2023: A repetition of the past or it’s enough!

By Zakhele Maphosa

Is 2023 a foregone conclusion in the eyes of Zanu PF and its pillar of support the national army?

Recently, we have heard Zanu PF leaders using that language with the intention of demoralising the opposition and its enthusiastic supporters.

As witnessed from the previous elections, such statements should not be taken lightly given the scale of rigging and desire to cling onto power at all cost by this corrupt government.

Is 2023 going to be any different with little political time left for opposition parties to organise their structures and run well-funded campaigns.

2023 is drawing nearer with a lot of political parties risking getting caught off-guard with minimal or shoddy preparations. There is so much drivel spewed by the government propaganda mouthpiece, The Herald with every headline carefully selected to paint President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a Saint’s brush.

What has dramatically changed with the ruling party? Absolutely nothing but just a continuation of what former President Robert Mugabe and his cronies were doing. Zanu PF declared their intentions to organise 5 million votes which they seem too determined to achieve despite presiding over a patently ailing economy which has precipitated untold suffering among Zimbabweans at home and abroad.

These occurrences should be an eye opener for the electorate and opposition parties.

Late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai spent years challenging the country’s electoral laws which are skewed in favour of the ruling party.

ZEC has been presented as an independent body by the government. However, the reality on the ground is contrary to these aforementioned statements.

Previous elections which have been fiercely contested were marred by controversy due to corrupted tallying and declaration of results by ZEC. Legal challenges which followed these chaotic elections were nothing but a façade in the eyes of the world which is well aware that Zanu PF long captured the country’s judicial system.

The question I have for all opposition parties on the ground is; what plans do you have to stop Zanu PF from stealing another election and perpetuating the cycle of poverty and suffering in what was once a prosperous country?

Since independence, the electorate has been subjected to the politics of the stomach; bags of maize, fertiliser, cooking oil etc have been freely donated by Zanu PF to woo unsuspecting voters.

Aided by their access to state resources, they have managed to run these programmes which are nothing but beneficial to Zanu PF.

The citizens are often left wallowing in abject poverty soon after the conclusion of elections with no politicians in sight as they are already out enjoying the benefits of their newfound positions. This is detrimental to the development of our country.

Instead of focusing on long term plans that will benefit communities and future generations at large, unfortunately, it’s only visible actions for electioneering.

We have witnessed POLAD which is nothing but an enrichment scheme aimed at trapping those who participate in it. This has ensnared some opposition leaders who are now firmly in Zanu PFs web of deception. Purchasing elite cars when there is hardly any ambulance in some hospitals defies any logic.

The timeframe towards election date requires opposition parties to be visible on the ground, connecting with the electorate. This means commissioning structures from branch to district levels instead of putting all eggs in one basket, which is the presidency. Winning local and parliamentary elections outrightly and not affording Zanu PF the majority seats they enjoy at the moment, which allows them to amend the constitution as they desire.

Building local bases will also ensure that the presidential candidates will have a better chance of garnering more votes.

Unity in doing this is required to free Zimbabwe from the jaws of this corrupt government full of looters who don’t care about you and me but themselves and their families.

I urge all opposition organisations to unite in their quest to unseat Zanu PF.

This is not an MDC or Zapu problem but a nationwide problem which requires people to participate fully.

Zakhele Maphosa is writing in his personal capacity, personal opinions not representing any organisation in these articles. He can be contacted on zakhe25@gmail.com or 00447482148413 for more information.