analysisBy Douglas Mwonzora
IN western democracies a new culture has developed where any person who loses a presidential election automatically steps down as the leader of his party. This practice has been used by some to justify their calls for Morgan Tsvangirai to step down in the aftermath of the 31 July, 2013 elections.
However, proponents for the adoption of this culture into Zimbabwean politics largely ignore the objective conditions under which elections are held in the West and the conditions under which elections were held in Zimbabwe. As a result their argument for the adoption of this culture in Zimbabwe has largely been flawed. In the Western world, it has been largely accepted that elections are free and fair. Presidential candidates and their parties are allowed equal or equitable access to the media before and during the elections for example.
Further, the violence and intimidation that we have seen characterising Zimbabwean elections cannot be found in the Western elections anymore. The security forces of Western nations do not interfere in the electoral processes of their countries as do Zimbabwean security forces. Therefore whereas Western elections are free and fair, Zimbabwean elections have never been free and fair. Thus candidates who lose elections in the Western world lose free and fair elections whereas Zimbabwean candidates who lose elections do not lose free and fair elections.
Stated in other words, Presidential candidates who lose elections in the Western democracies lose to legitimately elected presidents. Candidates who lose elections in Zimbabwe, on the other, hand lose those elections to illegitimately elected presidents. The conclusion of an election process in the western world ushers in a legitimate government whereas the opposite is true for Zimbabwe. Therefore the moral justification of stepping down after an unsuccessful bid for president in the West cannot be used to justify stepping aside of losing presidential candidate in Zimbabwe.
The next question is whether or not Morgan Tsvangirai has lost any presidential election in Zimbabwe. In 2002 Robert Mugabe was pronounced winner of the Zimbabwean presidential election in extremely controversial circumstances. These circumstances included mass murders and selective arrests of MDC activists and the stuffing of ballots by Zanu PF. Tsvangirai then challenged the election results in 2002. However, the Zimbabwean High Court set on the petition up to the time of the next elections. To this date no decision has been passed by the Courts on Tsvangirai's election challenge of 2002. Why then, one may ask would anybody think that in the face of an undetermined election challenge, it can be said that Mugabe definitely and legitimately won the 2002 election and that Tsvangirai definitely and legitimately lost the same election.
On 29 March, 2008, Morgan Tsvangirai won the Presidential election. The notorious delay by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), headed by a former soldier, rumoured to be fiercely loyal to Mugabe in announcing the presidential election results are now a matter of historical record. Zanu PF and the state agents went on to conjure a Presidential Run-off Election.
The violence that was unleashed against Tsvangirai and the MDC culminated in the death of over 300 MDC members and supporters. Mugabe and Zanu PF were prosecuting an undeclared civil war in Zimbabwe. Because the whole Presidential Election Run Off had been converted into a massive and dangerous military operation, Tsvangirai advisedly withdrew from that election. How then can anyone say that Tsvangirai lost on 29 March 2008? How, further, can anybody argue that Tsvangirai lost the Run Off election that he withdrew from?
Many people have accused Tsvangirai of losing the July 31, 2013 election. SADC and the AU have categorically stated that although the election was largely peaceful and free it was not fair. They correctly found out that Tsvangirai and the MDC were denied access to the Voter's Roll and other pertinent election material. Further he was denied access to the public media and could not adequately market his Party and his policies through the public media. Everybody knows that Tsvangirai and the MDC were subject to sting security operations in spite of the new Constitution that prohibited members of the security forces from meddling in Zimbabwean politics. The work of Nikuv in circumventing the will of the people of Zimbabwe shall go down the annals of history as one of the most heinous crimes perpetrated by that Israeli mafia upon the people of Zimbabwe.
Miffed by the electoral injustice that characterised the 2013 election, Morgan Tsvangirai mounted a Constitutional Court challenge on the election. He was then denied access to key election material to use for purposes of his petition. He was also denied the right to lead oral evidence from his key witnesses in support of his case. After being subjected to this injustice, Tsvangirai withdrew his petition. Therefore the legal validity of the 2013 election was not allowed to be put to test. MDC remains fortified in its insistence that the 2013 election in Zimbabwe was a monumental fraud. In fact this was a huge military operation disguised as an election.
Africa has enough examples of presidents who did not make it to State House on the first attempt. President Michael Sata of Zambia and Former President Abdulaye Wade of Senegal are examples that come to mind. The World must appreciate that those who are contesting elections against Zanu PF in Zimbabwe are fighting against a dictatorship which has been entrenched for over 33 years something that people in the Western democracies seem to have forgotten about.
Thus, the argument that Morgan Tsvangirai must step down on the basis of unfavourable election outcomes is not well grounded. The fact that Mugabe is in State House now and that Tsvangirai is not does not necessarily mean that it is Mugabe who should legitimately be in that State House. Victimising Tsvangirai for clearly manipulated election results is merely victimising the victim.
This article was first published by ChangeZimbabwe.