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By Benjamin Semwayo – Political Activist

With opinion polls predicting a devastating defeat for Zanu-PF, and the party mounting a spirited effort to have the elections held as soon as possible, it is not difficult to see where its impetus comes from. The party has used the same depraved tactics at every election, and although even the most naïve voter has become aware of its decadent manner, it continues to sing from the same old hymn sheet in the hope that it will once again muscle its was through the elections and emerge with another stolen election. Violence and deceit are the only weapons it has in its arsenal, without which there is no other way it can hope to win the elections.

Probably the most challenging political riddle in the history of Zimbabwe has been how to unshackle the country from the brutal stranglehold of the mafia that has held the country hostage for three decades. In public, most people in Zimbabwe praise Mugabe and his Zanu-pf because that is the only public position that they are allowed to take, but in hushed tones and behind closed doors, everyone talks about how they have become sick and tired of the oppressive regime, including many in the topmost sections of the Zanu-PF hierarchy itself, which is why the Wiki leaks revelations have become such a pain in the party’s side. Strategists have tried but failed to come up with an effective solution to the challenge that the country faces. Clandestine consultations have been held far and wide, but none have been effective in loosening Mugabe’s grip on power.

Many international commentators assert that the failure for Zimbabweans to effect a regime change in their country is down to the submissive nature of the Zimbabwean population. Zimbabweans are viewed as too docile and timid, afraid to make huge sacrifices that will ensure a better deal for themselves and their posterity. Calls for protests and uprisings fall on deaf ears because people are too scared to lose their lives, and would rather let Mugabe and his lieutenants’ trample all over them as long as they are left with some life in them. Their hope is that the international community will come to their rescue.

For their part, Mugabe and his coterie know how scared the Zimbabweans are and how they will not raise a finger to free themselves as long as they are shown the black hole in the barrel of a gun. They have killed opponents before as an example of what they do to those who do not conform to their mentality, and everyone knows they will do it again in full view of the international community, whose bark is worse than its bite. The international community will rant and fume, and further than that they cannot do anything. That has been proved over the last three decades.

Elections have been held and stolen in broad daylight, and unlike many countries that would not countenance electoral fraud and erupt in violent protests that render the country ungovernable. Zimbabweans, afraid to take their destiny into their own hands, console themselves with the thought that the international community has taken note, and will take drastic measures to liberate them.

Zimbabweans are committed to democratic processes in their quest for a legitimately chosen government, and the opposition parties, unlike Zanu-PF, have no appetite for the shedding of blood in order to gain political power. Unfortunately Zanu-PF, rather than be ashamed by the moral high ground taken by their opponents, interpret it as a sign of weakness that they must capitalise on. The result is that they step up their campaign of terror, which has always worked in the past.

 The MDC, unwavering in its belief in democratic regime change, has published the minimum conditions under which it will participate in the next elections. It is insisting on the levelling of the playing field, which is atrociously skewed in favour of Zanu-PF. They have demanded a raft of changes, including the updating of the voters’ roll, the freeing of the airwaves to other political voices other than Zanu-PF, fairness in the application of the law, non-partisan representation in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and many other crucial changes.

Without a doubt this is what needs to be done and so fair is this arrangement that the MDC does not even need to make a demand for it. All things being equal, this should be the default setting for elections to be held under, but Zanu-PF, white with fear and knowing that they do not stand a dog’s chance in a free and fair election, have dug in their heels deeper resisting the changes.

The bad news for Zimbabweans to think that the MDC has a long history of making good decisions but then end up retracting from those decisions with the passage of time. It is every Zimbabwean’s fear that the MDC will be pressured into making costly concessions and shifting its stance, giving Zanu-PF another stolen victory on a platter. It is the duty of every patriotic Zimbabwean to contact the MDC and urge them not to move an iota from their logical stance.