Tsvangirai Plans to Rig 2018 Election
During the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)’s 2014 congress, party members resolved to boycott all elections in Zimbabwe until internationally accepted conditions for holding free, fair and credible elections were in place.
The resolution was used by the party to boycott by-elections in June 2015, costing the sinking opposition movement a massive 21 parliamentary seats vacated by party members who were expelled for demanding the resignation of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai following his defeat by president Robert Mugabe in 2013.
Soon after the by-elections, however, party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora announced that the party’s top brass had decided to reverse the congress resolution and participate in all national and local elections. The reason for this sudden about-turn remained a mystery as the party rank and file were not consulted and did not endorse the move. The question then arose: why had the MDC-T suddenly decided to participate in elections when the conditions had not changed and the electoral field remained skewed in favour of Mugabe and Zanu PF?
The question was asked by Western diplomats recently during a secret meeting with the party’s secretary for domestic affairs, Lilian Mpofu Timveos.
Mpofu Timveos revealed that Tsvangirai is scouting for an ‘Israeli election consultant’ to help him rig the 2018 presidential elections in his favour.
“Mugabe rigged the 2013 election by getting a consultant from Israel, Nikuv. We are also going to Israel to get our own consultant,” Mpofu Timveos said.
“I take it that you are joking,” said a Western official.
“It’s not a joke,” Mpofu Timveos replied, much to the shock of the diplomats.
Mpofu Timveos claimed that the 2013 election had been rigged by “one man sitting at a computer”. She claimed the election had been manipulated entirely by one person merely changing ward and constituency details of voters on the electoral roll. Despite this widespread claim, the MDC-T has failed to produce any evidence for its assertions.
Former party secretary-general Tendai Biti said the party lost to Mugabe because of a poor manifesto, which could not match the wild promises made by Zanu PF. Other analysts blame Tsvangirai’s ill-fated decision to join Mugabe in a so-called ‘government of national unity’ (GNU) in 2009 as well as sex and corruption scandals that were exposed on election eve, leading to widespread voter apathy. Mugabe shamelessly abused Tsvangirai’s trust during the GNU and used the brief respite from crushing Western sanctions to rebuild his own collapsing party, which had lost the initial round of voting and its parliamentary majority in the 2008 elections.
The analysts said MDC-T members were also miffed that their leaders had apparently joined Mugabe’s gravy train while they wallowed in poverty. Former MDC-T deputy treasurer and ex-cabinet minister Elton Mangoma confirmed this mass frustration in a 2013 letter to Tsvangirai, in which he blamed the party leader for womanizing and other officials for building personal fortunes at the expense of the people.
The MDC-T recently bowed to Western pressure to take part in elections even if the ground was uneven. Diplomats argued that the party would lose visibility and support if it did not take part in elections.
The MDC-T used to be a formidable opposition to Mugabe but has lost credibility due to internal squabbles triggered by Tsvangirai’s refusal to give up the party presidency, which he has held for 16 years, according to analysts. Former secretary-general Welshman Ncube accused Tsvangirai of working with the Central Intelligence Organisation to keep Mugabe in power. Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere said Tsvangirai was an effective ‘commissar’ for the ruling party and thanked him for allowing Mugabe’s party to take the 21 by-election seats recently.
Analysts blasted Tsvangirai over the rigging plans.
“The MDC-T leaders have never really proven that they want democracy. They want power at all costs. Instead of building the party and teaching the members about democracy, Tsvangirai is now busy looking for ways to rig, which is unfortunate,” said political analyst Chris Mitchell.
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