Marvelous word that - hope not too many of you had to go to your
dictionaries to find out what it means! However I feel rather smug - I
a few days ago that the 15th May marks the start of our winter, and I
more than right for once. It has snowed all the way from the Western
Mpumalanga in the Transvaal. I was in Johannesburg over the weekend and
was well below freezing at night.
But our elections Directorate in the MDC also has just cause to
Last week when I was in Harare for three days they told me that they
estimated that Zanu PF would be able to garner up to 4 000 votes in the
bi-election taking place in one of the Harare province constituencies.
had come to this conclusion after a detailed study of the voter's roll
street surveys. They were just about spot on - Zanu registered about 3
However they also felt at the time that the poll was going to be low
the turnout at MDC rallies and the impact of a walk about done by the
President during the campaign. Some estimated a turn out as low as 8
they felt this might result in a poor outcome for the MDC as the MDC
was split by the current dispute. In the event they need not have
the MDC received nearly 10 000 votes, the Mutambara group 500.
I have seen some analysis that claims this was a poor outcome for the
In previous elections we had a majority of 13 000 in the same
But in the circumstances I think it was a good result - especially
we had been able to get the vote out in spite of the widespread belief
it was a waste of time. Parliament has little influence over events
right now. Those who tamper with the way our democracies work so as to
manipulate the vote to stay in power must recognise that they endanger
democracy throughout the continent by doing so.
All elections are an ambush for the opposition. The ruling Party here
controls the media, controls the voter's roll, dictates who may or may
vote and administers the whole process from the registration of
to the counting and disclosure of results. They engage in multiple
the use of false ballots where the vote is too close to call and they
physically stopped thousands from voting in the recent past. In fact
have used every trick in the book, plus a few others they invented.
For these reasons it is now widely accepted that the MDC in fact won
elections from 2000 to now. It is also accepted that the margins have
growing - this factor hidden from view by the extensive rigging of the
In the present case we know from the voters roll that there were many
voters on the roll, that about 4 000 names were dropped between 2005
today and that several thousand new voters were registered in recent
In any ambush, the only way to break out is by overwhelming strength
firepower. The people setting the ambush have every advantage,
site, position and anticipation and advance planning. Being in the
ground is not a pleasant experience, as anyone who has been there will
you. On this occasion we were able to break out and overcome the
Next time lets hope it will be the people who decide who is the target
This weekend was also the stage for the proposed marches by the
remember the victims of Murambatsvina. In the final event only one took
place; right here in Bulawayo where a small group of 500 brave souls
the streets accompanied by dozens of Policemen and marched from one
to another after a High Court Judge had set aside the Police order not
allow the march. In other towns I understand the Courts did not hear
applications, despite the urgency.
But as one of the local organizers said - this is a precedent and it
influence future activity of this nature - another small victory for
Today there is a special meeting in London between Thabo Mbeki and Tony
Blair. They are going to spend two days running through the decisions
last year in July when the G8, plus the leaders of China and India and
African Heads of State met in the UK to work out a plan for the
social and political recovery of Africa. I wish I could be a fly on the
wall. There is a new Foreign Secretary in the hot seat, Morgan is in
and I would be astonished if we are not on the agenda.
I would also be astonished if anything is said about us - I suspect
usual will take place - no public mention of the Zimbabwe crisis even
everyone knows this would have been discussed. But the meeting does
a very sensitive time for us - the Mbeki/Annan initiative has flopped.
Mugabe has dug his heels in and is simply refusing to retire under any
circumstances and there is growing alarm at the continued rapid decline
the Zimbabwe economy.
I saw just this weekend, a claim by a leading economist, that the
growth of the economies of the SADC would be nearly 11 per cent this
Zimbabwe were not going to pull it down. Even so, Zimbabwe is now
in ranking in the SADC compared to number 2 in 1980. Only tiny Lesotho,
Swaziland and desperately poor Malawi are below us in the ranking.
worry you three, we are doing our best to get below you and if nothing
done about us soon, we will be number 13 in the SADC rankings - bottom
the pile, astonishing!
Perhaps Zimbabwe will serve a purpose in all of this - at least we now
that Africa's problems will not be solved by more aid or even greater
to markets. Africa's problems are very largely self-inflicted and are
due to bad government and corrupt leadership than any other factors.
to resolving this is to return power to the people in the form of a
open, free and fair democracy with one-person one vote to all who live
work here and hold permanent citizenship. Then the people will be free
remove from power at all levels in our society the leaders who now
our countries and our future.
I hope this is being discussed, right now, over tea at Gleneagles.
Bulawayo, 23rd May 2006