July 31, 2013 felt like April 18,1980: Jonathan Moyo

BULAWAYO - Jonathan Moyo, minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, has likened last year’s July 31 harmonised elections to Zanu PF’s 1980 landslide victory that ended years of oppressive minority rule.

Zimbabwe’s longtime President Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the presidential vote on July 31, followed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with 33 percent, securing the 90-year-old in power for 34 years, another five-year term in office.

Mugabe’s party won 158 of the 210 parliament seats, giving it a two-thirds majority in the legislature that enables it to make amendments to the new constitution and existing laws, with Tsvangirai’s MDC party capturing 50 seats and two going to independent candidates.

“The result of the 31 July harmonised election presented an unprecedented emphatic victory,” Moyo told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday.

“Actually it’s interesting that even  the campaign for this election compared to other campaigns since 1985, was very different in substantive terms not only because of the regalia which was ubiquitous, but the spirit of it was very different.

“So different that it was reminiscent of the spirit of campaigning in 1980. Actually, we did say and we were able to say six months after — that indeed it felt like 1980.”

He added: “We said it before the results, before the election itself that the campaign feels like 1980 and we are able to say without fear of being contradicted on objective grounds that indeed it still feels that way, even six months after the results.”

Tsvangirai rejected the results as fraudulent and called for fresh elections, but African diplomats ruled that the poll, which ended an uneasy power sharing coalition, was largely fair.

“This means that after 15 years of serious divisions within and among ourselves and after the 2000 election which was very close, the 2005 where at least there was a two thirds majority and it was an unusable two thirds majority because it led to premature termination of its life in 2008 when it could have continued to 2010,” Moyo said.

“Then an inconclusive early election in 2008 which gave birth to an awkward but very useful inclusive government after this kind of contested politics often with narrow outcomes.”

He said the last election gave an absolute mandate just like the 1980 one did where an absolute mandate was deservedly ushered in after 15 years of protracted liberation struggle.

Although the minister could not go deeper into detail, he emphasised that “there are quite exciting similarities between the two.”

He said like what transpired 34 years ago, Zanu PF has to focus on uninterrupted nation building.

“When a government is given absolute mandate it has to govern, it can’t continue bickering and promoting bickering or exhibiting trappings of insecurity not sure which way to go,” Moyo said.

“The whole purpose of an absolute majority is to say you have spent all these years bickering, not attending to service delivery issues which at the end of the day are what matters to the electorate.”

Moyo said this is exactly like what happened in 1980 in terms of opportunities and challenges presented by the emphatic victory.

“We are in these political and policy terms that to 1980 we are in a period reminiscent to where big things are possible, where you can do big things that have a big impact to the society and where you are able to address real problems that are affecting society as opposed to preoccupation with self-preservation, afraid that there are some within your ranks whose motto is to grab power within the belly of the beast.”

Comments (2)

hayi Jona kawinanga lutho lundoda hanti wantshontsha lingakwenzi lokho uku mphakamisa ngamanga Wena Jona thatha isihlalo mina ngiyokuvota ngikhetha wena Jona abempumalanga sebehlulekile

Nqwa - 9 March 2014

the only difference is that jonathan moyo lost in tsholotsho and there was no nikuv around in 1980

rmunemo - 10 March 2014

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