Bevan Musoko Correspondent
MDC-Alliance principal, who is also leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Tendai Biti, has once again pledged that Zimbabwe should be subjected to sanctions following ZANU-PF’s victory in the just-ended harmonised elections. Responding to the announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that ZANU-PF had won the Presidential, Parliamentary and local authority elections, Biti said that “we are going to fight this.”
Prior to this, on the eve of the elections, Biti bragged that he would make the country ungovernable if the MDC-Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, did not win the polls.
True to his word, violence broke out in Harare’s Central Business District on August 1, 2018, after ZEC announced the ZANU-PF candidate, President Mnangagwa, was the winner of the Presidential poll.
Six people lost their lives in the subsequent violence which Biti had ominously promised.
Several vehicles, some belonging to ZANU-PF and private individuals and property, were destroyed in the ensuing violence.
Government was forced to order army reinforcements to contain the rioting MDC-Alliance members, 26 of whom were arrested and are out on bail.
Biti went further to threaten that he, together with other Alliance senior members, would make sure the international community did not support the country’s development efforts.
Biti said that “the international community is not going to be fooled by this madness. We will make sure they don’t get a cent. I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you we have done it before.”
Biti’s utterances were in reference to the call for sanctions he, together with the late MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, invited from the European Union, and the United States in 2001, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and economic Recovery Act (zidera).
Those sanctions have wreaked untold suffering on Zimbabwean masses through lack of balance-of-payment support, withdrawal of lines of credit for international trade, confiscation of large sums of money belonging to parastatals by the United Sates Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and general capital flight.
This is exactly the same scenario that Biti is threatening to unleash on Zimbabwe for not voting Chamisa as President.
What Biti, Chamisa and company fail to appreciate is that the people of Zimbabwe have learnt a lot from their scotched earth politics.
It is this mentality of “either-us-or-you-suffer” that has alienated a majority of voters from the opposition party. Tsvangirai did the same thing and eventually passed on without winning the coveted Presidential seat because he based his politics on the suffering of people so that they could revolt against the ZANU-PF Government. Resilient as they are, Zimbabwe endured the MDC-T-induced pain and suffering, in the process voting for ZANU-PF.
In their political blindness and naivety, Biti is following the same route that was travelled by Tsvangirai in the hope that it will yield power for them.
The political doctrine of making people suffer so that they vote for you (Tsvangiraism) has failed in the past. It will fail again, dismally.
Surprisingly, the elections Biti was railing against have received the endorsement of reputable observers, among them, SADC, the African Union, the SADC Electoral Commissions Forum (SADC ECF), COMESA, and the Commonwealth.
Local organisations like the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) and eminent MDC members, such as Eddie Cross, have all acknowledged the freeness and fairness of the polls.
Biti is hoping to ride on the shortcomings that were noted by the European Union Election Observers to incite that bloc to impose further sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Like any other election, there are always points of contestations and possible improvements.
Readers may remember that the EU had adopted a cautious approach towards engaging Zimbabwe under the new dispensation, with known MDC-T ally, Germany, insisting that the bloc would be guided by its relations on how Zimbabwe conducts the elections.
Britain embraced the new dispensation through acknowledging the remarkable progress that was made by President Mnangagwa in the eight months he has been in charge in Zimbabwe.
It remains to be seen how the EU would respond to the election. I shudder to think what the international community would have said had MDC-Alliance vehicles been burnt in the same manner ZANU-PF vehicles were torched at its Harare provincial offices on August 1, 2018.
The majority of Zimbabweans are, however, hopeful that sanity will prevail and the country will be afforded a new chance to progress, together with other nations. Zimbabwe cannot be held to ransom by the ambitions of few political opportunists who would rather step on dead bodies on their way to State House.