Zimbabwe Votes 2008

Welcome to ZimbabweVotes2008, a platform designed to promote a discussion about Zimbabwe's make or break Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held in March 29, 2008. We will discuss the contesting political parties and their strategies, the candidates and their constituancies, and the prospects of the elections providing a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Welcome to the discussion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Simba Makoni for President 2008 – A Chance for Zimbabwe to move away from the polarization of the past and make Zimbabwe to work again.

  1. Zimbabwe’s defining moment

  2. In 2 weeks time, on March 29, 2008, Zimbabweans have a chance to stop their suffering by rejecting the dictatorship in favor of a new dawn in the way they want the affairs of Government to be conducted. While local Government and legislative elections are also very important, the most crucial elections will be that for the Presidency.

Since the 2000 parliamentary elections, Zimbabwe has been a polarized nation – ZANU-PF activists on the one hand and MDC activists on the other. It is interesting to note that while the turnout for the 2000 elections was put at over 70%, subsequent elections saw a decline – 55% in 2002 and 48% in 2005. It can be said that this decline in voter participation was partly due to a significant number of voters leaving the country. I will argue that some Zimbabwean citizens who are not political activists just stayed away from the polls because they had seen that the polarizing message of the two parties in 2002 and 2005 was not providing for their needs.

A New Kind of Politics

In 2005 52% of registered voters did not vote. Yes, a significant number was purposefully disenfranchised through intimidation and the reduction of polling centers in urban areas. I would argue that a significant number needed a different alternative than was available. They wanted a message that is in the middle of the extremes, a message of hope and promise, that Zimbabweans can work together again, whether ZANU-PF, MDC or Independent. There was missing in prior elections, that message that pledges to put Zimbabwe first, before the party and the ‘great’ party leader.

When I listened to DR Simba Makoni, appealing that the 2008 election be a contest of ideas, not weapons, declaring that no one is worth dying or killing for, I said this is my President. That was a new approach – a denunciation of violence as an instrument of political mobilization. Violence has long been known to be President Mugabe’s weapon and sadly there has been talk of the use of violence against opponents even within the MDC itself.

To me Makoni is giving voice to millions of Zimbabwean citizens who are not political activists (ZANU-PF or MDC), and even those in both parties who are in favor of a genuine united platform for all Zimbabweans to make Zimbabwe work again. The people that just want a better life for themselves and their children, not confrontational political activism. Makoni’s message is premised on the fact that we are Zimbabweans first, and then secondly we belong to different political groups. Our diversity should not be an impediment that stops us from working together for the good of our country.

In this election, we need to support the vision that magnifies our strengths as a nation, including our political diversity. We need a president that will rise above party politics and harness the talent of all Zimbabweans from different political formations and civil society organizations. Dr Makoni is the only Presidential candidate I have head speak to that vision.

For details of Dr Makoni’s Vision and his background, which shows clearly that he is the most qualified of the change candidates in this election, visit his websites at the following addresses:

http:// www.smakoni.com

Hijacking the Struggle?

There are those that argue that Dr Makoni is hijacking the struggle, they say Tsvangirai is the man because he has been fighting ZANU-PF for the longest time. This is the same argument that Mugabe has been using, that Zimbabwe has to stick with him no matter what, because he led the struggle for the liberation of the country. While know one can deny Tsvangirai’s heroic contribution against President Mugabe’s dictatorship, in this election we need to be prospective in our outlook – we need to look at the candidate who is better qualified to govern, a candidate who can bring genuine healing not retribution, we need a center candidate that will bring all Zimbabweans from different political persuasions to work together for the good of the country.

If Zimbabwe center of power remains in the extreme right as it is now, Zimbabwe will not work, at the same time an extreme swing to the left may turn out not to be a change of substance, but a just a change of players. What Zimbabwe needs today is constructive engagement not political posturing. It is my considered view that, that genuine engagement platform is Mabambo-Kusile-Dawn Movement.

Diaspora Influence – Call a Relative Campaign

Millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora have been disenfranchised. However, we can have our voice heard through our friends and relatives in Zimbabwe.

Let us join the Call a Relative Campaign – for the next 2 weeks, call a father, mother, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, engage them and ask them to vote against the politics of patronage and vote for a new dawn. Ask them to vote against the politics of party leader worship, but for a future premised on working together, the future that will find strength in Zimbabwe’s political and cultural diversity. Tell your relatives to vote for a new dawn in Zimbabwean politics, tell them to vote for Dr Simba Makoni for President on March 29, 2008.

If you agree with my thought process, join the campaign; pass this article to a friend, if you don’t agree, that is alright, it is your democratic right to have lack of foresight.

Lovemore Ncube

I am a Zimbawean, like many others, hoping for a day that Zimbabwe will work again.



Saturday, February 23, 2008

Makoni is the man of the moment

Raphael Mthombeni (makhiyesenior@yahoo.com)

Sat 2/23/08 6:02 AM

The fact that Mugabe has finally spoken out against Makoni tells you who he thinks his real opponent is in this election; that is all we were waiting to hear. Makoni is the man of the moment; let the whole country rally behind him to oust this monster. All the Zimbabweans in the diaspora need to support this change; morally physically and financially. This is the best chance we have to move the country forward to great prosperity and sanity in the world. Those of you who want to be part of change with you contributions, we at MDC-NAD are already on the move. We sent our first financial support to the MDC Party Tresurer Mr Dulini this week. Money will make the campaign effective. The candidates will have to move and cover the country. Ladies and gentlemen time is not on our side let us not run but sprint to the finish line.

