Never before, at any point in the history of this country, has the subject of elections haunted people’s minds as did the 2002 presidential elections.
The final week preceeding these elections was taken up by national debate during which the electorate was concerned over who would win.
What each one of the five candidates stood for had become universal knowledge.
However, victory by Zanu-PF over the MDC was certain. The ruling party had the strong advantage that it was a revolutionary Africanist party which fought the war of liberation.
Predictions about the Zanu-PF victory were not based on moral issues only, but also on the political experiences in Mozambique and Angola as well as other countries of the Sadc region.
The imperialist countries, however, only conceived their defeat as a temporary setback. Forces of imperialism soon sought re-entry into the liberated countries through the more insidious strategy of creating and establishing constellations of power in the form of client political parties. The experiences in Mozambique and Angola were, however, that the puppet parties were rejected at elections. The people of the sub-region have an awareness of the West’s strategy of perpetuating imperialist hegemony by using blacks as fronts.
The strategy is the revival of colonial domination by replacing white actors with black actors, making it easier to enter and control the geopolitics of the region. White liberals and black victims of imperialist nostalgia were recruited into the revival project for imperialism.
Taking advantage of the national decline in radical nationalism, following the leftist ideological thaw, the MDC party was formed to revive the ideals of conquest and domination.
In its formative stages, the MDC activists hid behind labour, as members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions ZCTU harassed the Government through the organisation of mass strikes. They also hid behind the constitutional reform movement. Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was the National Constitutional Assembly chairman during its inauguration. Mr Tendai Biti, Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai, and Professor Welshman Ncube were among the key figures of the NCA who subsequently became key figures in the MDC.
Apart from Mr Gwisai’s socialist rhetoric, the prevailing discourses emerging during and after the formation of the opposition party were leaning towards friendship with capitalism. The MDC was easily integrated into the imperialist system under the broad strategy of the West in which comprador parties are seeded in the local political systems.
Like the Renamo and Unita movements in Mozambique and Angola respectively, which were controlled by imperialists, the MDC set to use the electorate to implement in Zimbabwe, anti-African policies that resumed the dispossession and alienation of blacks. The party symbolised the tenacity and the relentless aspirations of the British in their quest for reviving white privileges in Zimbabwe.
The imperialist tactics used in Mozambique and Angola in the form of Renamo and Unita were being renovated for redeployment as democracy in Zimbabwe. Mr Tsvangirai completed the ill-conceived tripartite in the sub- region comprising himself, Alfonso Dhlakama and the late Jonas Savimbi. These represent the offals of our three nations.
As happened in Angola, Mozambique and later in Namibia, Zimbabweans emerged from racial oppression through a fierce blood-letting struggle. In return for the struggle, the blacks set to restore all that was lost. The return of stolen land, for instance, began in earnest. Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa completed the historical military struggle of their people through elections, making the institution of elections important as a political conflict resolution instrument.
The concept of elections and democracy are intrinsically associated. Holding elections, and participating in elections usually evokes notions of democracy. Democracy evokes notions about the rule of law. It is generally accepted that governments that ascend to power through popular elections are legitimate institutions that rule by the permission of the people. These governments have the mandate of the people. Mandate may include, among other things, agrarian reforms which may be popular at home and unacceptable elsewhere.
By its very character and origin, imperialism is not a local persuasion and, on the whole, inherently contradictory to local views on the accumulation of wealth. For Zimbabwe, cultural, economic and political development policies of the Government have a national character and inexorably anti-imperialist. Elections as vehicles to State power and its legitimation have become the sine qua non of reactionary interests in the geopolitical system of Zimbabwe.
Through the MDC as a comprador party, the British government of Tony Blair hoped to institute imperialist policies using the local electoral system. Another dimension of elections and also by association of democracy, is revealed in the institution’s susceptibility to political and ideological intrigues of foreign elements. The 2002 presidential elections were for imperialism the finest opportunity for retrograde voting by the Zimbabwean electorate. It was to be in the history of Zimbabwe a period of the “legitimate return” to the ideas of colonialism.
The Zimbabwean electorate as a reasoning public rejected the MDC in the same way their counterparts in Mozambique and Angola rejected Renamo and Unita. Renamo could not be rewarded for waging the most barbarous war on the African continent, destroying lives, property and infrastructure on which the Mozambicans socially and economically depended for their livelihood.
The Angolans did not vote for Savimbi to reward him for destroying the country. The sophisticated British propaganda machine at the MDC service attempted in vain both within Zimbabwe and on the international scene to poach the true meaning of the liberation struggle and reconstruct the old ideologies of the white man. Mr Tsvangirai could not be rewarded for betraying the nation.
Despite the presence of the Western narcissus in the local political arena, the MDC lost the elections.
