Tomorrow, 31 July, Zimbabweans will be going to the Polls. Despite pleas from the opposition parties, from the leaders of the Southern African Development Community, and even from President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was patently unready for the mammoth task awaiting it, and that the constitutional safeguards demanded by observers, voters and their representatives, have not yet been put into place, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cohorts are pushing on ahead, against all advice and protests, with yet another blatantly rigged, uneven and fatally flawed election.
Zimbabweans are bracing themselves, after months of propaganda, intimidation, threats, terrorism and violence that goes along with any election in Zimbabwe, for the inevitable clash.
Terrorism and Intimidation
The president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should have been the president of Zimbabwe long ago. After all, his party received most of the votes in the last two elections. Yet through terrorism and intimidation, Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF Marxist party has tenaciously clung to power even while the economy imploded around them, through their incredibly short-sighted and destructive socialist policies. In Zimbabwe the party with the most votes remains the opposition and the party rejected, time and again, by the voters, remains "the government!"
A Track Record of Failure
MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai declared on Saturday, 27 July at Chinhoyi that: "ZANU-PF has never embraced democracy. It believes in frog marching and coercing people… If ZANU-PF asks you to vote for them, ask them what they want to do in the next five years, which they have failed to do for the past 33 years!"
A Pathetic Basket Case
Tsvangirai pointed to Mugabe's current election message, saying that it lacked substance and failed to deal with any of the real issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe. "Mugabe has nothing to offer the people of Zimbabwe. Look how he keeps dwelling on history of war of liberation, without telling people what he intends to do when elected into government. This country was once the bread basket of Southern Africa, but now it is the basket case to the extent of sourcing food from Zambia…This scenario is pathetic considering that most of the farmers chased away by the Mugabe regime are the same white farmers who are now producing for Zambia!"
"ZANU-PF wants to share the small cake that is left of this country whilst we in the MDC want to create more wealth and more opportunities for the people of Zimbabwe. Employment can only be created if closed industries are opened and if investors are welcomed back into the country. ZANU-PF has destroyed the economy by chasing away investors and looting the economy of what was left."
Morgan Tsvangirai declared: "Mugabe stole an election in 2002. He stole the election in 2008. This time we want to tell him that he must not steal again."
Incompetence and Corruption
Tsvangirai declared that even 3 days before the elections, the MDC had still not been shown the Voters Roll. He accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of printing millions more ballots than there were voters and of throwing away ballot papers from areas where the MDC was strong. "The ZEC messed up the special votes of 70,000 people. In two days they could not handle the special votes. How are you going to handle the 6.2 million voters who are going to line up on one day?" The security forces were forced to vote separately so that their votes would not be anonymous.
Many Zimbabweans despair of all hope. Many have expressed to us their frustration that no matter how often they vote and how many vote against Mugabe's brutal dictatorship, the outcome continues to be manipulated and the people's wishes frustrated time and again.
A Message of Hope
However, Eddie Cross, MDC Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South, has an optimistic view. He points out that this time it could be different. Yes, the MDC had beaten ZANU-PF in the 2008 Elections, and yet only managed to be allowed a junior role in the government, still dominated by ZANU-PF who controlled the entire security apparatus.
Security Forces Controlled by ZANU-PF
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has 17,000 agents on the payroll. The Zimbabwe National Army: 45,000; the Zimbabwe Republic Police: 35,000; Support Unit: 9,000; the Youth Militia: at least 50,000.
Yes, ZANU-PF still controls the State media - the radio, T.V. and newspapers, which only promote ZANU-PF propaganda.
Social Media Revolution
However, the mass media in Zimbabwe has become increasing irrelevant and side-lined as almost everyone in Zimbabwe now has a cell phone and access to social media. Even tribal elders are discovering Facebook and Twitter. Atrocities, irregularities and fraud of ZANU-PF are now broadcast throughout the country, within hours, by privately controlled, hand held, social media. The information war is being lost by the state media as people are turning more and more to the alternative media. Eddie Cross believes that the IT revolution is enabling the people to do an end run around the state propaganda apparatus.
Rebuilding the Ruins of Zimbabwe
He writes: "To the astonishment of everyone, the arrival of the MDC in government had an immediate and dramatic impact. Over the past four years the colours of ZANU-PF have been clearly shown by the stark contrast between the two parties in government. The corruption of ZANU-PF has been clearly revealed, as have the incompetence of their team of ministers. Despite many years in charge… from inflation levels that doubled prices every few hours, …from shortages and queues for everything, to free abundance now, albeit at a price. Our hospitals are now functioning as are our schools, with over 95% of all school children going back to the class room.
"We have often referred to the Government of National Unity as the marriage between a horse and a donkey. The people all know who the donkey is in this relationship! Then there is the understanding that ZANU-PF may hold the guns and the sticks, but when we vote, they can be defeated, and they then will find it impossible to do what they threatened, to punish those they hold responsible for their defeat. So, our people go to rallies and wear the regalia, but when it comes to the day when they have to choose, they will vote for the people who put bread on their tables. It is as clear as that, and this time, the shift is so dramatic that no amount of rigging will rescue ZANU-PF from defeat!"
A Time for Action
We certainly hope that Eddie Cross's optimistic analysis is correct. We pray that the people of Zimbabwe will have the courage and the tenacity to vote Mugabe out of office, yet once again. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Decades of Disaster
The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for far too long. Over 33 years they have suffered under this corrupt, incompetent, oppressive dictatorship of Robert Mugabe and his Marxist ZANU. This is the legacy of Jimmy Carter's State Department, turning the paradise of Rhodesia into the hell-hole of Zimbabwe.
An Urgent Call for Prayer and Action
Please pray earnestly and urgently for the Christians in Zimbabwe as they stand at this volatile crossroads. Mobilise the prayer, concern and support of your friends, family, congregation and neighbours. Intercede for the longsuffering people of Zimbabwe. Speak up for them and support their struggle for Faith and freedom.
"When justice is done it brings joy to the righteous and terror to evil doers." Proverbs 21:15
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
See other articles on Zimbabwe:
Praying for Justice
Marxists Loot Zimbabwe Diamonds
Remember Rhodesia – Pray for Zimbabwe
Mugabe Tsunami in Zimbabwe
Evicted Farmers Continue to Feed Zimbabwe
Crimes Against Humanity
Violence Continues Against MDC
Chinese Colonialism in Zimbabwe
Chinese Arms in Africa
Reclaiming Zimbabwe for Christ
Zimbabwe and Zambia - A Tale of Two Countries and Three Religions
Zimbabwe - A Lesson in How to Destroy Christian Civilisation