You can contact us at the NAD-MDC link below and be part of the change process:


Ayihlome kusile madoda !!

Raphael Mthombeni

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/21/2008 20:47:20 ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe on Thursday launched into a virulent attack against his former finance minister who is challenging him in elections next month, describing him as worse than a prostitute. In a television interview to mark his 84th birthday, Mugabe launched into Simba Makoni who until February 5 was a member of the politburo, the top decision making body of the ruling Zanu PF party.It was the first time Mugabe publicly reacted to Makoni’s challenge which has injected a new excitement to the presidential race which appeared to be headed for a rematch of his disputed 2002 victory over Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).Mugabe blasted: "What has happened now is absolutely disgraceful. I didn’t think that Makoni, after all the experience, could behave like the way he did and in a na├»ve way too, boasting that ‘I am Simba Makoni’.“He doesn’t even have a party, he says ‘people come and join me I am amazing, I am a magnate, come to me and I am there to lead you’. No! You go to the people and the people find you, you don’t become self-important when you are looking for support."So I have compared him to a prostitute. A prostitute could have stood up also saying ‘I have boyfriends in the MDC, others are in Zanu PF, there is no party without my boyfriends, so I am going to the nomination (court) as well’. But you see, a prostitute could have done better than Makoni because she has clients.”Personal attacks have become a hallmark of Mugabe’s survival strategy as he battles growing resentment to his continued stay in power, manifesting itself through rampant indiscipline in the Zanu PF ranks.With the country’s economy all but collapsed and record inflation of over 100 000 percent, Mugabe’s television interview offered little insight into his economic revival plan."It means purely we have got to enhance production, make the goods available as cheap as possible. But we need to work with people who also understand that," he said when asked how his government intended to deal with the inflation crisis.Mugabe was upbeat about his chances of being re-elected, saying his victory would be a blow to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ‘regime change’ agenda in the southern African country."I do hope the humble pies -- and they will be big ones -- that we will deliver for the edification of the opposition will be eaten and eaten satisfactorily," he said.Mugabe’s chief rival in the past decade Morgan Tsvangirai launches his presidential campaign in Mutare this weekend, while Makoni is expected to hold his first rally in the second largest city of Bulawayo next week.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Zimbabwe Votes 2008

With the talks between ZANU-PF and the factions of the MDC almost declared 'dead' due to President Mugabe's setting of the election date before the conclusion of the talks, chances of an uncontested election result are almost impossible unless the opposition wins the election. For now, Mugabe seems to have put the opposition in a predicament. If the opposition participates (which they should, in my view), they will be seen as lending legitimacy to the electoral fraud. If they boycot, they will yield political space to ZANU-PF and by so doing diminish their relevance in the Zimbabwe political process.

Indications are that the opposition is going to participate in the election, the question is whether they are going to do so united or divided. If they go in divided, I give a clean win to ZANU-PF, if they unite or form a coalition they stand a chance as long as they energize the electorate to go to the ballot. Among many, there are four main reasons why I think the opposition stands a chance if they are united.

1. Economic meltdown and the universal need for change

A lot more people want change now than there were in 2002 or 2005, and this include even ZANU-PF supporters. All people need is clear and serious leadership, and in my view, since the 2005 split, the opposition has struggled to show that they are a serious alternative to ZANU-PF. Inflation is 24,000%, come on people, even Grace sees that Mugabe has messed up, I don't talk of the politiburo.

2. Low levels of election violence

There will be political violence and voter intimidation in this election, however I think it will be far less than witnessed in 2000, 2002 and 2005 partly because of the amendments to POSA, and partly because the outside world, in particular SADC is watching. Zimbabwe has been in the spot light since the March 2007 beatings of opposition activists, and will continue to be, more so going to the election. Mugabe can not risk some of the SADC observors declaring the elections as not free and fare. He will continue to use intimidation, but in moderation.

3. ZANU-PF is weaker

Just as the MDC has been weakened by factional fighting, so has ZANU-PF. Mugabe secured his endorsement through silencing dissenting voices within his party. While contrary to speculation by some newspapers, I do not think any senoir ZANU-PF members will jumb ship to work with the opposition, they will not have the energy and zeal of the past to campain for Mugabe. It is common knowledge that the security forces have been weakened by the economic melt down, with reported swelling levels of disconent in the lower ranks of the army and the police. This presents an opportunity for the opposition to speak to those disgruntled members of the ruling party and security forces, to point them to the future of prosperity, not to talk about retribution.

4. Elimination of 30 appointed members of parliament

Probably the only significant concession that the opposition got from Constitutional Amendment # 19 was the elimination of appointed MPs., and setting of 5 appointed seats for the Senate. However, it is clear from the distribution of additional seats for both the Senate and the legislative assembly that Mugabe planned to make up the lost seats by creating more constituencies in his strongholds. Theoretically, it is easier now for the opposition to win a parliamentary majority than it was in the previous elections.

In this introductory article, I did a brief overview of the political situation in Zimbabwe. In subsequent postings, as the 2 month campaign marathon heats up, I will focus on the strategies of the contesting parties and their candidates, and the issues coming up from the campaign trail. I can not imagine if there could or should be any issue other than the question of how to solve the economic crisis and the restoration of the rule of law and property rights.



At this point, I do not belong to any political party, I am just a politically conscious Zimbabwean adding a voice to the Zimbabwean debate. However, I have not disguised my support for change in Zimbabwe and sympathy for the opposition.