This pre-election period has been as eventful as it is important.
What with the panic-stricken MDC-Alliance behaving like a headless chicken trying to make up for its five-year absentee politician stunt, which has seen most of the electorate getting fed up with its empty promises?
One of the areas which the political grouping has been so rabidly obsessed with is the electoral preparations, such as the biometric voters’ roll and the printing of the ballot papers, especially those relating to the presidential elections.
Apart from rallies in the countryside, where the alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa has been campaigning for no one except himself, the alliance has literally pulled its troops from the electoral battle ground and mounted a garrison around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s tent, all its weaponry aimed at the commission’s chairwoman, Justice Priscilla Chigumba.
The grouping is even attempting to rope in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for them to replace ZEC in running the forthcoming elections. Despite having lawyers among its ranks, the alliance is asking for the legally impossible, given that ZEC is in place via the Constitution and the two regional bodies cannot run elections for a sovereign member state.
The opposition has been cornered and, in frustration and anger, is directing its energies at ZEC instead of wooing the electorate on the ground.
Although Chamisa has held more campaign rallies than his opponents since the beginning of the election season, his major undoing has been his message.
He uses the valuable time to either insult President Mnangagwa or give pie-in-the-sky promises such as village airports to people whose needs include basics such as jobs, access to affordable healthcare and education.
Legislators and councillors from the MDC-T Chamisa faction have not helped matters either.
They squandered the electorate’s valuable trust and votes by not serving them.
This include Chamisa himself who, as the Kuwadzana legislator, did not do anything meaningful for his constituency during his tenure.
They, therefore, have no kind words for him. Realising that it is poised for another definite, dazzling and dizzying defeat at the hands of ZANU-PF, the alliance is now gunning for anything that can be used to discredit the forthcoming elections and to mount election petitions in August.
Those who are familiar with the MDC-T Chamisa faction’s weak political mindset will remember how in 2013 it tried to besmirch that year’s electoral process and results in the vain pursuit of its “tongai tione” sabotage politics, which was aimed at questioning ZANU-PF’s emphatic win and compromising its legitimacy.
It is in this context that Zimbabweans should understand the alliance’s current crazy crusade against Justice Chigumba and her team.
It is evident that ZANU-PF’s impeccable record and its clear message of servant leadership and economic revival are running rings around the politically immature alliance and its leader, causing sleepless nights to Chamisa and his coterie of hangers-on.
While it is the alliance’s constitutional right as a stakeholder in the forthcoming polls to take an interest in the preparatory processes of the elections, it needs to strike the fine balance between safeguarding its interests and ensuring that it does not infringe on ZEC’s constitutionally assured independence.
There ought to be a clear-cut demarcation between pursuing its interests and trying to usurp the commission’s mandate in the name of transparency.
The alliance is behaving as if it were Justice Chigumba’s boss, to whom she should report. The alliance has lost the battle of the electorate and it is now fighting the wrong battle with ZEC to make up for its failure to use the last five years profitably. It is fighting the wrong opponent in the wrong battle.
An examination of the litany of the alliance’s so-called grievances gives one a window into the frivolousness that has come to characterise the MDC-T Chamisa faction over the years.
For a political grouping which claims to be in the running to form Zimbabwe’s next government to holler itself loud, long and hoarse over the positioning of President Mnangagwa’s name, image and party logo on the ballot paper is just contemptible.
But then this is not surprising given that its record over the years shows that it majors in the minor.
The alliance has also made a lot of noise about the printing of the ballot papers. It has claimed that it was not allowed to witness the printing of the ballot paper at Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR).
The printing facilities at FPR have always been used for the printing of bank notes and security documents, so for opposition party officials to clamour to walk freely into such a high security area under the guise of witnessing ballot printing is asking for too much.
They asked for access to the printing facility, which was granted and were shown the printing process from the permissible distance. Anything more than this would not be different from asking to take over the printing from FPR personnel.
The MDC-Alliance and its private media foot soldiers created some furore over allegations that over 120 registrants had used 100086 Unit G, Seke in Chitungwiza as their residential address. It turned out that the address was a shrine where many people met regularly for prayers.
The reason for their use of one address was of the alliance’s making.
Its main member, the MDC-T Chamisa faction, during the constitution-making process, insisted on the proof of residence, arguing that ZANU-PF would bus its members from one area to another to boost its electoral fortunes.
The requirement grossly inconvenienced many voter registrants, who did not possess the required documents hence the use of a convenient addresses such as a church shrine.
Talk of the opposition being hoist by own petard! The political grouping has also exposed its crass ignorance by claiming that ZEC can use chromatographic paper, which would transfer the X marks made by voters in favour of other parties to ZANU-PF.
No person in his right mind would believe this hare-brained mumbo jumbo. Only an ill-prepared and very afraid opposition would believe its own hallucinatory imagination. Chromatographic paper is a kind of paper which is used in the scientific experiment for separating the different components of ink and not to transfer ink.
If an opposition, which is dying to rule this country, cannot tell the difference between the two despite being replete with people who profess (pardon the pun) to be learned among its leadership, one wonders what kind of future it has.
With this hopelessly poor kind of political mettle, it is no wonder that they have failed to dislodge ZANU-PF from power in two decades.