Grasping poll processes is key to democracy

05 Aug, 2018 - 00:08 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Dr Panganai Kahuni
Zimbabwe engaged and adopted a people-driven constitution-making process for all citizens to make its democracy inclusive and genuine.
Zimbabwe, as a democratic State, ensured that the general citizenry, including political parties, were properly informed on the importance of public involvement in the governance and democratic initiatives that impacted positively on the development of a sound Constitution.

In the Constitution, which was borne out of a people-driven process in which members of the MDC-Alliance and their supporters took part, lies the Electoral Act, which governs the electoral process, including the just-ended harmonised elections.

Sharoni Hofisi, in one of her legal letters published in The Herald of August 2, 2018, wrote: “One of the most important types of democracy which unite State functionaries and the general citizenry is Constitutional democracy. Here, a written Constitution is treated as the supreme law, while functionaries and citizens are its servants.”

It is important for everyone to observe and respect the electoral process as enshrined in the Constitution.

For the avoidance of doubt, the law is very clear on what legal actions an individual or political party takes in order to correct alleged irregularities in the administration of elections.

Sadly and shockingly, the MDC-Alliance and its urban Harare supporters unnecessarily decided to take the law into their own hands without following due legal process.

While peaceful demonstrations are allowed and legally covered by the Constitution, they cannot be undertaken using hearsay or social media information.

Notwithstanding the need for peaceful demonstrations, those peaceful demonstrations cannot be carried out before the electoral process is complete.

It must also be noted by every peace-loving Zimbabwean that hate speech and using intoxicated youths as tools for inciting violence are never aligned to the tenets of peaceful demonstrations.

What the world finds happening in Harare is an act of hooliganism perpetrated by people who can easily be characterised as uncivil.

The culture of violence is extremely ungodly, evil and satanic as it destroys innocent people’s properties and infringes on their rights to human security, peace and stability.

Harare is a city where the majority of MDC-Alliance voters are domiciled.

Reading from the election results in which the MDC-Alliance got 28 seats, it is unbelievable to understand why the MDC-Alliance could find it easy to unleash its supporters to cause mayhem and anarchy against targets that could be their own supporters.

Judging from the fact that the MDC-Alliance got the majority of its votes from its revered Harare urban voters, it sounds unreasonable for it to encourage its supporters to harm each other and burn their colleagues’ properties.

What it means is the MDC-Alliance leadership is not worried about the security of its urban supporters as it mobilises some of them to destroy their colleagues’ livelihoods.

The MDC-Alliance huge urban base is highly loyal to its leadership as evidenced by their overwhelming vote for their party since 2000.

However, the MDC formations’ leadership has no iota of respect of their followership as they continue to organise some of them to carry out deadly attacks against the other.

One only sees the Government coming in to rescue MDC supporters by protecting them from the vagaries of attack from some of their own.

Government, regardless of not having received sympathy from MDC urban supporters, always comes in to protect some MDC supporters from colleagues who will be vying for their blood and destruction of their property.

The question is, is it not high time that the urban MDC supporters abandon their party leadership for organising terrible wars against them while the leadership is in the comfort of their homes?

The same insincerity happens on the economic front, where the MDC leadership, particularly the MDC-Alliance, continues to call for sanctions.

The MDC urban supporters must understand that they are being used to advance an agenda that does not include them.

When sanctions are in place, industries will continue to operate below capacity due to lack of FDI.

Sanctions create an environment open for high criminal activities such as corruption and white collar criminal activities, which any government finds difficult to manage and control.

Sanctions have a devastating effect on industries, where urbanites are supposed to get succour.

The MDC’s urban supporters must understand that they are not spared the effects of sanctions while their leaders are comforted by donor funds.

It is important for Zimbabweans to exercise critical thinking before they engage in violence of any nature.

Everyone must understand electoral process.

Considering Zimbabwe’s literacy rate, it must not be difficult to note that election results are first posted on the walls of a polling station before they are transmitted to ward, district, provincial centres before they are relayed to the national command centre.

At each stage, results are collated, verified and signed by party agents.

While each party agent is given a signed and stamped V11 form at each stage before results are transmitted to the next stage until they reach the national command centre.

The Presidential election results can only be collated after they have reached the National Results Centre.

This is the reason why these results are announced last.

However, since each party agent is given a stamped, verified and signed V11 form, each party is able to do its own collation and be in a position to know whether its winning or not.

Fellow Zimbabweans, such a simple transparent process is not difficult to follow and understand.

However, it must be known by all peace-loving Zimbabweans that the MDC-Alliance leadership, particularly Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa, started psyching their supporters to engage in violence well before Election Day.

The two demonstrations carried out before elections, though peaceful, were a rehearsal for what happened on August 1, 2018.

The irony is that the MDC-Alliance incited a section of their Harare supporters to attack and destroy property of those MDC-Alliance supporters who did not participate in the violence.

It was like a chicken eating its own eggs.

The people whose security and property was violated at the behest of MDC-Alliance leadership must make the leadership accountable.

However, if they are fools, which I don’t think they are, they will continue to be used to advance an agenda that doesn’t include them.

For example, Chamisa has already disowned the MDC-Alliance supporters who engaged in violence on August 1, 2018 claiming that Chamisa won the elections.

It can be argued that the leader of the opposition abandoned his supporters in order to escape culpability.

This demonstrates that they don’t care about their supporter’s security.

MDC-Alliance supporters must understand that the majority of Zanu-PF supporters continue to support the party due to the land reform programme.

It will be difficult for the rural population to forsake Zanu-PF, which depopulated their villages by giving some of them land.

It will also be difficult for resettled farmers to forsake Zanu-PF that created an environment for them to get land.

It will be very difficult for both rural and resettled farmers to forsake Zanu-PF, which has gone a step further by ensuring agricultural inputs are made available in time through Command Agriculture.

It is going to be extremely difficult for these farmers to vote for MDC formations whom they know are behind the calling for sanctions that are affecting their agro-production.

It is, therefore, prudent for urban MDC supporters to start smelling the coffee and believing in this brutal truth that in voting for any MDC formations, particularly the so-called MDC-Alliance, they are voting for unemployment, poverty, violence and anarchy.


Dr Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator, a researcher and a diplomat in the Sadc. He writes in his personal capacity


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