Have the people spoken? Zimbabwe Elections

Well this is the most pertinent question confronting all Zimbabweans both in the homeland and in the diaspora, have the people spoken? It is important to note for those who are not familiar with Zimbabwean issues, that Zimbabwe held elections on the 31st of July three days ago, which were hailed by some as the most important elections in the history of Zimbabwe after the elections that ushered our independence. Being an activist who has formerly fought against the oppression of Robert Mugabe as a student leader, if truth be told I cannot answer this question as objectively as possible but never the less I will try but forgive me if you find any biases.

The election was held under relatively peaceful conditions ending the Government of national unity as it is known. This uneasy coalition government was formed under the behest of the African Union and SADC facilitation after the disputed 2008 presidential election which was marred by violence and intimidation. It brought together all political parties to form a transitional government to work towards creating a credible election in the future.

Just because there was no violence during this election does that mean Zimbabwe had free and fair elections?  Is the definition of free and fair elections that simplistic? And much more importantly who can qualify this election to be the true reflection of the will of the people? After all no one knows what people did in that private booth, of course except for those who were assisted. If the rumours that are circulating that the numbers of those assisted was around 350 000 are anything to go by there is certainly a cause for concern, this is quite high for a country that brags of the highest literacy levels in Africa. Is this surprising? Knowing Mugabe the answer is a big NO, people in the past have been forced to ask for assistance so that they can show who they have voted for. But does this qualify or render the election not free and fair you be the judge. The opposition is crying foul that the election was rigged, I too agree with their assertion, but with no tangible evidence of rigging, all they can receive is sympathy.

The government of which the opposition was party to, refused to give them the voters roll which was in clear violation of the country`s constitution. Even after securing a high court order the Registrar General refused to comply with the order. This issue of refusing to give the opposition the voters roll raised their fears that Mugabe somehow manipulated this election. But as-long as they cannot substantiate their fears all they can do is just cry. The contingent of African election observer missions on the ground have already expressed their opinion that the election was credible  and fair and of course they have also acknowledged some of the opposition`s reservations but that they say that they are not adequate to subvert the will of the people expressed the through the ballot.

Whoever spoke they spoke loud and clear Mugabe is on his way to being declared the President of Zimbabwe. The big question is what next from here for the opposition, my take is for them to accept the result and go back to the people to self-introspect and reorganise and prepare for elections in 2018. Alternatively they can try and mobilise people and go into the streets but to whose benefit? I personally do not see Mugabe being removed by such actions this may only serve to bring chaos and suffering to the ordinary people.

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