The Death of Democracy in Zimbabwe
If nothing else, the Senate elections have clearly revealed the
elections in Zimbabwe as a means of changing those who have the
responsibility of government. We knew it before, but it has never been
clear to us as it is now.
The results were very revealing - if we adopt my hypothesis as spelled
in the last weekly letter, that Zanu PF held back in Bulawayo to give
MDC pro Senate faction some seats and that in those seats rigging was
minimal, then we get the following picture nationally. In the five
Senate seats the poll was 7,5 percent of the voters registered. Across
whole country 631 000 voters turned out, 3 per cent spoiled their votes
124 000 voted for the MDC candidates despite the boycott call by Morgan
Tsvangirai. This meant that 450 000 voters voted for Zanu PF. The total
being 19,48 percent of the voters registered in the contested seats.
Now if we assume that the Bulawayo vote (where the MDC pro Senate
strongest and has the best case for participation) is a reflection of
"true" vote, then this percentage poll estimated for the whole country
that some 388 000 votes were fabricated to ensure a Zanu PF
That is some 86 per cent of the Zanu vote and suggests that the true
for Zanu was only a miniscule 62 000 votes or less than two per cent of
number of registered voters.
This may be an extreme calculation but it suggests the magnitude of the
nonsense that goes on in an election here run by this collection of
masquerading as democrats. If we take just one seat - that for Chipinge
Chimanimani - here in an area where Zanu PF has not won a seat in 25
they polled 36 000 votes, some 22 per cent of the total number of
voters. In the last election that could be counted as reasonably run -
2000, Zanu lost both seats by huge margins. This is clearly simply not
possible. In fact I said to a friend who comes from the area jokingly -
you guys have woken up and voted Zanu PF at last", to which she replied
"come walk with me down the street of Chipinge and say that in public
you will be beaten to death!"
On the day that I went up to Harare last week, the headline in the
was "Mutare Mayor to be thrown out". If we ignore the state of national
elections and look at what has happened in local government elections
situation is equally shameful. In the last national local government
elections the MDC won comprehensively in 13 out of 15 urban councils.
victories were especially marked in the larger centers.
Since then we have seen the Mayor and entire Council forced out of
Harare, the Mayor of Chitungwiza suspended, the Mayor of Mutare thrown
of his office and now facing suspension and the Mayor of Chivu thrown
jail on spurious grounds. All other MDC Mayors face constant threats
their tenure and administration In the Rural District Council of Hwange
one of the few controlled by the MDC, the elected Chairman was hounded
of office and has now fled the area and is living in Harare.
Local government is already in a terrible state - lack of resources,
State not paying its bills, shortages of foreign currency for essential
imports and urban populations growing rapidly without any consequential
investment in water and sewerage. Our cities are a health time bomb. I
talked to the Mayor of Bulawayo the other day - a man who has done a
commendable job for the City. We discussed a private sector initiative
solve the cities water crisis - he concurred with the ideas but said
his biggest problem was that the Minister of Local Government would not
it because it would be seen as an MDC initiative. In the budget there
allocation for the new water supplies either for Harare or Bulawayo!
In the Presidential election in 2002, it was estimated by those with
to the data that some 800 000 votes were fabricated - we know who did
where and how it was done. Without these fabricated votes Morgan
would have won that election by 65 per cent to 35 per cent for Robert
and we would have been living under a MDC government right now. Instead
Mugabe claimed a massive victory over his rival and when this victory
taken to Court for an urgent hearing, it was simply sat on and today -
a half years later, has not been heard. In exasperation the legal team
representing Morgan has now appealed to the Supreme Court to do
about the refusal of the High Court to hear the case. It took the MDC
years to force the Registrar General to bring the election documents to
Harare for examination - a process which is only now under way.
The people no longer have any faith in elections - and what a tragedy
is for the country and for Africa at large. I can remember like
the enormous excitement in 1980 as millions went to vote to bring about
selection of leadership to take the country forward after years of war
isolation. I was on duty at a polling station and can recall the queues
ordinary people - the old, the young, the educated and the illiterate,
workers and millionaires all standing in line with a common cause. The
emotion of those for whom this was the first time to vote was plain for
to see and was deeply moving.
Now those same people say what is the point of voting - we vote and
steal the result, we vote and they beat us, we vote and they starve us
deny us access to jobs and schools. Who can forget those vivid pictures
the June 2000 election of hundreds of thousands of people lined up at
midnight demanding "we want to vote", the riot police using dogs and
gas to drive them away from the polling stations when it became clear
they could not all vote - Zanu PF wanted to close the vote down while
Who will not forget the stunned expressions on the faces of all when in
2002, the State radio announced the "result". Ordinary people
said, "We did not vote like that!" For me personally it took about six
months to pick myself off the floor of that election. What was just as
was to then watch the Zanu PF administration punish those districts
dared to vote against the monolith.
But if we cannot change our government or our Councils by voting, then
can we do to get change when we feel that those in power are not acting
our interests? Do we really have to start killing each other again to
change? Today as I write, the UN has a senior staff member here to
investigate our situation. I guess it is too much to ask that all he
insist that next time we vote - if we ever get there, we will have the
supervise the whole process so that we can vote for real change with
confidence that we will not be cheated yet again.
We were told for many decades that the struggle in places like Zimbabwe
for "one man one vote". Post independence history suggests otherwise.
However, this should not in any way detract from the fact that our
want to vote for the leaders of their own choice. To deny them that
mockery of everything the earlier generations of leaders in Africa
during the long road to democracy in Africa. No one knows that better
Bulawayo, 4th December 2005