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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Cross admits costly errors lost the MDC-T elections
    Tichaona Sibanda, SW Radio Africa
    September 15, 2013

    A leading figure in the MDC-T has admitted they may have handed Zanu-PF victory on a silver platter in the July 31st elections after they ‘totally underestimated the impact of the strategies’ Zanu-PF got from the Chinese Communist Party and the Israeli firm Nikuv.

    Writing on his website Eddie Cross, the MP for Bulawayo South and the policy coordinator of the party, provides a harsh account of the MDC-T’s tenure in the inclusive government and highlights some of its major failures over five years.

    From the outset Cross, in a self critical paper titled, ‘What did we get wrong?’ recognizes and acknowledges that the Morgan Tsvangirai led party did have the final option to veto many of Zanu-PF’s transgressions but never used it and in the end ‘we paid the price.’

    ‘We totally underestimated the impact of the strategies being proposed by the advisors to Zanu-PF who were principally the Chinese Communist Party and the Israeli firm Nikuv.

    ‘We were well aware of these strategies and had analysed them and knew full well what was going on,’ explained Cross.

    He added: ‘But we thought that the ground swell of support for the MDC and the failure of Zanu-PF in the economy and the social services, plus the genocide of Gukurahundi and the savage campaigns on the farms and in the cities through the Murambatsvina campaign, would never allow the ordinary voter to give their votes to Zanu-PF when it came to voting in the elections.’

    The MP admits that the party was wrong and completely underestimated the residual influence of three decades of politically motivated violence against ordinary and marginalized rural and peri-urban communities.

    ‘People voted for self preservation and out of fear of collective and retributive punishment. We knew that Zanu-PF was settling tens of thousands of homeless families on plots of land on peri-urban farms that had been taken from their owners in the decade since 2000.

    ‘We knew that these communities had no security and were totally under the control and direction of Zanu-PF. We just underestimated their capacity to convert this subtle form of coercion into votes in the polling stations – a study of the vote shows that this explains many of the victories of Zanu-PF in the peri-urban areas,’ he said.

    Sox Chikohwero, the chairperson of the Global Zimbabwe Forum, commended Cross for admitting the party made fateful errors and judgements of walking into an election ‘blindfolded.’

    Chikohwero told SW Radio Africa’s weekly program Speak Out Padare that the MDC-T must wake up from its slumber and correct its mistakes and explain how they got everything wrong.

    ‘Instead of being defensive, the MDC must admit they made fundamental blunders that should be blamed squarely on the leadership and their advisors. It’s either the leadership chose not to listen to its advisors or the advisors led them along a path littered with landmines,’ Chikohwero said.

    The former head of the MDC-T intelligence department said party officials should desist from insisting the elections were stolen without offering solutions to the crisis created by the electorate defeat.

    ‘Everyone, including all in Zanu-PF, are aware the elections were manipulated to hand Robert Mugabe victory, but what did the MDC-T do whilst in government to prevent that from happening.

    ‘They did absolutely nothing, I think the political misfortunes of the party can be traced back to the day they joined the inclusive government when Mugabe handed himself the all important ministries which the MDC failed to reverse,’ he added.

    Chikohwero urged all opposition parties in the country to push for democratic reforms, saying unless the electoral system is scrutinized and changed, efforts to unseat Zanu-PF will be a herculean task.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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