Wily Mugabe refuses to change his spots

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

…as ZANU-PF leader arrests MDC people

It would seem old habits refuse to go if one takes into account this week’s arrest of officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, including celebrated human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. This was hardly 24-hours after the referendum on a new constitution whose low voter turn-out left a lot to be desired.

I think it is unfortunate

Less than half of the registered voters saw no use in voting

More than half of the registered voters saw no use in voting

for Zimbabwe to note that the general public seem to have lost confidence in the politics of representation through our political parties, elected members of parliament and government.

This is evidenced by the low turnout in the recent referendum whereby out of 5 million or more registered voters, only 2 million are said to have bothered themselves into going to vote. The rest of the people, who account for more than half of those registered simply did not see the need to hustle themselves to be part of what politicians call a historic moment in our country. Sadly, our politicians seem to be happy with the results of a landslide YES victory without considering what may have hindered the majority of the nation to be part of a historic moment. The idea of winning and celebrating victory is good but there remains a question of what happened to the numbers that have been followers of democracy voice in the past, this time around with an additional ZANU-PF power-base which also voted yes.

Losing confidence – A low turnout

One of the reasons why people are losing confidence in our politics is the feeling that politicians are in it for themselves.  Recent reports say that government ministers awarded themselves over USD 200 000 bonuses for their work. This does not send a good image to the country especially after the GNU where mixed messages and deals seem to be the order of the day. Maybe MDC Ministers will reject these bonuses? But then some observers say MDC leaders have become too comfortable in government, forgetting that their presence in government was meant to create an environment conducive for credible, free and fair elections.

Foreign Observers – The Americans

The United States of America Facebook page recently congratulated Zimbabweans for their peaceful behavior in the recent elections, which they seemed to call a sign of progress. In the same message, they told us on how they were being part of the observers mission, contrary to what ZANU-PF has been accused of, banning foreign observes: How interesting.

Old town, old habits

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC led by PM Tsvangirai described the referendum as the most important thing he has done in his life apart from being a parent. He later complained that the referendum was marred by high levels of intimidation against members of his party, something that comes across to me as a puzzle considering the fact that all big parties were voting yes. Maybe there is a third party to political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe because there is no logic why ZANU-PF, which has always been the main suspect in committing violence would go out and intimidate people that are meant to vote for their cause.

The referendum has also exposed a great deal of confused messages as far as media reporting is concerned. Reading a copy of an online publication of stories selected from different local and outside media houses, the Zimbabwe Situation on Sunday March 17, one is left with a feeling that the voting process was far from being free and fair. The publication reported stories ranging from people not being allowed to vote while others were being forced to vote, lack of attention from SADC observers and muzzling of the media among other stories. On the other hand, there seem to be a consensus that this milestone vote was largely peaceful and credible. The truth is hard to find.

The new talk in town

The excitement of victory for the YES win is doing rounds on social media. Already, everyone is asking whether national elections, just like the referendum would be peaceful and whether political parties will strike similar deals as they did with referendum disputes. There seem to be optimism from the SADC countries that Zimbabweans will reach an agreement on how to conduct free and fair elections as they see no reason why not given their recent observations that the facilitation meetings are mostly dominated by confidence from parties involved. ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC speak with one voice at joint meetings with SADC facilitators indicating that the situation has improved and everything is progressing smoothly. But, the MDC groups complain of an uneven playing field and escalation of political violence in separate meetings. Maybe our only worry now is for politicians find ways of minimizing voter apathy by conducting themselves in a more credible manner that encourages people to be part of politics of the day.

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