Perspective, Stephen Mpofu
The moment Zimbabweans and the global community had anxiously awaited came in the early hours of yesterday when Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba announced that Cde Mnangagwa had triumphed in the presidential contest, defeating his main rival, Mr Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC Alliance by 2 460 463 votes to 2 147 436 votes.
However, news of President Mnangagwa’s victory was immediately turned into anti-climax by MDC Alliance chairman Mr Morgen Komichi who rejected the result and said the alliance would take appropriate action against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) verdict in the matter in question.
Earlier on, before the Zec announcement, Mr Chamisa had claimed that he had won the presidential election and accused Zec as he had previously done before the polls of trying to manipulate the votes.
Mr Chamisa also claimed that his party did not sanction the violent demonstrations on Wednesday, following the result of the elections on Monday which showed Zanu-PF’s victory over the alliance.
The rioters decked out in MDC Alliance regalia and chanting the party’s slogan and armed with iron bars, smashed their way through Harare central business district torching cars, destroying properties and beating up people, six of whom reportedly died in hospital. Police reported that 26 suspects had been arrested and that the army had been called in to help restore order.
Clearly the propensity for political violence as demonstrated in Harare this week has dealt a severe blow to an image building up abroad before the polls of Zimbabwe becoming a model to other African states of peace and tranquillity during elections.
But the mind-boggling tragedy in the case in point is that political leaders burying their heads in the sand by refusing to own up for the violent conduct of their followers which, unarguably, is nurtured by the politicians themselves as a cat’s paw after power whose absence renders them sleepless.
Which suggests that as long as political leaders hungry for power shun the negotiating table to resolve their differences, conflicts will continue ad infinitum with economic and social development the ultimate victims of our country and with that continued instability.
In fact refusal by political leaders to accept their weaknesses and in that way build their strengths continues to be a big challenge in the global village and that makes bridge-building for people with diverse interests to meet and dialogue — fertilising continued differences and conflicts so that unity, a powerful engine for sustainable peace and stability and development remains an alien in many African states, with our own Zimbabwe not an exception.
For instance four days ago, as I salivated over Zanu-PF’s electoral exploits on Monday, a fellow writer and communicologist, Felix Moyo, of the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, reminded me of an old self-immolation propaganda theory that Chamisa, and his colleagues modelled before and after the elections on July 30 with disastrous consequences for both that political organisation and the image of this country globally.
Under the old communication propaganda theory, Ranks Model’s, you downplay your own weaknesses and promote those of your opponent whose strength you downplay while promoting your own strength.
That, tragically enough, appeared to have become a hobby for MDC Alliance political gurus so that the election result leaves that party stuck in the adhesive debris of their blame game political propaganda, Rank’s Model style.
Now come to think of it, if somehow Mr Chamisa became President of Zimbabwe after his party’s resounding defeat by Zanu-PF in the parliamentary elections would he not become a sitting duck with Zanu-PF’s two- thirds majority shooting down his legislative proposals and in that way rendering his administration ineffective?
With the elections behind our backs, and while MDC Alliance leaders quibble over the polls’ final outcome, the will of the Zimbabwean majority is no doubt that President Mnangagwa’s government should proceed with its new dispensation initiatives to take this country into a brave new future economically, socially and politically.