Elections the only way

EDITOR - It remains my strong conviction that the only acceptable method of removing Zanu (PF) and Robert Mugabe from power in Zimbabwe is through free and fair elections. I acknowledge that because of the desperation for change, some people are coming up with suggestions such as mass action, staya

ways and boycotts.

The debacle over the senatorial elections has left the opposition MDC in utter disarray, to a point where the very existence of the party is under serious threat.

A vital tenet of any democracy is respect for majority decisions and unfortunately Morgan Tsvangirai does not seem to understand this. If, as reported, the MDC National council initially voted in favour of participation in the elections, then Tsvangirai was supposed to respect that decision even if he did not agree with it personally.

Some people seem to be of the mistaken belief that elections must always lead to a change in government. This is clearly not the case. The MDC needs to participate in elections in order for it to gauge its level of support, to justify its existence and to give a largely disillusioned population hope that there will one day be a positive change in the country after the burden of being ruled by a ruthless regime.

Those advocating mass action are naive. Tsvangirai failed dismally with his final push because it was ill-planned and people were not prepared for needless bloodshed. Robert Mugabe may be getting older but his grip on power is clearly getting tighter. He still controls the army, the police, the CIO and the militia and he will not hesitate to use them at the slightest provocation.

In spite of the rigging, violence and intimidation that goes on in Zanu-(PF) controlled elections, I still insist that elections are the most plausible way in which the country can extricate itself from its current quagmire. The opposition must go out there and convince the majority of voters who simply do not turn up to vote on the day of elections.

Apathy is definitely one of the major causes of opposition losses in Zimbabwean elections. The kind of margins that opposition MPs have won elections by in cities like Bulawayo and Harare are impossible to rig. So the task of the opposition is to emulate this throughout the country.


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