WHEN independent thinkers describe Zimbabwe as an authoritarian kleptocracy, some political charlatans furiously oppose this, arguing that the country’s so-called democratic credentials are solid.
They cite the holding of regular multi-party elections, the existence of a Parliament featuring opposition representatives and a judiciary that occasionally finds against the status quo.
Their convenient argument is that these are all attributes of a decent democracy and that, in any event, there is no perfect democracy under the sun.
They are peddling fallacies, of course. There is no democracy in Zimbabwe. What credible election can we talk about? Elections in this country have been a monumental charade since 1980.
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime has just hammered the final nail in the electoral coffin.
In a brazen case of electoral fraud and deceit, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has blatantly facilitated the daylight robbery of voters. Take the example of Mabvuku-Tafara constituency in Harare.
Voters have been denied their right to elect their preferred MP through the imposition of Zanu PF candidate and gold baron Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya.
The people’s choice and main opposition legislator Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi was undemocratically barred from standing in Saturday’s by-elections.
Kufahakutizwi was elected MP in the August general elections, defeating Sakupwanya, but was removed through recalls coordinated by controversial activist Sengezo Tshabangu who is supported by the ruling Zanu PF, state security agents, embittered political opportunists, the executive, Parliament and the judiciary.
The Mabvuku-Tafara issue has deceit and blood spattered all over it. After Kufahakutizwi had been recalled, the inconsistent and incoherent Tshabangu said it had been done my mistake.
The CCC candidate went to court to confirm his eligibility to stand in the by-elections, but the same Tshabangu opposed his move.
Meanwhile, Zec jumped in and said Kufahakutizwi had also been disqualified by the High Court.
Through that web of deceit and gaslighting the public, Zec declared Sakupwanya duly elected unopposed. This is naked fraud.
In the run-up to the by-elections, Kufahakutizwi’s campaign pillar, Pastor Tapfumaneyi Masaya, was abducted and killed by brutes connected to the state, Zanu PF and Sakupwanya.
What it means is that Sakupwanya is now MP through brazen fraud and blood-spilling typical of Zanu PF throughout its history.
One of the tragic outcomes of Zimbabwean repression is the role of the judiciary in this catastrophic situation. The professional reputations of judges and magistrates have been defiled beyond repair, particularly on political matters. Repeatedly, the judges have partisanly sided with Tshabangu as they pander to his arbitrary actions to remove popularly elected representatives of the people.
Even though Tshabangu’s case is based on wilful falsehoods and brazen lies throughout the plot and sub-plots, the executive, Parliament and the judiciary are supporting him to serve Zanu PF’s political and his own personal interests.
This is happening while badly damaging state institutions and the country’s image.
In the 1980s, long-time dictator Robert Mugabe tried to entrench a one-party state, with devastating consequences for the country. Mnangagwa now thinks he can succeed where Mugabe came to grief.
A one-party state is doomed to failure. It can enable Zanu PF overlords to stifle dissent and suppress alternate perspectives for a while, limiting the ability for diverse political views and ideas to be represented, but in the long run the unmitigated oppression leads to national ruin.
The Zanu PF regime is clearly incapable of reform. There is a heavy price to pay.