— Comment — Protect people’s vote from anarchists

RATIONAL, progressive Zimbabweans should be commended for heeding President Mnangagwa’s call for peace before, during and after Monday’s harmonised elections. The elections attracted a record turnout, especially among youthful voters keen to chart the destiny of the Second Republic.

Across generations, Zimbabweans spoke and they spoke emphatically amid indications they resolved to uphold Operation Restore Legacy that culminated in the ascension of incumbent President, E.D. Mnangagwa.

The harmonised elections were indeed a showcase of the restoration of our hard-won legacy of electoral democracy.
Bar a few rogue elements that circulated fake news throughout election night manifest in unsigned V11 forms that gave the illusion of an MDC-Alliance victory, millions of Zimbabweans conducted themselves with the requisite decorum.

A V11 Form carries results from the polling station and an authentic one should be signed by agents of all contesting parties. Information from the signed V11 Form is then recorded on a V23 Form that collates polling station results within a ward.

Both signed forms, which carry results of presidential, National Assembly and council elections, are then forwarded to the National Command Centre which announces the official results.

By circulating fictitious V11 forms, MDC-Alliance leaders were trying to lay the groundwork for alleged fraud pursuant to refusing to concede defeat as we saw the garrulous Tendai Biti do yesterday even as the official results were still to be announced.

It was lost on Biti that the inclusivity and transparency with which ZEC conducted the plebiscite, the manner Government opened doors to local, regional and international observers exposed him for the clown that he is.
Chamisa, Biti and company need to be reminded that Zimbabwe is bigger than their boyish egos.

They should not mistake the new administration’s tolerance for weakness.
The State has the requisite legal and institutional apparatus to maintain peace so that peace-loving Zimbabweans go about their business without hindrance.

To this end, we urge the State to rein in Biti who has been asking for a rod for some time.
Biti is a qualified lawyer, an officer of the court who should be conversant with statutory and constitutional provisions that mandate the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to be the sole announcer of election results.

This is not the first time Biti has thumbed his generous nose at the law. He did it in 2008 and again in 2013. He keeps breaking the law because so far there have been no comebacks.

We urge the State to deploy the requisite legal and coercive instruments to protect the people’s vote from confusionists and anarchists who think they are oradined to preside over Zimbabwe even without the consent of the governed.
Enough is enough!

Biti needs to be taught, and taught the hard way if need be, that elections are not zero-sum games as they yield any of three possible outcomes; a win, a loss or a stalemate.

And by opting to contest, every candidate accepts to be bound by any of these outcomes and should be magnanimous in victory and in defeat. As President Mnangagwa always exhorts, “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
It needs to be jealously protected.

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