The 2002 elections were important as a means of bringing about political communication between vested interests. The electorate has selected its leadership and more so participated in the resolution of the land problem by mandating Cde Robert Mugabe to pursue the programme as shown in the Zanu-PF election programme.
The Zanu-PF campaign theme during the elections was agrarian reform, with land reallocation as the strategy for achieving the theme. The MDC’s campaign theme was the reverse, and the reverse in all respects, as it sought to entrench in the electorate the false notion that whites in Zimbabwe and the West were indispensable for the economic empowerment of black Zimbabweans. The MDC strategy for achieving its ideas included segmentation of the electorate into ethnical entities and appeal to tribal sentiments and differences in language as the issue for an MDC vote.
The Matabeleland provinces and Chipinge constituency were believed to be MDC bantustans. The urban centres were viewed as semi- liberated zones during these divisive campaigns. This is again a critical aspect of the election process.Under the guise of democracy, elections can be one strategy to kill national unity which is pivotal in peace and development. Through ethnic divisions, the state of Somalia fell under.
Frenchman Jean Bodinas as early as 1576 described democracy as always the refuge of all disorderly spirits, rebels, traitors and outcasts who encourage and help the lower orders to ruin the great. Under the guise of democracy, imperialism is fighting to control the State of Zimbabwe by festering internal conflicts.
The peddling of false ethnical consciousness did not work in Matabeleland as the return of the seats to Zimbabwean nationalists has begun with the return of the Insiza constituency. The return of urban seats has also begun with the Chinhoyi mayoral victory. The electorate has recently debunked the MDC’s false segments.
For Zimbabwe, elections as a socio-political institution have lost their significance. It’s no longer the readily acceptable medium of communication between political parties and the electorate. It’s no longer the barometer of public views and interests. More so as it has remained a means of public participation in their own affairs, this participation is being entirely rejected as the courts are being obligated by the losers to subvert the electorate by nullifying their vote. The results of Zimbabwe’s elections are not moments of wide jubilation by the victorious majority and their candidates. They have become significant only for always being mass media stories about the loser’s resolve to take the issue to the High Court. Losers resent introspections of their parties and their relationship with the electorate and their own credibility as individuals.
Unable to win the elections fairly, the losers have constructed phantom claims about the electoral system in the country. As it is, these claims are only sets of misinformation intended to discredit the entire manner in which political power is gained. The defeated usually find solace in the false belief that elections were rigged. When will it be indisputable knowledge that elections can be won without any party rigging at all?
Voting is by adults who are conscious about the consequences of their electoral choices. Several factors influence voting choices. While campaign messages are influential, contesting candidates, their individual histories and those of their sponsors usually make the difference. The MDC has struggled to raise credible candidates in each election it participates in resulting in its adversaries winning seats ahead of the actual elections. Some candidates romp to victory easily because of their positions in the national memory with unpatriotic ideas hastening the defeat of others.
By simply ignoring the importance of context with the society in which they live, puppet parties have sought to evaluate local election processes using a clearly inappropriate medium of standard. A reactionary mindset that is Eurocentric has been instrumental in the evaluation notwithstanding that elections are physically in Zimbabwe and for mainly the black majority. Ignorance of context has led to weird claims about rigging. The levels of technological infrastructural, educational development and their limitations on public projects have been appropriated as vices for rigging.
Yet these limitations together with limitations in funding affects election processes such as the number and physical location of polling stations, the manpower logistics and the other important resources that can be made available for conducting elections. These limitations explain widely the problems faced during the actual voting such as long queues, low turn out, delays in counting and even delays in the arrival of ballot papers.
In Zimbabwe, Western imperialists have played an interventionist role to save their puppet party from electoral defeat. They directly finance the MDC. Unashamed of the copious bloody gift the recipient has squandered it the way boozers and revelers dispose of their earnings. The major expenditure was financing violence. Speaking at a campaign rally in Bikita, Morgan Tsvangirai in praise of violence boasted that he could bring in 20 000 youths to replace those arrested for violence a clear indication that imperialism is financing political violence in Zimbabwe as it did in Mozambique and Angola. Recently there has been more direct interference in Zimbabwe politics by the British when they sent High Commissioner Brian Donnely to buy MDC votes with maize in the Insiza Constituency.
Imperialist’ funds have also been used against the country’s electoral system through the financing of legal appeals against election results. The rural electorate have been the target for disenfranchisement. The Zimbabwean courts have been petitioned by the MDC to nullify almost every election won by Zanu PF. Although it is a legal right for individuals and groups to seek recourse from the law for wrongs done, using the courts to dispossess the rural electorate of its vote for selfish reasons is unfair. The battle lost in the rural constituency must not be revived in the metropolitan city where nothing resembles the rural constituency. If voters are adults, their choices have to be respected.