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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • MDC election dossier: How to make it effective
    Ben Semwayo
    November 02, 2013

    Still reeling from its highly controversial election defeat at the hands of crafty Zanu-PF, the MDC-T announced that it has been working behind the scenes to compile a convincing dossier of the way the rigging was done. From the preliminary reports made shortly after the elections, it was arguably the most bizarre form of election fraud the world has ever witnessed.

    To most Zimbabweans the idea of the dossier is a welcome development as it gives the masses a chance to claw back the victory that was clearly theirs before Zanu-PF’s brutal scheme was put into operation to rob the nation of their inalienable right to put in place a government of their choice. That the MDC-T was destined for a resounding victory was plain to see as its support burst at the seams, evidenced by the expansive seas of red seen at its rallies. Walking to an MDC rally was like dicing with your life, timidly tip-toeing across a minefield, because you risked incurring the wrath of marauding Zanu-PF militias itching to decimate the MDC.

    The MDC must be under no illusion that, armed with an elaborate, painstakingly produced document, it will be an easy task to knock Zanu-PF off the perch. Zanu-PF’s talons have grown into the perch as it jealously guards and clings tenaciously to what it knows is stolen property. The MDC will have to move heaven and earth to yield any positives from its enormous efforts. The task is made all the more difficult because Zanu-PF was swift to secure a slew of high profile endorsements for its hollow victory, including one from the United Nations itself.

    In a move foreboding the unbridled anarchy that Africa must brace for, the SADC and the AU each gave their nod to Mugabe’s disputed win, and the SADC rubbed it in by electing him the vice-chairman of the regional block, with promises that within a year he would ascend to the all-important chair. With the precedent set by Mugabe, we might as well expect all the sitting presidents of Africa to follow in his footsteps.

    All these are hurdles that the MDC needs to surmount if it is to gain any dividends from its efforts. It needs to come up with a clear strategy of what to do in order to maximise the effectiveness of the dossier because it is one thing to produce an excellent, evidence-based dossier, and quite another to achieve the desired objective with it.

    The party obviously had its own ideas about how to utilise the dossier when it set out to compile it, but the following are some ideas that it can consider. To begin with, the party must consider this document crucial in rectifying the current anomalous situation where an illegitimate government is ruling the country. It must be sent to all the influential international players including the SADC, the AU, the EU, the USA, China and Russia. To underline the importance attached to it and the urgency of the matter, it must be hand-delivered by a party envoy, who must request a speedy response to it.

    The dossier must emphasise that what has been presented is irrefutable and widespread evidence of what actually transpired in the elections, for which reason the election cannot be regarded as free and fair. It must further be clear on what action the recipients are expected to take, whether it is calling for a UN investigation, or conducting fresh free and fair elections organised by the UN, and so on and so forth.

    To show its utter rejection of the current government, the MDC MPs currently in government must pull out, which is what they should have done from the beginning. They should choose to suffer with the rest of the Zimbabweans rather than feed from a tyrant’s hand like Moses who chose to suffer with the Israelites rather than enjoy the delicacies of Pharaoh. When the elections results were announced the MDC’s first reaction was that it would not participate in a fraudulently installed government system. That was the right thing to do, and if that had been done there would have been a stalemate and the UN would certainly not have congratulated Mugabe. Was it greed that made the MDC MPs renege on that promise? Or was it putting personal interests before national interests? It is not too late to change. Contrary to any ostensible argument in favour of their continued participation, they will not achieve anything, being only a third of parliament.

    The handing in of the dossier should be complemented by demonstrations and petitions by both the Diaspora and those at home. This will give it a national feel and not be interpreted as the feelings of a handful of people. Other political parties, NGOs and the civil society should be roped in to lend their support. If possible, major international newspapers should be given copies of the dossier and lobbied to give messages of support.

    The anticipated dossier can be a game-changer if used with wisdom. The MDC should leave no stone unturned in seeking ways of making it work and every patriotic Zimbabwean should co-operate to make the national dream come true.

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