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Election boycott favours Zanu PF



FORMER minister of state in the late prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, Gorden Moyo, has warned against an election boycott by the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change on the basis of flawed electoral processes, saying it will play into the hands of Zanu PF whose leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa idolises the world’s most autocratic presidents with no respect for democracy.


 Moyo, who was an opposition MDC-T legislator for Makokoba constituency in Bulawayo province between 2008 and 2015, said this on Thursday night while speaking during a webinar organised by the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust.

The online discussion topic was “One Week to Go: Will the Elections Take Place and What is Likely to Happen?”.

Moyo is now the director of the Public Policy Research Institute. His stance against an election boycott came after all the other panelists who included top lawyer and ZimRights director Dzikamai Bere and the Elections Resource Centre director Barbra Bhebe had pointed out that the elections are already flawed and will not reflect the will of the people.

 Sapes Trust director Ibbo Mandaza also shared a similar view. However, Moyo said while he agreed that the coming elections are flawed by a number of factors such as a captured judiciary, a discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and a biased security sector, among others, boycotting would be a worse option.

 He highlighted that Zanu PF would not be bothered by the boycott because Mnangagwa takes inspiration from autocratic leaders like Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, China’s Xi Jinping and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who all disregard free and fair elections.

“We all agree that contesting in a flawed election is dangerous, but boycotting will be even more dangerous. Zanu PF will simply continue as if nothing happened. Mnangagwa already sees as his role models some of the most autocratic leaders like Putin, Xi Jinping and Lukashenko who do not respect elections. Boycotting the elections will help the autocrats,” Moyo said.

“We must also agree that we are being ruled by an executive-military alliance. If you stay away from elections, inadvertently you may fall into a trap that the autocrats wish you to be in. It is more dangerous not to participate.”

 Moyo also highlighted that while the electoral playing field in 2008 was uneven for Tsvangirai, he went on to win and amass a lot of MPs which gave him leverage that resulted in a Government of National Unity.

 Crucially also, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential polls. Moyo insisted that the opposition and Chamisa must soldier on against the adversaries and see what happens after the elections. He hinted that the opposition may in fact benefit from fights within Zanu PF as there is already evidence of internal ructions pitting Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantine Chiwenga.

“There is contestation for power between number 1 and number 2. Number 2 is also waiting for his chance to rule because he staged the military coup.

 “They fear themselves more than the opposition. Soon after the elections, we may see more ructions in Zanu PF. There is also the factor of the military. We may see something like what happened in 2017 if it feels that the elections will not help them,” said Moyo.

He further pointed out that the divisions in Zanu PF are easily seen by the creation of Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz) which is bidding for Mnangagwa instead of that being done by party structures.

“Faz is also a reflection of how Mnangagwa idolises Putin as he has implemented the strategy of using parallel structures. In Russia Putin created the Wagner group,” said Moyo.

As a way forward, Bere suggested that after the elections there must a comprehensive and inclusive all-stakeholder discussion that will find solutions to all the problems of Zimbabwe. He insisted that Zimbabweans must not bank on election observers to attract international attention and intervention.

 “What we have seen is that the elections observers just come to tick the boxes, condemn the elections and go to other countries with the next elections. We have fallen into election markets. The solidarity by international observers will not be very strong.

“Zimbabweans must therefore have a broadbased multiple stakeholder solution. The solution must be national and comprehensive,” he said.

 Mandaza insisted that it is not good for the 2017 military coup to be forgotten because it created a constitutional crisis.

 He expressed shock that the opposition is not making noise about how the coup can be cured.

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