Zimbabwe should ignore David Smith and Miles Tendi

As the country finds itself forced into elections without reforms by a tyrant who is desperate for legitimacy to visit London, Zimbabweans should vote for change tomorrow and ignore David Smith’s sanitisation of Mugabe’s dictatorship.

In an opinion piece regurgitated by state-owned The Herald newspaper today from the Guardian , David Smith draws on Miles Tendi to project a false picture of a Mugabe who is rebounding despite him relying on SUV trucks where he used to walk at rallies greeting his supporters.

It is sad that some western journalists sink risk their credibility like some election observers already who have chosen to become praise singers of a human rights abuser who only won one election in 33 years.

It is unfortunate that despite being on the spot in Harare, David Smith still cannot see what independent bodies like International Crisis Group are seeing as lack of credibility of the poll with a voters roll in a shambles; with an unreformed security sector; and an unreformed media sector to say only a few.

Whereas , David Smith says ‘running for election for the seventh time, he is widely tipped to beat his rival Morgan Tsvangirai in Wednesday’s poll – and to be ushered back into respectability by a pragmatic west, ” he fails to recognise that the playing field is far from even despite being closer to where all this is happening in Zimbabwe. Somehow, David Smith has forgotten about what free and fair elections mean.

If the pragmatic west is so keen on ushering Mugabe the so-called respectability, why should it wait for the harmonised rigging phase to get under way as if it’s not convinced by the cosmetic voter registration coupled with the Special Vote debacle when ZEC failed to deliver a credible service beyond a ballot on a prayer?

Why should the west await election results when David Smith has already given a thumbs -up to an 89 year old candidate something that has never happened in the west itself?

Why wait for poll results when ZEC has printed 8 million ballot papers for 6 million voters; minus 2 million unregistered young voters; plus 40,000 special voters granted special leave to cast their votes despite The Electoral Act not providing for double voting?

Why should the west wait for long queues to form around Zimbabwe for elections that were ordered by Mugabe like Singapore noodles allegedly using proceeds from Marange diamonds for a budget of US$3 billion while the country’s Treasury is penniless?

David Smith writes that Blessing Miles Tendi said a rally with members of an apostolic sect “astounded” him the most. “He humbled himself to be one of them. He tried to sit on the earth with them but they gave him a chair’.

While a sign of respect for visitors, but Grace Mugabe sat on the earth albeit it looks like they breached church protocol since Mugabe has been criticised for wearing the Apostolic garb until he converts to the sect’s faith. Should have read an incisive opinion piece by the son of Apostolic Marange in The Zimbabwean.

Further, did Mugabe fear losing votes by not speaking out against child marriages at the service attended by political analyst Blessing Miles Tendi?

Furthermore, why should the west wait for sham elections to invite Mugabe to London when it’s only Zanu-pf that has the voters roll less than 24 hours to polling contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act?

And for what ever ZEC has supplied at the last minute as a voters’ roll, it is in hard copy format making it impossible for independent verification and analysis unlike if it were electronic as provided for by the Electoral Act amid reports of double if not 4 duplicate rolls set for rigging polls tomorrow.

How I wish my book was out!

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst and former diplomat, London, [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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