Behold the change that delivers violence

by Chigumbu Warikandwa

Foreign Observer mission from the African continent and from overseas are full of praises of the manner in which the elections management body in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) handled the Monday election.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Law, ZEC has a five day window within which to announce the outcome of such elections. Only 24 hours after the election, ZEC had started announcing the result which showed Zanu PF enjoying a comfortable lead. In two days, ZEC had delivered 207 of 210 expected outcomes of parliamentary election results.

The irony, which sprung yesterday, four days away from the expiry of the election results, and during the press conference where observer missions were delivering their congratulatory speeches and findings, the losing MDC Alliance sent a party of militiamen to force shops to close and force march people doing their legitimate business to a demonstration, purportedly to demand the announcement of the presidential vote. This is despite that the ZEC is still counting and collating the results and that they are still within the results delivery window period.

Not only was the MDC demonstration illegal, for its lack of police permission under the Public Order and Security Act provisions, it was also violent, leading to the loss of three innocent lives. The goons left a trail of destruction, torching cars and smashing buildings, disturbing the peace which had so far been associated with this election; the most peaceful Zimbabwe election since the birth of the country from colonial rule four decades ago. One wonders why the party, which has garnered a paltry 30 percent of the parliamentary vote expects to win the Presidential vote yet they are trailing dismally below their only and main rivalry.

The MDC has many enemies, which includes itself. The party has lost a number of constituencies after fielding double candidates in various constituencies, dividing the vote between themselves and ultimately failing to win such constituencies.  Among such constituencies are Goromonzi West and Bulawayo South. A house divided between itself cannot stand, says the bible. Luke Tamborinyoka left the spokespersonship for Chamisa to pursue the parliamentary bid for Goromonzi West. If a person in such a high office in the party joins a game of such open defiance, could anyone be tempted to claim that there is order in such a party?

The MDC’s second enemy is also internal. It is the MDC-T president, Thokozani Khupe who was booted out for standing her constitutional and moral ground as the legitimate leader of the party following the death of founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai on Valentine’s Day. This division has since seen both factions of the party going into the election, fielding parallel candidates in each constituency and the Presidential vote. That cost both sides of the warring factions, making them lose votes to each other and donating seats unnecessarily to their only meaningful opponent, Zanu PF. Thokozani Khupe’s faction went on to lose all contested seats at every level.

Thirdly, the enemy seeking MDC also has some subtle enmity with some of its seven member polygamous union which christened the part ‘Alliance”. Top among them are former members of the United MDC who returned to the mother party seeking lost political mojo. These are Tendai Biti of the People’s Democratic Party and Welshman Ncube of the Movement for Democratic Change-Ncube. Up to the day of election, and even today, Chamisa has not named a vice president of the Alliance nor his party. All eyes are wide open for the fight for that position. It is not a secret that influential members of the Alliance, namely Biti and Ncube want the vice presidency. Both of them cannot be stopped from fighting each other for this position. It is purely a marriage of convenience where the spouses sleep with sharp knives girded on their loins.

The competition for the coveted VP post in the MDC is also an internal headache and a hard bone of contention. Not less than five personalities in the National Standing Committee also feel they have a legitimate claim to the covetous office. Secretary General and National Chairperson Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi respectively are among the midnight contenders for the post. Elias Mudzuri, the one co-vice president left at the faltering party by Tsvangirai also has an unhidden fear for losing his position which he is clinging onto with shaky hands. And inside all these internal cold wars, Chamisa chooses to keep mum on whose name he will pick.

Chamisa has two other undeclared enemies, persons who never invited him to tango on enmity. These are President Mnangagwa and ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba. Chamisa wants war with all these people unprovoked. That is why his bullies targeted ZEC offices and Zanu PF headquarters. Thokozani Khupe was already beaten down together with being given clear death threats both in Bulawayo and Buhera. Scores of his adversaries from within and outside the party have suffered under Chamisa’s hand, for no other reason except that he wanted to get his way.

Now that the electorate has said no to giving Chamisa his ever-desired excesses, he has again taken his axe and sharpened it against the very people. While tucked in the comfort of his Glen Lorne home, Chamisa sends his proxies to force-march shopkeepers and vendors to join a demonstration which benefits them nothing. Wiser people ignore such rent-seeking characters.

Rough estimates of yesterday’s wanton destruction can run into millions of dollars. Private and public property was lost, so were precious and irrecoverable lives. Nothing is worth dying for in a democratic society, unless of course if one wants to overthrow democracy.