opinionBy Caesar Zvayi
Harare — According to Tendai Biti, the motor mouth MDC-T secretary general, "Zimbabwe is a war-zone" and it's high time the US and its allies invaded Harare to install an MDC-T-led puppet regime.
Reading the headlines in the Western Press and watching the hysterical footage on BBC, France24, SkyNews and CNN, blood and gore congest the streets of Harare and Bulawayo while shrapnel and stray rounds litter the countryside.
Zimbabwe is gripped by terror, a humanitarian crisis, and in the words of the excitable Nelson Chamisa is "on the verge of genocide."
Sponsored groupies like the so-called Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition rattle off gory scenarios by the minute, alleging arrests, murders and evictions of opposition supporters countrywide all in a bid to justify their names and existence; "crisis in Zimbabwe."
To cap it all, the chief Trojan horse, Morgan Tsvangirai claims he fears for his life and has gone into self-imposed exile in Botswana, or is it South Africa? From where he launches periodic sorties to Western capitals masquerading as a displaced statesman keen to get on with the job of governing.
The US and Britain have dutifully issued travel warnings advising their citizens against travelling to Zimbabwe in addition to trying to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council as a threat to international peace and security.
Anyone reading and watching the Western media would be forgiven for thinking Iraq and Afghanistan are safer than Zimbabwe, and Kenya is a virtual paradise. That is how badly Zimbabwe has been trashed in the Western media with the green Biti and Chamisa playing dutiful altar boys.
How different the reality is, particularly as Zimbabwe recently hosted two highly subscribed international events in the two metropolitan centres, Harare and Bulawayo, that are purported to be virtual "war zones".
Bulawayo hosted the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair while Harare hosted the Harare International Festival of the Arts that were both patronised by a multi-racial clientele as Western embassies and their staff came out in full force with Zimbabweans from all walks of life and political persuasions mixing and mingling without incident.
The ambience at Hifa would have made the likes of James McGee think they were on Broadway, which leaves many wondering at the "crisis" caged parrots like Biti babble about.
The question that comes to mind is, why is there an attempt to create a non-existent crisis in Zimbabwe in a world torn by real crises stretching from Somalia to the cyclone-ravaged Burma where more than 22 500 people have lost their lives over the past few days?
The answer is obvious, London and Washington badly need a crisis in Zimbabwe to justify an invasion to "liberate" long-suffering Zimbabweans when their real aim is to ensure that their lackey, Tsvangirai assumes power and delivers Zimbabwe on a silver platter. For Tsvangirai, a crisis would overshadow the impending run-off or at least give him an excuse for his imminent loss.
Contrary to the false pretences at confidence and claims of popular support, Tsvangirai knows very well that March 29 is not repeatable and if he misses on power on the back of the 47 percent he fraudulently got on March 29, that may be the end for him as the chicanery that characterised the first round is not replicable.
What is more Zanu-PF has been on the ground since March 29 while the MDC-T leadership have been gallivanting on a purported "diplomatic offensive" which appears to have backfired spectacularly because, apart from Levy Mwanawasa who has apparently never recovered from that horrible accident that nearly claimed his life, no other sane African leader bought Tsvangirai's wild claims.
Some may say Tsvangirai can't dread a run-off as he leads the first round. But then they only need unpack Biti's pledge that MDC-T and Zanu-PF form a government of national unity minus President Mugabe to uncover the fear at Harvest House.
Why would "a popular party, that won a clear mandate" as Tsvangirai claims, want to compromise with "an unpopular loser" like Zanu-PF?
For governments of national unity are predicated on shared mandates. If Zanu-PF is so unpopular that the MDC-T can beat it "any day, anytime, any hour," as Chamisa claims, then Tsvangirai should be girding for the run-off.
Either way, he is between a rock and a hard place. Boycotting the run-off would give President Mugabe victory without the hassles of hitting the campaign trail, while for Tsvangirai contesting under close scrutiny and losing will vindicate Zanu-PF's claims that the first round was manipulated to favour the opposition.
As Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa put it, there were "many anomalies, malpractices, deflation of figures of Zanu-PF candidates as information was transmitted upwards, inflation of figures relating to opposition candidates as information was transmitted to higher command levels, multiple voting and people who are not on the voters' roll being allowed to vote, persons on the voters' roll being turned away and not allowed to vote and irregularities in the manner that handicapped persons were assisted to vote."
The anomalies were exposed in the sample recounting exercise that was undertaken at Zanu-PF's request by the ZEC in 21 constituencies, revealing an environment heavily tilted in favour of the MDC-T.
The devil, as they say, is in the detail; it appears the figures Tsvangirai seeks comfort in are also his source of discomfort.
An analysis of the presidential election results shows that President Mugabe, though trailing Tsvangirai on the popular vote by five percentage points, won in six out of 10 provinces. President Mugabe won in Mashonaland Central 65,3 percent to Tsvangirai's 31,4, Mashonaland East 55 percent to 40,9, Mashonaland West 52,8 percent to 42,1 percent, Masvingo 49,5 percent to 45,9 percent, Matabeleland South 38,5 percent to 29,3 percent, and Midlands 48,8 percent to 44,8. While Tsvangirai won Harare 72,3 to 19,5, Bulawayo 51,4 to 11,5, Manicaland 57,4 percent to 38,4 percent, and Matabeleland North 46,7 percent to 28,3 percent.
An analysis of the House of Assembly and Senate poll results, however, shows that Zanu-PF beat MDC-T in both Houses amassing 45,94 percent of the vote to MDC-T's 43,56 in the Senate; and 45,94 percent to 42,88 in the House of Assembly suffrage.
Put simply, more people voted for Zanu-PF than MDC-T in the parliamentary elections while more voted for Tsvangirai than President Mugabe in the presidential contest. And since the run-off will be determined by a first-past-the-post system, Zanu-PF's supremacy in the popular vote, no doubt, is giving Tsvangirai goose bumps.
Some may argue that Tsvangirai has nothing to fear as he led the presidential contest in the first round, but then a closer look at that lead and the factors behind it will leave Tsvangirai as naked as the day his first cry cut Nerutanga Village.
The sacrilege that saw some MPs garner more votes than the President in some constituencies is simply untenable in the run-off considering what is at stake. Those Zanu-PF reactionaries who nearly sabotaged the revolution through the so-called "bhora musango" for Simba Makoni have since realised the threat Tsvangirai poses to their collective interests. The bottom line is, Zanu-PF was its own worst enemy in the first round as reports abounded of some party members who reportedly told their constituents to vote for a Zanu-PF councillor, MP and Senator and then Makoni for president.
This explains why Zanu-PF leads the MDC-T in the parliamentary elections popular vote while President Mugabe lags in the presidential contest, vindicating the view that the Makoni project was mooted by the West to play spoiler by dividing the Zanu-PF vote to give Tsvangirai undue advantage.
But then, will the same obtain in the run-off, particularly as Makoni is no longer a candidate? Can March 29 be repeated when Tsvangirai's handlers gave the game away when they prematurely rushed to claim the prize before the game was over?
Many in the countryside saw the white former commercial farmers rush to threaten resettled farmers with eviction. Many read the euphoric headlines in the Western media proclaiming "We have beaten Mugabe," yet many others saw for themselves how Tsvangirai became beholden to the Western leadership of George W. Bush and Gordon Brown.
Can any sane Zimbabwean trust such a shameless lackey with a mandate in the run-off?
This writer does not think so, and Tsvangirai clearly does not think so either, which is why he is dithering over the run-off. But then he is in a catch 22 situation, if he contests, he risks being unmasked and if he boycotts President Mugabe retains the Presidency without breaking a sweat.Either way, Zimbabweans will be the winners.