If former State Security minister Didymus Mutasa is a born-again democrat, fresh from the mint, that he is trying to make the nation believe he is, then he would know that the issue of rigging elections is no laughing matter.
SUNDAY OPINION BY PATRICK GURAMATUNHU
Zimbabwe is in this political and economic mess because for 36 years the nation was stuck with an incompetent, corrupt and tyrannical regime unable to remove it from power because President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs rigged the elections.
They denied the people of Zimbabwe their freedom, liberty, human rights — including the right to free, fair and credible elections.
Mutasa, rigging elections is no laughing matter; it is treason! In an interview with The Standard’s Richard Chidza, he seemed to take the matter lightly.
“But did you think there was some underhand dealing in how the party won elections?” Chidza asked him.
“No. If I had I would have discussed this with the president. I would have faced him on it. There are many things we told him, that they were not correct. I have written letters to tell him such and such is wrong,” answered Mutasa.
“Now that you are in the opposition, do you think there is a structure somewhere used to rig elections?” asked Chidza for the third time.
“Yes. And this is why we are demanding electoral reforms and setting up of a structure within the confines of the Constitution to administer elections independently,” Mutasa finally admitted.
When Joice Mujuru was asked what she knew about rigged elections, she too gave an ambiguous answer.
“I never saw the rigging… I am sure it was a very small clique that was doing it,” said Mujuru.
Both Mujuru and Mutasa knew of Zanu PF’s abuse of state resources to finance the party’s elections campaign, the active cooperation of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and other state institutions in the rigourous and yet very selective application of the law in favour of Zanu PF.
They were aware of Zanu PF’s culture of political violence; the harassment, beating, rape and the murder of opposition members by Zanu PF thugs, war vets and state security agents. By denying knowledge of vote rigging and violence, the ZimPF leaders are once again proving that they are not willing to dismantle the dictatorship.
“No it wasn’t, you cannot allow your tongue to slip three times in the process of saying some-thing,” admitted Mutasa, when he was pressed on the results of the March 2008 elections. “He [Mugabe] said it three times, that Tsvangirai won by 73%. That is what the man at the top is saying now. Why would I not believe it?”
Mutasa was asked whether believed people were afraid of the State.
“Yes I do,” he answered. “But do not blame us for people being afraid. Blame those who are afraid. Let us encourage them to stand up and be counted.
“If they continue to be afraid of the State machinery, there will still be state machinery under ZimPF and people will still be afraid. So the change we are promising them will not take place if people live in fear.”
It is the only honest thing he said that day! What people like him have completely failed to grasp is that the State machinery is not there to serve the selfish interests of the ruling elite but to serve the public good.
We are in this political and economic mess because yesterday’s liberators have become today’s oppressors and so we need yet another generation of liberators! Surely, we have other pressing national matters to attend to than wasting time and human and material resources fighting endless liberation wars! The challenge is to break this stupid cycle once and for all!
We need to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) reforms which are designed to end the ruling elite’s undemocratic control of the state institutions so people will never again have to fear or fight the state institutions!
Implementing the GPA is the heart and soul of the democratic change this country is dying for.
It is no surprise Mujuru, Mutasa and the rest of the ZimPF team have failed to understand this; they are not true democrats, they are incompetent tyrants pretending to be democrats!