ZIMBABWE EMBASSY, Windhoek
Zimbabweans go to the polls tomorrow. The election fever that has gripped the country and the world for the past few months will come to a crescendo. Zimbabweans will cast their ballots to elect their Councillors, Senators, Members of the House of Assembly and President in the first harmonised polls to be held in the country.
It is a moment when Zimbabweans have to display their political maturity in defence of their sovereignty and natural resources.
They ought to correctly identify the source of the difficulties they are facing, which are the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe after the land acquisition and redistribution exercise.
The purpose of sanctions is to force people to make a choice that they would otherwise not make when not under pressure. It is an extreme form of coercion and manipulation. But throughout history at such trying times those that have displayed an indomitable spirit and remained resilient have triumphed.
The authors of the sanctions know that the decision that President Mugabe took to deliver his liberation war promises to the people was not only a right but also popular decision. Yes, he had delivered on his promises regarding education and health for all, he had delivered peace but he was yet to deliver the big one, which was the land and the control of the wealth of the country.
This is a decision that would set Zimbabwe on the path of prosperity and complete independence from the former colonial masters. In so doing, it would be setting a precedent for the rest of the African continent – that Africans can be their own masters.
Now, we find ourselves in an invidious position where the people are being coerced to repudiate that heroic act.
The question before us is whether or not we will choose to stand for the truth and up-hold what is right.
President Mugabe, who goes into a presidential election tomorrow against candidates that represent neo-colonial positions, is a living symbol of that anti-colonial stance, hence his repeated declarations that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.
What voters need to understand is that this is not a normal election. It is not an election that is not seeking a change of government but of regime. It is not just seeking to change the occupants of the government positions but to reverse the whole political and economic system, removing the liberation ethos that has characterised the rule of ZANU-PF.
This is why ZANU-PF is campaigning under the theme, “Defence of our land and sovereignty; economic prosperity through empowerment”.
What ZANU-PF is appealing to voters for is patience so that it can bring to fruition the economic empowerment programmes that it has initiated and thus complete the revolution.
The MDC is offering false, quick solutions. At their rallies their message has been about the “friends” whom they claim will bring money to revive the economy. They do not say what the money would be in exchange for.
There is no precedent anywhere in the world where the MDC’s western friends have poured out money gratis. Where they have effected regime change people have ended up worse off. Recent examples of regime changes are there for people to see in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The truth is that Zimbabwe’s prosperity will only come out of hard work and bringing full value of its natural resources. Zimbabwe simply needs to produce its own food and to produce more than it consumes.
Now that the people have taken control of their land and will be taking control of mines and other centres of production, what remains is for them to have a production mindset and not a consumption one.
That is the only sure way of bringing prosperity to the people. Prosperity will not come from western “friends”, it will come from producing and adding value to the products before exporting them.
Supporters of various political parties vying for office have been canvassing for voters in a peaceful manner. The level of political maturity is to be applauded. Prophets of doom in the donor driven Non-Governmental Organisation sector, who derive their livelihood from perpetuating a bad image of the country, have been left with egg on their faces because so far there have been not been any significant incidents of violence except the intra-party skirmishes in the Morgan Tsvangirayi faction of the MDC.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
In a briefing on 24 March 2008, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission revealed that it was on course to successfully holding the four-in-one elections and that the chaos predicted by some of the country’s detractors would not occur. More than 90 000 polling officers have been deployed to polling stations countrywide. The ZEC has identified 8 998 polling stations countrywide and each polling station would be controlled by a presiding officer and 10 polling officers.
On 24 March 2008, postal ballots were sealed in the presence of various political parties. The police applied for 8 000 postal ballots. The postal ballot papers will be counted with other ballot papers cast on March 29 in those respective wards.
The accreditation of observers and journalists, both local and foreign, has gone well. A total of 2 400 local and 70 foreign observers had been accredited by 24 March 2008; 400 local journalists, 9 from the SADC region and 5 international reporters have been accredited.
There has been an interest in the election from the international media with war correspondents from CNN and BBC applying to cover the elections. More than 300 foreign journalists have applied to cover the polls.
SADC Observer Mission
The SADC Observer Mission which is headed by Cde Jose Marcos Barrica, the Angolan Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture said on 19 March 2008 that the climate was right to hold elections. Cde Barrica further told the EU and other Western Ambassadors that they should not prejudge the polls. The SADC Observer Mission has deployed more than 130 observers. Cde Barrica has held several meetings with political parties, civic society and ambassadors accredited to the Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
SADC Electoral Commission Forum
SADC ECF head Reverend Felix Mokobi said the regional elections body was impressed with preparations put in place by ZEC for a free, fair and transparent election. – Zimbabwe Embassy