28 April 2008
WATCHING the excitement of the MDC-T and their claims of having 'won' the March 29th election go into overdrive, I could not resist the temptation to correct my erstwhile colleagues as they 'mouth' (sic) themselves towards their waterloo.
The Parliamentary results have all been confirmed and contrary to the hullabaloo the March 29th outcome has remained the same, save for a few minor adjustments of the figures for both parties up or down.
The allegations that Zanu PF was recounting the votes for the simple reason of 'stealing the election' have come to nought.
Where does this leave those who made these allegations?
In the March 29th elections Zanu PF had several opponents, including western capital, MDC-T and the Zambian government, the current chair of Sadc.
I will explain why.
Zanu PF, as the party in government, is traditionally known for looking after the livelihoods of its people. As the governing party it had, and still has, a duty towards the citizens of Zimbabwe.
Following the excess rains during the last season the crop harvest is known to have failed as it did in previous years due to drought. Citizens, especially those in the rural provinces, looked up to government -- as they have done over the years -- for assistance.
Government failed to secure enough maize from its traditional supplier and hence decided to buy from the Zambians.
It is common knowledge that orders where placed and paid to the Zambian government months before the elections were held and hence delivery was expected well before the elections.
It is not a secret that Zambian authorities deliberately held on to the maize deliveries and played politics with it. This politicking starved the Zimbabwean rural electorate to a point where they voted with empty stomachs. Coupled with the much publicised sanctions regime and economic strangulation tactics by the west, this situation got worse.
Voting patterns were skewed unfavourably against Zanu PF as many people felt the pain inflicted through economic strangulation tactics. Remember Tsvangirai's election motto, "Are you hungry and angry? Vote MDC."
It is important to point the fact that MDC-T did not get a landslide victory in Parliament despite these underhand dirty tactics by our erstwhile neighbour Zambia in collusion with the MDC-T.
Before the recount, Zanu PF won 97 seats under these circumstances, MDC-T won 99 seats, 10 of the seats where won by MDC-Mutambara faction with one going to Professor Jonathan Moyo -- an independent candidate.
We await the outcome of the Presidential election results and it is unlikely that MDC-T's candidate Morgan Tsvangirai will win outright as claimed by the party's Secretary General, Tendai Biti -- that is 50 plus one percent.
All indicators point at two possible scenarios.
The first, either we get an outright win by the candidate of Zanu PF, President Robert Mugabe, (i.e. fifty plus one percent or more) as figures put together by looking at the Parliamentary election suggest that he secured the crucial popular vote.
The second scenario, which I may add, is a worst case scenario, both candidates will fail to garner more than fifty plus one percent, however with President Mugabe leading all the same.
This will set the scene for the much talked about 'run off' within twenty-one days as provided for by the Electoral Act.
Either way, there are so many possibilities for the way forward. In the likelihood of an outright victory for Zanu PF in the Presidential election, President Mugabe retains the reins of power and the country can move forward as he is able to appoint his government and Cabinet.
Many have suggested that the loss of control of Parliament by Zanu PF will render President Mugabe a 'lame duck' President, as he will not be able to pass legislation, without a majority in Parliament.
It is important to also remember that MDC-T does not command a majority in Parliament either. It is a 'hung parliament'.
Most counts by the media have tended to include as given that MDC-Mutambara and Professor Jonathan Moyo who together hold a total of eleven seats as part of the MDC-T faction or indeed will vote automatically with Tsvangirai in parliament.
This is a fallacy. Never mind the media hype. The politics of MDC- Mutambara and MDC-T are as different as is day is from night.
One has to simply look at their failure to unite in the first place, despite numerous attempts before the elections.
Professor Arthur Mutambara, according to my knowledge, espouses the politics of the liberation struggle and has been quoted in various fora stating categorically that he "stands on the shoulders of Nikita Mangena, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo and other heroes of Zimbabwe."
It therefore makes MDC-Mutambara's party less likely to see eye to eye MDC-T even in parliament.
All indications from the MDC-Mutambara are that they are a sober alternative that will negotiate for the good of the country. In comparison Tendai Biti, the Secretary General of the MDC-T faction has 'rubbished' (SW Radio, Hot seat 26th April 2008) the role played by liberation war heroes, including President Mugabe.
With the ten seats held by MDC-Mutambara there are so many possibilities.
Zanu PF holds the majority in the Senate chamber even before the Presidential appointees. Zanu PF has 30 seats, MDC-T has 24 seats and MDC-Mutambara holds the other 6.
The Senate chamber, courtesy of Amendment No 18, has a total of 93 seats, 60 elected from the country's ten provinces. They are joined by 10 governors appointed directly by the President and 16 service chiefs and five senators also appointed by the President.
There are many possibilities.
Professor Arthur Mutambara and Professor Welshman Ncube lost in their constituencies in the parliamentary elections. In MDC-Mutambara, we have a party that has its leadership sitting outside parliament. They have ten Members of Parliament they can potentially use to horse trade their way into public office, the Senate perhaps.
In politics there are no permanent friends, simply permanent interests.
A Presidential run off
Chances of the MDC-T winning a run off are slim. They have proved to be power hungry and have made many tactical errors in the handling of results, and have made some questionable alliances in the region and on the continent.
Many people now doubt their altruism and their concern for Zimbabwean people. They have also proved not to be a violence-free bunch.
Government of National Unity
Riding on international sympathy the leader of MDC-T, Morgan Tsvangirai is on record as refusing a government of 'national unity' preferring to form what he calls 'an all inclusive' government, which excludes President Mugabe.
According to Tendai Biti, "The old man must go kwaZvimba and retire honourably."
Retire he will, but not before he has assured Zimbabweans of continuity by way of leadership renewal in Zanu PF and Chimurenga III.
Any attempts to stampede President Mugabe from power will have devastating implications for the country, especially in light of the over zealousness exhibited by our colleagues in the MDC-T faction and the potential threat posed by Right Wing elements currently based in South Africa.
Zimbabwean people voted on the 29th of March 2008 and President Mugabe has, by and large, respected the people's will by accepting the election results in the Parliamentary election and, I believe, he will accept the outcome of the Presidential election too.
It is therefore incumbent upon MDC-T faction to accept the outcome of the Presidential election whatever it may be. In the likely event of victory by President Mugabe in this election, the people of Zimbabwe will themselves have formed a government of national unity without the consent of the MDC-Tsvangirai party.
Lloyd Msipa Lawyer based in London, England.