Opinionista David Ka-Ndyalvan 29 August 2018

Self-proclaimed election victories are a threat to democracy

The DA and EFF’s distorted views about the ANC and their public talks of victory way before the start of the elections is setting up the country for nasty surprises.

There is this colloquialism that I like: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” Even if you are not a sport fanatic, you would have heard this in organised competitions such as football, particularly, towards the end of the game in relation to its results.

In Xhosa, we say Ungakhwazi ungekaphumi ehlathini. This may not sound a fancy political lexicon, but in politics, this should become more instructive given the fact that only election authorities such as Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) are allowed by law to pronounce on election outcomes.

Fresh from July 2018 general elections which were mired by violence and loss of lives, Zimbabwe should be the first to acknowledge the devastating effects of the reckless pronouncement of the election results by political leaders. The Zimbabwe affair provides a case study that if it is allowed to continue, the reckless and premature announcement of the election results by political leaders does not only undermine the constitutional mandate of the designated election authorities, but could also ignites a nasty political unrest for democracy.

In an opportunity which should have turned a page on years of violence-marred elections during President Robert Mugabe’s autocratic regime, a political unrest which saw the death of six people ensued after the ZEC announced the results that declared Zanu-PF a winner contrary to what the senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance like Tendai Biti, announced to the party supporters ahead of the official results.

Biti baldly told the MDC Alliance members and supporters that their party has won elections, and they started to embark on ill-informed celebrations which in my view proved a worst kind of stupidity. Here at home, this dangerous psychological warfare is perpetuated by leaders of the two biggest opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). At each and every turn, the DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF’s Chief in Commander (CIC) Julius Malema, underestimate the ANC’s political footprints, and they have already declared their respective parties victorious for 2019 national elections.

I often laugh at how the members of these political parties (DA and EFF) myopically believe this hallucinative 2019 election victory and refuse any suggestion that, the ANC after distressing own goals during former president Jacob Zuma’s administration, can only get better. Still stuck in the past and high on his CIC’s distorted view about the ANC, a friend whom I met at a funeral in Mdantsane, East London, started with his doomsday prophecy about the ANC losing power during the 2019 elections and he rejected any reasoning from rational beings that the congress movement is well on course to rid itself of the image crisis of corruption and arrogance of power which led to social distance with the masses, especially during the August 2016 local government elections.

In their moment of self-gratification, the EFF and the DA, turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to Ipsos’ scientific based evidence of the “Pulse of the People” survey published in July 2018 which suggests that the ANC is gaining the lost ground and is on an upward spiral of voter confidence index while the DA’s support is waning.

The EFF is proved to be almost stagnant which begins to suggest that South Africans are not misled by the populist loudmouth. This should not come as a surprise, the ANC, under the stewardship of President Cyril Ramaphosa is not only making progress on rooting out corruption in the state, but it is also implementing its radical socio-economic policy reforms as adopted during December 2017 Nasrec elective conference, much to the irritation of the anti-transformation political parties such as the DA and Freedom Front Plus with their proxies under the banner of AfriForum.

The AfriForum, without any reprimand from the DA, resorted to desperate measures of peddling propaganda across the world about the ANC’s policy of “Expropriation of Land without Compensation” to scare investors and devastate our economy. And you tell me that these racist lunatics and their political bosses have got the interest of this country at heart. Not at all. But I digressed.

All I am driving at home is that, the DA and EFF’s distorted views about the ANC and their public talk of victory way before the start of the elections is setting up the country for nasty surprises, and is a threat to our democracy as it seeks to perpetuate predetermined outcomes and bastardise anything contrary to their self-gratifying belief. In the end, this creates a fertile ground for them to cast aspersions at the credibility of the IEC.

Let us hope they would not reach the stage of making a mockery of themselves like their political counterpart (MDC) in Zimbabwe and incite their members to celebrate the results before the official announcement by the IEC. The lame duck leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane has done this before, during 2016 local government elections where he ran off his mouth and announced to a journalist the election results of Tshwane Metro ahead of the official announcement by the IEC.

As we have seen in Zimbabwe, this is a slippery slope, which if left unmitigated by legislation would make the IEC of South Africa vulnerable to all sorts of vulgarity and unsubstantiated innuendos by politicians.

We watch the space at our own peril. DM

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