The Senate Elections
The MDC will meet next week to agree on a position regarding the Senate
elections now due for the 26th November 2005. We have been debating
some weeks since the Parliament voted to adopt the required
amendments to bring the Senate back into existence.
Many have thought that we were dithering - but in fact we are a genuine
democratic movement and what we have been doing is debating the issue
vigorously amongst ourselves. Our leadership is divided on the issue -
who live in areas where we can win seats, want to run, others are
fall into the latter category. I have been opposed to fighting the
seats since the debate was initiated at a National Executive meeting
This is another tough decision for the MDC - we are after all, the only
democrats in Zimbabwe and fighting elections is the reason for our
existence. In addition this represents democratic space and it is
that we should be moving into this space even if we were opposed to the
creation of the Senate in the first place.
I will be away for the National Council meeting at which this decision
be taken and of course will fully support any decision taken - but I
feel we should boycott the election and urge all Zimbabweans to simply
away from the polls. My reasons for thinking this way is as follows: -
1. We have steadfastly apposed the piecemeal reform of
national constitution. We apposed this amendment from the start - we
now go into the contest to try and obtain Senate seats for MDC
2. The formation of the Senate and this election
irrelevant to the resolution of the political and economic crisis that
faces the country.
3. The Ministry of Finance has asked for Z$250 billion
fund the election and to run the Senate for the remaining two months of
2005. This at a time when inflation and government spending is
of control and the State is unable to meet the essential needs of our
4. The Senate creates yet another level of Government
already cumbersome and top-heavy system. It does nothing to improve
decision-making or to reduce expenditure - in fact it makes matters
5. All decisions will continue to be made by a small
coterie of old men around Mugabe and the Senate will simply be a refuge
6. The real priorities of the country are to provide
fuel, jobs, better health and education services and the full
all our economic, political and human rights.
Instead of this Senate election we should be demanding that: -
a) Zanu PF accepts that they have failed the country, that they
solutions to our crisis and cannot meet our needs as a nation.
b) Instead of elections for a useless Senate, we should demand that
comes to the table for national talks to resolve how we are going to
overcome our real problems and to agree on a totally new Constitutional
basis for the future.
Aside from the above arguments lets look at the conditions under which
so called election will be held.
They have already carefully manipulated the boundaries of all Senate
minimizing the influence of the urban population and ensuring control
the outcome in the majority of seats.
They have disenfranchised hundred of thousands of existing voters
the constitutional amendments adopted at the same time as the creation
the Senate. They have also removed up to a quarter of the urban
under the guise of "Murambatsvina" and dumped them in the rural areas
they are totally dependent on the State for survival.
All the mechanisms used to defraud the electorate in previous elections
the manipulated voters roll with millions of dead and missing voters,
control of the whole process by military and security agencies and the
politically aligned Registrar Generals Office, are still in place.
The restrictions on the media, the control of all State media and the
majority of the private media are tighter than ever. The propaganda
is in full swing and will be used to campaign against all opposition.
addition there is total control over all political activity on the
including rallies, meetings, demonstrations and any other normal forms
freedom of expression.
There is very little food in the country and what is available is
controlled by the State and the security apparatus. This includes
control of the Grain Marketing Board. Food will be used as a political
weapon and following "Murambatsvina" there can be few communities who
now believe that any group voting against Zanu PF will be subjected to
penalties, even starvation and the destruction of their homes and
livelihood. Is it appreciated outside Zimbabwe that the destruction of
urban homes and small businesses is continuing unabated?
Under these circumstances to ask the MDC support base to come out and
campaign, to be beaten and identified for post election retribution and
all that has been done, to have the election stolen from them again, is
too much. We need to say to Zanu PF as a Nation that enough is enough -
are tired of your games. Come to the table and talk to all of us about
we want to be governed in the future and what we need to do to start a
recovery in our economy. We will no longer dance to your tune.
The world knows, as does Zanu PF, that in any free and fair election
conducted under normal democratic rules, that the MDC would win nearly
seats in any election. Frankly I cannot see Zanu being safe in any part
the country. To go through what is an expensive and elaborate electoral
farce just to
be humiliated and then fail to resolve any of the real problems we
just not an option. We have more important work to do - like preparing
post Zanu PF future that must surely be just around the corner.
Bulawayo, 8th October 2005