Opinionista Rebone Tau 2 August 2018

The MDC-Alliance needs to accept the will of the people

Zimbabwe needs to move forward and develop its economy. The past two decades have been tough due to sanctions, global economic currents and other hurdles put in place by the West. The MDC-Alliance should now be preoccupied with the economy of the country – it is also in the best interests of the region.

Given the history of Zimbabwe elections, it is sad that MDC-Alliance is reluctant to accept the outcome of the elections. All parties in these elections were allowed to campaign peacefully, unlike in the past when intimidation by state security personnel gave opposition parties a hard time. There were no cases of opposition supporters disappearing during the build-up to these elections.

If you compare the 2008 campaign to these polls there is a huge difference; in 2008 there was a heavy presence of police and army in the build-up to the election – a real form of intimidation. This was not felt this time. People have not been beaten up for campaigning for the opposition.

Political violence was not the order of the day. The MDC-Alliance needs to accept the outcome. How does a presidential candidate declare himself a winner before the final announcement? Innocent people have been hurt after a reckless Twitter statement by Nelson Chamisa.

The MDC-Alliance did not really have a strategy in this campaign. They submitted their presidential candidate and then complained about the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. This is not new. The MDC-T did the same in 2013. The MDC-Alliance should have boycotted the elections if they felt they were about to be rigged. Instead, they have double standards.

Zimbabwe needs to move forward, grow and develop its economy. The past two decades have been tough due to sanctions, global economic currents and other hurdles put in place by the West. The MDC-Alliance should now be preoccupied with the economy of the country – it is also in the best interests of the region. South Africa and Botswana in the main have been highly affected by the instability in Zimbabwe.

There was much political tolerance on the ground building up to the poll. One would find ZANU-PF members and MDC-Alliance members wearing their regalia sitting in bars or taverns having beer, rare in the past. The MDC-Alliance, even when ZANU-PF had a rally in Bindura, addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was on the ground campaigning without any intimidation or violence.

No evidence has been brought forward by the MDC-Alliance showing that the credibility of these elections is in question and that they have been rigged by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in favour of ZANU-PF. Why is it that only MDC-Alliance supporters are in the streets questioning the credibility of the poll? It is not as if there were no other political parties contesting. The MDC- Alliance needs to get back on the ground and start preparing for the next elections instead of declaring victory in this poll. The will of the people needs to be accepted. The people of Zimbabwe have spoken.

For the first time in many years we saw the government of Zimbabwe allowing the European Union to observe the election: this was a clear sign that ZANU-PF had nothing to hide and wanted to show transparency to the international community. Even South African NGOs which had been critical of ZANU-PF were allowed as observers. In the past they would not have been accredited. In 2013 there were incidents of people being turned away at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on the eve of elections, but it was not the case this time. These elections were free, peaceful and credible for the first time in many years. DM

Rebone Tau, a former ANCYL National Task Team member, writes in his personal capacity.

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