ED's rhetoric deceptive

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “new dispensation” rhetoric in Zimbabwe has been exposed as just a small public relations stunt to sanitise the 2018 post-military intervention harmonised elections, which have been subjected to a rigging plot.

Do not even imagine me throwing another bogeyman story into your crib.

With elections less than two weeks away, an elaborate plan to rig them has scandalously tumbled out of Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s chest of secrets, which belies the make-believe democracy which some have prematurely proclaimed in the country.

After rising to power through a military intervention in November 2017, the new dispensation does not seem to be moving towards staging a free, fair and credible election.

Apart from token verbal reforms meant to be a PR stunt for the regime’s most deceptive election games ever, there is little else to believe Harare’s “showman” reform process.

What is unmistakable is that Zimbabwe is faced with a Zanu PF that is pretty much as the old one with the so-called new leadership now determined to hold onto it through wholesale rigging of the polls.

The façade of democracy which is garbed in the language of reforms and “Zimbabwe is open for business” is a hoax for the preservation of an unrepentant system of national suppression.

This system will reveal its colours, as soon as election results have been rigged in its favour.

The message has already been heard that rural areas will face some kind of retributive campaign after the elections.

Because this is all a fake democracy, ED did not see any reason to institute serious reforms beyond what has been necessary to sanitise the rigged election.
Zec is keen, obliged and desperate to tweak the vote in favour of the ruling establishment.

Whatever the excuse given for the deployment of soldiers in civilian spheres such as rallies, the truth is that Zimbabwe has become militarised after the November military operation.

SMS-gate has shown that the Zec, or some of its staff — five percent are linked to the security establishment as former personnel — might have leaked contact details of registered voters from the voters’ roll to the ruling Zanu PF.

As a result, a number claiming to be of the president has been canvassing votes through SMS on people’s mobile phones, a privilege which the opposition parties do not have.

Private media has reported that independent analysis of the new voters’ roll by experts has unearthed a potential 250 000 ghost voters, including a 141-year-old voter.

Zec has had to be literally forced to give opposition parties the voters’ roll.

Most foreign election observers, who were desperately welcomed by Zimbabweans, have been quiet, probably taken in by the impressive game of deception currently underway.

The immediate concern to most of them, including previously progressive Western embassies, is not genuine democracy now but box-ticking, even where the box is mere rhetoric.

The so-called peaceful environment in 2018 cannot be credited to the junta because, granted Mugabe was a poster dictator, but even the 2013 elections still were relatively less bloody, although thoroughly rigged.

It is no longer about blood on the floor, but casting and counting the votes properly.

Yet intimidation has been rife in rural areas, with some cases of violence in both urban and rural areas. The most unfortunate drama is centred on Zec, which it is its constitutional responsibility to run a free, fair and credible election.

With pressure from opposition parties mounting over transparency in the election process Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba has taken an increasingly uncompromising, dismissive and strange demeanour.

Zec claims not to know who leaked people’s phone contacts and who authorised the shambolic postal voting by members of the security forces: so who is running the election?

For everyone in Zimbabwe this cold July, the “new deception” is visible — yes, it is in their eyes, their actions, their words and their body language. It is heavy in the air, icy air.

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