Chamisa and Mnangagwa are both setting Zimbabwe up to fail

Chamisa Mnangagwa

Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Zanu-PF’s incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, are setting Zimbabwe up for failure, no matter who actually wins.

Chamisa has called this week’s general election a sham, and not without reason, because of irregularities that started even before Mnangagwa proclaimed 23 August as the election date.

In his corner as of Friday are all the major observer missions, of which the South African Development Community (SADC) is the most important; the election does not meet the standards required to be free and fair, those missions said.

Even as Chamisa is blatant about his distrust of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), he has proclaimed that he will win the election. So, a victory his party would, presumably, accept. A loss it would not.

But Chamisa would be haunted for his entire stay in office by his own allegations that his election was not, in fact, by way of a legitimate process.

The Zanu-PF approach has played out most clearly via state media – blatantly biased against the opposition – now pushing the narrative that observers are taking sides in a political contest.

That may help it obscure the failures in the voting process, but will directly undermine any future Zanu-PF government’s efforts to stabilise the economy.

Things got tacky to the point that the SADC Election Observer Mission head, former Zambian deputy president Nevers Mumba, became a subject of social media bullying from pro-government accounts. One of them called him ugly.

In previous elections, the regional bloc never took such a clear stance, and never came in for such treatment. Its proclamation on the lack of credibility can only make for yet worse treatment of observers, which could spell disaster for Zimbabwe’s international relations at a critical time.

SADC countries, particularly South Africa, have been calling for the removal of the European Union American sanctions against Zimbabwe. Now Zimbabwe is discrediting SADC, while the state media last week accused the EU observers of bribing journalists to ensure bad coverage of the elections.

In response, the mission said the accusations were fabricated sideshows to undermine its observation of the elections.

After the coup that dislodged Robert Mugabe, it seemed that Mnangagwa could benefit from the goodwill of the likes of the EU and Britain. That no longer seems likely.

The election report card from the Commonwealth observer team also pointed to a discredited poll – which undermines Zimbabwe’s attempts to be re-admitted into the Commonwealth, as does the deportation of British academic Professor Stephen Chan, a former Commonwealth secretariat official.

Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, in Zimbabwe for the last week, works closely with African Development Bank (AFDB) president Akinwumi Adesina. In May, after a visit to Harare, both men told Mnangagwa that a free and fair and credible election was needed. Chissano highlighted that Zimbabwe’s problems were affecting the region.

What Chissano has observed is unlikely to help Zimbabwe’s chances of debt restructuring.

And both presidential contenders will still remember what happened when the SADC Troika on defence and security stepped in in 2008, and forced a Government of National Unity on Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. That’s something neither of them want, and ordinary Zimbabweans can’t afford.

Source – news24


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