By Blessing-Miles Tendi
THAT Zanu PF would win the 2005 parliamentary election was a forgone conclusion. Zanu PF saw it coming. The electorate saw it coming. Civic groups saw it coming. The media saw it comi
ng. And, for all the posturing, even the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) saw it coming.
In fact, we all saw it coming because nobody could fail to see that the deck was unfairly stacked in Zanu PF’s favour. Zanu PF held all the key cards, the ace in the pack being Zimbabwe’s existing constitution which renders palpable electoral advantages to the ruling party.
What many of us did not see coming was that Zanu PF would secure a two-thirds majority in parliament. Zanu PF, and President Robert Mugabe in particular, was effervescent in his proclamations that obtaining a two-thirds majority was a must. It was an open secret that the party took the matter of winning a two- thirds majority seriously.
An open secret that the MDC seemed not to acutely consider. It was an open secret which, in hindsight, we all seemed not to take so seriously.
During the campaign, we were guilty, as Zimbabweans, of not taking Zanu PF’s increasingly authoritarian designs seriously, and leaving our human rights at the mercy of others. Zanu PF’s trusted and abominable political violence of old did not transpire this time, but the MDC still has legitimate grievances.
The high number of voters who were turned away at polling stations — because they were “improperly registered” — was a highly questionable irregularity. And the chaotic state of the voters’ roll meant that it was open to manipulation.
Nonetheless, the MDC’s failure to acknowledge the shortcomings of its 2005 campaign is dumbfounding. Zanu PF blames the “white neo-colonial Western world” for everything, while the MDC blames Zanu PF for everything. The art of naming and blaming the other, and never self, is a quality that marries Zanu PF and the MDC. It is an unholy marriage of convenience that is symptomatic of both sides’ inability to be self-critical — a refusal to be introspective.
Just as in the 2000 election, the MDC triumphed in the urban constituencies and was routed in the rural areas, five years on the opposition remains cocooned in the cities. And yet it goes without saying in Zimbabwean politics that if you cannot clinch the majority rural vote, you are doomed to political subordination.
The MDC may also have dithered for too long on the question of whether to run in t