06-12-19 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Biti discuss “Zimbabwe’s crisis of legitimacy” with UK – crisis of MDC A’s own making

Wilbert Mukori


The MDC Alliance continues its “diplomatic offensive” with Tendai Biti, MDC A VP, meeting the British Minister of State for Africa Affairs, Harriet Baldwin. What is clear to everyone expect MDC A leaders is that Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis is one of MDC A’s own making.

“The election of 2018 remains contested. The crisis of legitimacy remains at the fore of the crisis in Zimbabwe as I talk to you right now,” Tendai Biti told his audience at Chaltam House the other day.

Contested by whom? Certainly not by the British, the EU, the Commonwealth, the Americans and everyone else who observed the elections and KNOW what constitutes free, fair and credible elections.

“The electoral commission lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner. The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability,” stated the EU final report.

“Finally, the restrictions on political freedoms, the excessive use of force by security forces and abuses of human rights in the post-election period undermined the corresponding positive aspects during the pre-election campaign. As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards.”

If the results are full of errors, cannot be traced, etc. and the process failed to meet international standards for free, fair and credible elections; it is clear the whole election process was null and void. The election failed to produce a legitimate result and those claiming electoral victory are illegitimate.

Instead of Nelson Chamisa and his MDC A friends accepting the 2018 elections failed to produce a legitimate government, they are cherry picking. They have accept the parliamentary results and thus the process a free, fair and credible although the result showed the same errors and lacked traceability, etc and the process had the same flaws and illegalities.

What they are contesting is ZEC’s result giving Mnangagwa more votes than Chamisa. Interesting enough, Chamisa has failed to produce the verified voters’ roll, all the V11 forms (summary of the vote count at each polling station), etc. In other words, Chamisa’s figures had the same shortcomings as ZEC’s figures – could not be traced and verified.

What MDC A is hoping to achieve in its diplomatic offensive is to get the British and the international community to accept that Chamisa is the winner of the presidential race and help pressure Mnangagwa to step down and Chamisa take over or the two share power.

No amount of diplomatic pressure will ever persuade the international community to accept Chamisa as the winner of an election whose result is full of errors and cannot trace and the process is flawed and illegal.

The reason why MDC A are cherry picking, accepting the election as free, fair and credible for everything except the presidential result is simple – the party does not care that Zanu PF blatantly rigged the elections denying the ordinary people a meaningful say in the governance of the country as long as the MDC A got a fair share of the gravy train seats. The party is pleased with the parliamentary and senatorial seats it won in last July’s elections. The party is holding out on the presidential race in the hope of putting Zanu PF under pressure to concede more gravy train seat.

Chamisa and his MDC A friends knew that without first implementing the democratic reforms, Zanu PF would blatantly rig the elections. They also knew that Zanu PF would be giving away a few gravy train seats as bait to entice the opposition to participate in the elections regardless how flawed and illegal the process happened to be. It was these seats that Chamisa et al were after. And the party did win a number of these seats.

By failing to hold free, fair and credible elections Mnangagwa has confirmed to the world that Zimbabwe was still a country ruled by corrupt and vote rigging thugs. This had the effect of scaring away investors and lenders alike and so the much hoped for economic recovery has never happened. Indeed, the economic meltdown under Mugabe has got progressively worse.

Chamisa and company are taking full advantage of the worsen economic situation to pressure Mnangagwa to share power by insisting MDC A has the “key to unlock his illegitimacy and the economic recovery”. All nonsense!

Zanu PF is illegitimate because last year’s election process was flawed and illegal. The addition of Chamisa and one or two others into the regime will not wipe away its illegitimacy. Legitimacy is derived from the people in a free, fair and credible election and not traded away by corrupt individuals like mango in the market.

The world knows that the 2008 to 2013 Zanu PF and MDC A GNU failed to implement even one democratic reform in five years. A new GNU with the same players will not do any better! And so investors and lenders are not going to flood back into Zimbabwe just because Mnangagwa has added Chamisa and Tendai Biti to his cabinet minister.

Last year’s elections were full of flaws and illegalities, ZEC failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll, the whole process was null and void. And with no legitimate government the nation should have appointed an interim administration to implement the reforms to ensure the fiasco of rigged elections is never repeated ever again.

Zanu PF should have been told in no uncertain terms that it rigged the elections, it is illegitimate and must step down. By cherry picking and accepting the parliamentary result as free, fair and credible MDC A have given the illegitimate Zanu PF some modicum of credibility if not legitimacy.

“There is a crisis of legitimacy in Zimbabwe!” A crisis of MDC A’s own making by accepting the flawed and illegal parliamentary result out of greed and rejecting the presidential result to push for more power sharing concession from Zanu PF. Zimbabwe’s national interests are best served by accepting Zanu PF rigged last July’s elections and demand that the party steps down. No if, not but and no time wasting political dialogue.

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  • If Morgan Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC leaders like Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, David Coltart, etc. ever believed in bring about democratic changes in Zimbabwe, as their party name implied, they certainly abandoned the aspiration soon after joining the GNU. President Mugabe saw to it that MDC leaders enjoyed all the trappings of high office; generous salary and allowances, ministerial limo, the $4 million Highlands mansion for Tsvangirai, etc., etc. In return the MDC leaders shelved all the democratic reforms.

    There is no denying that MDC leaders sold-out big time in failing to implement even one democratic reform in five years. Having sold-out once it was impossible for them to ever reclaim the political moral high ground ever again especially when dealing with Zanu PF leaders who knew all too well of their weakness and lost virtue and exploited them to the full.

    Zanu PF knew MDC leaders would participate in the 2013 elections and all the other elections that followed regardless how flawed and illegitimate the process got. Chamisa is disputing Mnangagwa’s victory but on the basis of the manor point of who garnered more votes and not over the more substantive issue of failure to produce a verified voters’ roll, for example. He knew there was no verified voters’ roll and still participated regardless and even he knows it would be the cuss hypocrisy to make it an issue after the elections.

    So MDC’s “crisis of legitimacy” is not one born out of Zanu PF having rigged the elections which is what the EU, Americans and everyone else would have it. MDC’s crisis of legitimacy is very subtle; the whole process was flawed and illegal MDC are trying to admit to the flaws and illegalities to make Mnangagwa illegitimate without ever soiling Chamisa although he was a partner to the criminal process!

    Of course, Chamisa and MDC A’s claim to political legitimacy is as nonsensical as that of Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF junta. Chamisa is holding the nation to ransom as much as Mnangagwa is doing the same by clinging on to power with no verifiable people’s mandate. This only underlines the fact that both Zanu PF and MDC care more about power and would happily deny the people’s rights and freedoms to secure people.