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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
new spring in his step, is it deserved
Matsheza, Radio Netherlands
August 06, 2013
harmonized elections are out, and incumbent president Robert
Mugabe has been declared the winner amid allegations of irregularities
and rigging from the opposition. Our blogger gives his take.
story goes that 61 per cent of Zimbabwe’s legitimate voters
re-elected a nonagenarian to lead the country for another five years.
Mugabe’s competitor, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, got 34
per cent. In the legislative vote, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party
won 160 seats in the lower house against 49 for the MDC-T. This
effectively gives Zanu-PF the ability to amend the nation’s
whenever they wish.
The African Union and
SADC endorsed this outcome, and the South African, Tanzanian, Namibia
and Kenyan presidents have already sent their congratulations to
the liberation war leader. They all say that this has been a free
and fair election.
Shocked, perplexed, flabbergasted
am just getting past the initial shock. I can't really say I wasn't
expecting Zanu-PF to pull off such a gambit. I know Mugabe’s
wily ways and witnessed his confidence at the surprise press conference
on the eve of the election when he vowed to step down if he lost.
The win is too resounding unbelievable to the point of absurdity.
Everyone I know is thunderstruck. Many people are expressing the
fear that we’re returning to the economic and political
instability of 2008.
Do the Zimbabwean people really want to be led by the same cabal
of people that have taken them down hell’s catacombs and back
over the last three decades? In a country with a large percentage
of young people who have never known any other president except
the ailing guy about to turn 90, perhaps it makes sense that they
want to give him another term. If you’ve never known anything
else during your life, why change now? The Zimbabwean people must
have the memory of a goldfish: they forgot the horrific and surreal
ordeal of food shortages and violence that they were subjected to
under this very same party. Why else would they vote them back in?
Preponderance of incumbency
My problem is not with
a Zanu-PF win. Democracy is as much about losing as it is about
winning. But this is an example of what has been called the preponderance
of incumbency. Incumbents rarely lose elections. After all, how
can your team lose when you control the referee? Many Zimbabweans
that I spoke to while producing RNW’s My Vote Zimbabwe format
already expressed scepticism about the electoral system. But now
this fracas of this election has seemingly killed the remaining
flickers of hope that existed before July 31. Mugabe has finally
achieved his lifelong dream of a one-party state where elections
are but window-dressing.
and fair elections
I only have as proof
the experiences recounted to me by friends and family who were forced
to pretend to be illiterate. All I can discern is the hopelessness
and futility that settles when it dawns on people that indeed their
votes are worthless tokens. Even if tangible evidence of election
fraud are found, it would only be subject to the biased scrutiny
of Mugabe’s cherry-picked judicial bench.
What I do care about
is what this election means for the legitimacy of African elections,
and the faith that our people place in the electoral system. If
Mugabe had won the election fair and square, then we could say the
will of the Zimbabwean people was respected. But such an election
would require no alleged shady dealings by Nikuv International Projects
(NIP), no denying of access to the voter’s roll to other parties
until the actual election day, no two million extra ballot papers,
and no people being bussed from polling station to polling station…
At the moment, the taste of this outcome sits sourly on Zimbabweans’
tongues, both winner and loser alike.
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