Zanu PF polls fail litmus test


HARARE – In golf, rub of the green means if the ball hits or accidentally deflects on an outside agent, you don’t get punished; you hit the ball from where it lies.

But the rub of the green has had a different meaning particularly in football where commentators refer to either an unlucky team or player as having either the rub of the green or not having the rub of the green.
In short, in specific reference to other sports outside golf, having the rub of the green means you have luck.

However, this will never apply in politics.

And using the original meaning of the rub of the green, recent Zanu PF provincial elections, rules don’t mean anything.

The people of Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland  — who did not vote to choose a chairman of their choice, despite being eligible — are a case in point.

In the Midlands and Mashonaland Central — voting was incomplete in some districts — leading to calls for a rerun or at least completion of the process in the affected districts.

Jason Machaya and Luke Mushore won the hotly disputed elections respectively.

In Manicaland, John Mvundura was declared winner after Monica Mutsvangwa pulled out citing serious flaws and vote rigging.

Zanu PF’s politburo endorsed the results while admitting there were irregularities but for the sake of “progress” they had to move on to complete elections in other provinces before its conference next week.

Saturday’s results and subsequent rioting over shambolic voter’s registers and allegations of vote tampering concluded the sorry elections.

I am not going to make reference to the so-called factionalism because that would distract the attention.

Although there are claims that Vice President Joice Mujuru has won the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe following the conclusion of these flawed internal elections, the issue is not about succession.

The issue is not also about how Emmerson Mnangagwa has been beaten; it was never going to be about individuals but Zanu PF’s commitment to respecting its own constitution and allowing democracy to prevail within its scarred party.

Certainly, the vava-voom which should have been evident throughout the voting was not there.

Neither was the usual gung ho associated with such an occasion.

The way Zanu PF has conducted its internal elections, riding roughshod over regulations guiding the process, does expose the party to allegations of cheating in the July 31 national polls.

There is a clear pattern and resonance on the Zanu PF primary elections in the run up to the July 31 debacle and latest provincial polls.

The common denominators are shambolic vote registers and vote rigging.

What has emerged from the Zanu PF internal elections is a culture of trampling democracy to the extent of threatening the very existence of the party itself.

Mugabe is very much aware of how a group of senior officials tried despairingly to have him beaten by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 through a deliberate campaign which became known as “Bhora Musango.”

No wonder the veteran leader put emphasis on “Bhora Mugedhi” — to try and correct the wrongs of 2008.

The “Bhora Musango” campaign was caused by consternation and disgruntlement among officials who felt they were being made irrelevant in the party’s scheme of things.

Sadly, fissures have emerged again as a result of the divisive elections which were held in violation of party rules.

Party rules state that elections shall be held simultaneously and results announced at once.

But Manicaland and the Midlands held theirs which failed to pass both the litmus test of credibility and principles guiding their conduct.

Mashonaland West elections were called off at the last minute and Mashonaland Central did not complete voting.

Riots engulfed some parts of Bikita and Gutu over “fake” voter  registers which were different from the ones submitted to Harare.

These incidents create a breeding ground for disharmony in Zanu PF and by extension could affect government business.

Everything is pointing towards a groundswell of discontent and fractures within the movement which has so far struggled to live up to its election promises.

As the governing party, a divided Zanu PF cannot pull this country out of the current economic malaise.
As a governing party, a smouldering Zanu PF does not inspire confidence it can be trusted to speak with one voice on matters that concern citizens.

Upon true reflection, Mugabe and his comrades will realise they have done themselves more harm than good by endorsing a sham process.

They may call it a peaceful process but it is more than peace that is needed to inspire confidence in electoral matters.

Rightly, the provincial elections, based on the results and remonstrations from the aggrieved cadres, have failed the credibility test.

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