare provincial spokesperson. He is also an international corporate legal consultant.

Comments (6)

Very sharp and incisive discourses but lessons should be drawn to employ later . ZEC by remaining mute when dogs of war usurped its roles exposed itself as an accomplice of the Devil . A cardinal blunder never to be condoned and repeated in future is the use of voter regislation slips . These were abused left , right and centre. These were used to steal the votes in Mbare , Epworth , Mt Pleasant etc . To make matters worse the voters took away the slips to use elsewhere. Voters must be in the computerised roll only . A push must be made for a biometric version of the roll . The time to start preparing for the 2018 plebiscite is TODAY AND NOW . Illiterate voters must NOT be assisted to vote because they can SEE their party symbols . The list is long but these are are some salient points that quickly jump to mind .

tribesman - 26 August 2013

Obert Gutu I think it is high time that you learn to say the truth rather than roll yourself into a wornout blanket. Firstly you must stop calling yourselves people of zimbabwe when actually reffering to mdct supporters. The number your party got is the correct of those who like it, and what ZANUPF got is correct of those who like it. All of the two parties have a plus or minus those who did not participate. So please stop fooling the world that your party have the majority support., and dont use the word people of zimbabwe as though the majority of us who voted for zanupf are not zimbabweans. Dont take your opinion to be what we think and like. That belief in your party of thinking that majority supports your party led you to believe in baba jukwa and you reaped exactly what you sore 33%. Stop hiding by the finger accusing us to be thieves of election. We voted for the party we want. Dont try to pliz yur leaders by talking nonsense becoz they gave u the mayoral post. After all we know yu a just going to fill ur pockets and give part of your loot to harvest house like all ur collegues did. PASI NEZVIMBWA SUNGATA!!!! TIRED!!

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 26 August 2013

@Takeiteasy- For someone who did not say anything I am surprised you say you are shudders to think what will happen to you when you actually say something..die perhaps?

gutter poet - 26 August 2013

@Takeiteasy Marcaves, may the good Lord have mercy on you. You may be entitled to your opinion, but move around the country and see how many people have actually celebrated your perceived victory as well as how many faces are smiling. All that flies will eventually have to land at some point.

tomasi tohwi - 27 August 2013

Tomasi Tohwi my friend, thanks for praying to the Almight to have mercy on me if that was in good faith. However I would like to ask you a question. How do you read someone's face expressions in relation to the elections? Some of the things you expected to see are nolonger practised. How many adults are you seeing these years running in the streets celebrating exmas or newyear days? But some years back we used not to go for bed until 0000hours on new year's eve. Remember my brother that if it was your party and president who won the elections you were just going to say they were free, fair and credible. But how would you feel after voting and your party has won then I tell you that you are a thief you stole my victory? Why dont you fellow zimbabweans in mdct not accept defeat? Since 2002 you have been singing this chorus of rigging disregarding the reality that every party had representatives on all polling stations, and at ZEC. Well surely all that flies shall land. If I am to land through my party's defeat then it will be a good landing because I shall respect the will of the majority and I will be part of them coz we are all zimbabweans.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 27 August 2013

@takeiteasy, your name says it all. you want people to believe your party won through stealing. you and your wicked masters should watch out cause your days are numbered

ATZ - 28 August 2013

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