By Tafadzwa Masango
WAY before many Zimbabweans were worried about the results of the 2018 polls, those whose ‘national interests’ and profits are influenced by who holds political power in Zimbabwe had already made the calculations and knew that the horse they were backing was going to lose.
In the run-up to the poll, surveys showed the scales were tipping in favour of ZANU PF and even political analysts who traditionally lean towards the opposition indicated the so-called opposition Alliance would not win the election due to various internal factors.
The US chose to ignore all this and saw this election as a necessary process that would lead to a power transfer from ZANU PF to the opposition.
In a statement shortly after new amendments were made to ZDERA, just days before the Zimbabwe elections, US Senator Chris Coons said:
“I’m thrilled that Congress passed this important piece of legislation, which reflects our sincere hope that Zimbabwe makes a transition to a peaceful, democratic, just and prosperous nation.
A free, fair and credible election is a necessary, but insufficient step to increased co-operation with the US. Zimbabwe’s leaders must also commit to a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power to reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.
We look forward to the fulfillment of the commitments President Mnangagwa has made to the people of Zimbabwe to pursue broader political and economic reform and to deepen the partnership between the US and Zimbabwe as sufficient progress is made on these necessary reforms.”
l ZDERAA is ‘an important piece of legislation’ in that it will continue to make the economy ‘scream’ in attempts to separate the people of Zimbabwe from ZANU PF.
l The ‘transition’ that the US is talking about has nothing to do with peace and democracy. We can all agree that the pre-election environment under which this new ZDERAA was passed was perhaps the most peaceful and democratic and as such how does one make a demand for a condition that is prevailing.
l The real transition is revealed in the following sentence, where elections are stated to be not among the primary steps ZANU PF should undertake in order for sanctions to be lifted.
l Zimbabwe’s leaders must also commit to a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power to reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. This is the pith of the matter.
For months, Nelson Chamisa and some of his Alliance partners have been frothing at the mouth that ZANU PF leaders should ‘resign, step down, hand over power’ outside of the prescribed processes in the Constitution. Their statements are puntuated by claims that the people of Zimbabwe informed them that they no longer want ZANU PF to lead the country.
In fact, this particular phrase, ‘the will of the people’, has been one of the key reasons Chamisa and company demanded that President Mnangagwa ‘hands over power’ before the election.
One would think that if the people of Zimbabwe were fed up with ZANU PF, they would do the right thing and vote it out of power thereby ensuring that the Constitution is upheld. For a grouping that had the highest per capita of lawyers in their leadership structures, the Alliance seems not to really have high regard for the rule of law.
l The word ‘reform’ certainly has a different meaning whenever it is used by the opposition and the US. The chief among the ‘political and economic reform(s)’ that are necessary ‘to deepen the partnership between the US and Zimbabwe’ is land reform and access to certain minerals that are crucial to the defence industry in the US for a song.
Post-election day, the US continued with its stance that nothing has really changed in Zimbabwe and as such it will maintain the sanctions regime.
In reaction to the events of August 1 2018, the US Department of State made a press release.
Part of the release reads:
“Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections presented the country with a historic chance to move beyond the political and economic crises of the past and toward profound democratic change.
The Zimbabwean people turned out massively to cast their votes, underscoring their aspirations for a better future, despite challenges during the pre-election period. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s success in delivering an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence and a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces…
We encourage all stakeholders and citizens to pursue any grievances peacefully and through established legal channels, and we encourage all political leaders to show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in defeat.”
Right from the word go, one gets the feeling that somehow the US is disappointed by the ZANU PF victory.
l Apparently, according to the US, Zimbabweans had a ‘historic chance’ to vote out the liberation movement, which caused the economic crisis due to its ideological stance on land and economic empowerment.
l Zimbabweans missed the chance
l To Page 11
l From Page 5
to make ‘profound democratic change’ by not overwhelmingly voting in the MDC Alliance. Truth be told, Zimbabweans dodged a bullet when it comes to the form of ‘profound democratic change’ that the US is agitating for. We have all seen what happens when the US brings democracy to developing countries.
l I am yet to figure out what these ‘challenges during the pre-election period’ exactly are. The one challenge that the opposition certainly experienced this time around was that the media and election observers did not buy into their usual ‘wolf wolf cries’ and called the opposition out each time it resorted to its default setting of attempting to seek global sympathy through stage-managed incidents. Another challenge during the pre-election period was definitely the uncouth and undemocratic behaviour of opposition leaders and supporters, which saw them attacking, intimidating and threatening all those who criticised them or did not share their position on issues. One cannot forget how the likes of British Ambassador Catriona Lang; EU Head of Delegation Ambassador Phillipe Van Damme; ZEC Chairperson Justice Chigumba, The Elders’ Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson; and MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe were attacked and insulted left, right and centre by opposition members.
l It is funny how the US places the major blame on Government and turns a blind eye to the actions of their proxy, the Alliance, which was the catalyst to the tragic incident.
In fact, the event has become a key reference point in accusing Government of not yet undertaking the necessary measures that are a precursor to positive re-engagement. The US is suffering from a major case of selective amnesia and in its tunnel view of the 2018 electoral processes, all they see is the August 1 incident.
l Relatedly, the whole electoral process is now, according to the US, ‘marred by this incident’. While the incident is tragic and regrettable, irony is when a country whose bombs just killed 40 innocent children wants to lecture Zimbabwe on irresponsible use of arms.
l Last but not least is this call for ‘political leaders to show magnanimity in victory’. The US has never been magnanimous in victory!
In fact, President Donald Trump, to this day, has no kind words for former President Barack Obama nor for Hillary Clinton.
He has continuously insulted them and made all sorts of attacks on them despite he is in the highest office in the land.