Celine is a former resident of Zimbabwe, now living in northern California.
I decided to let the dust from the July 31st Zimbabwe elections settle a bit before putting my thoughts on paper.
As those following the elections and events in Zimbabwe are aware of, Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZanuPF party was announced the winner by the Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC). Former President Robert Mugabe was of the ZanuPF party and ruled with an iron fist and a great deal of political rhetoric for 37 years.
Morgan Tsvangirai managed to form a credible opposition during the latter part of that ‘reign’, known as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was represented by candidate Nelson Chamisa in the July elections.
The campaign process and election day itself were transparent and peaceful, and there was great deal of hope that Zimbabweans could show the world that a peaceful election process was possible. There were 23 presidential candidates, four of whom were women.
However, close to election day, Nelson Chamisa and the MDC began stating that they were sure to win, that the succession plan had already been hammered out, and then announcing their apparent win prior to the official announcement by the ZEC.
Additionally, violence in the center of the capital, Harare, erupted before the official announcement. President Mnangagwa did not engage in a tit for tat politically and allowed free expression to play out, but that turned into violence which resulted in the unfortunate death of six people,and subsequent criticism of military intervention.
He also intervened to allow the MDC’s press conference to proceed after being disrupted by the police, and is stating that an independent commission of inquiry will be set up once he is sworn in.
Here are my thoughts on the whole process so far.
I do believe that these Zimbabwe elections would have been completely peaceful had not a rent-a-crowd been bussed into the city center. Zimbabweans are very much a peaceful people.
I also believe that the MDC employed some now very ‘old feeling and being called out’ political strategies to create division, dissension and false hope, for political purposes.
It seems the MDC was so convinced it would prevail that it pre-announced this conviction. Their disappointment is understandable. One independent presidential candidate explained in a pre-election interview that he was running because ZanuPF and MDC are two sides of the same coin. That sounds familiar.
The above two scenarios are currently being played out in the US on a huge scale – conviction that there would be a pre-determined winner and non-acceptance of election results. The strategy is a divide-and-conquer one, utilizing all kinds of created divisions to ensure unrest and hatred.
This strategy is used the world over, but people are seeing through it more and more. The SABC interview with Acie Lumumba (link below) offers an excellent and intelligent discussion, applicable to political gamesmanship everywhere.
On a practical level, if 63% of Zimbabwe’s population is rural and the rural areas are said to be loyal to ZanuPF, while the 37% in urban areas are said to be more loyal to the MDC, it is difficult to see how MDC could in fact garner over 50% of the vote. It did capture the majority of votes in the northwest of the country, but that area is not heavily populated, so could not add significant numbers to the MDC count.
Emmerson Mnangagwa appears very much to be his own person, with his own thoughts and visions, with an oft-stated intention to bring Zimbabwe back to prosperity. Because Robert Mugabe was ZanuPF, it does not necessarily follow that Emmerson Mnangagwa will follow in his footsteps. For the sake of everyone in the country, I hope this is truly not the case.
In a press conference last Friday, the following sentence by Emmerson Mnangagwa did not escape my hearing: “The vision is premised on development, modernization, peace and security, and unity,” and then he added “and Love”. Wow. He said yesterday that the time of politics is now over and it is time for great ideas to be brought out so that all Zimbabweans can move forward, together, to build their country. He also stated he is the President of everyone, not just his followers.
I like these statements – he is starting out with a call for unity, not division. However, it would be extremely beneficial if he would heed the call for an apology and reconciliation effort towards the Ndebele people in the west, who were subjected to a genocide under the Mugabe regime, in which Mnangagwa is said to have played a significant part, so that the country can in fact move forward as a united people.
Zimbabwe has been front and center in the whole Reval discussion. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of the apparently significant role Zimbabwe is to play, but will end with this thought: “What if this is All in Divine and Perfect Order?” Any attempt to derail Humanity’s shift to the Light no longer has a place.
Emmerson Mnangagwa press conference, 8/3/18 (above referenced sentence begins just before 20:00)
SABC interview with analyst Acie Lumumba, 8/5/18