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.