Likewise, members of our party leadership have been seconded to represent the party in all NERA deliberations and meetings. Whilst we are very pleased that Temba Mliswa won the Parliamentary byâ€“election that was recently held in Norton, the MDC remains acutely aware of the fact that the electoral playing field is far from even. Although Mliswa emerged the winner by more than 2600 votes, the by â€“ election itself was neither free nor fair.
Incidents of politically motivated violence were witnessed in Norton just a few days before the by â€“ election was held. A group of Zanu PF thugs and hooligans were let loose in Norton during the campaign period for the byâ€“election and indeed, many opposition supporters were badly assaulted by these marauding Zanu PF hoodlums.
In addition, more than 5000 unserviced residential stands were abruptly and illegally dished out to Zanu PF supporters in and around Norton during the build up to the hotly contested byâ€“election. This was a brazen voteâ€“buying gimmick by the panicking Zanu PF regime after they had gathered intelligence to the effect that the ruling party was heading for a humiliating and crushing defeat.
As seasoned and experienced campaigners for peaceful, democratic change, the MDC will never, ever sit on its laurels and believe that the electoral playing field is now even simply because Temba Mliswa won the Norton byâ€“ election. Far from it. If anything, we have decided to up the ante and ensure that our fight for the adoption of electoral reforms goes a gear up. We are dealing with a morbidly recalcitrant and stubborn dictatorship in the form of the Robert Mugabe led Zanu PF regime. This is a dictatorship that will stop at nothing to make sure that it remains in power so that they can continue to loot and cannibalise the little that is now left of our national economy.
NERA remains a beacon of hope for millions of Zimbabweans who are clamouring for the urgent adoption of electoral reforms that will guarantee the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. It is, of course, apparent that the Zanu PF regime has been rocked to the very core by their humiliating defeat in the Norton byâ€“election. As such, we expect the regime to sharpen its tools of oppression and suppression against all organisations that are peacefully and lawfully fighting for the establishment of a democratic dispensation in our motherland.
The MDC, as usual, shall remain alert and vigilant. On April 14, 2016 in Harare, the MDC set the tone for staging mass demonstrations by embarking upon the â€˜mother of all demonstrations.â€™ Thereafter, millions of Zimbabweans, both within the country and in the Diaspora, realised that peaceful demonstrations can actually be executed against the factionâ€“ridden, fragmented, bankrupt and crumbling Zanu PF regime.
We are also aware of the fact that the crumbling regime has decided to ring fence all rural areas as they strategise to rig the forthcoming harmonised elections. Villagers are being forced to attend Zanu PF meetings throughout the rural areas and traditional leaders have been ordered to draw up lists of all known and suspected opposition political party supporters.
The MDC would like to reâ€“assure the suffering and toiling masses of Zimbabwe that we are now approaching the end game. We are the governmentâ€“in-waiting and of course, we are poised to form the new political dispensation that will be governing the nation in 2018 if notÂ even earlier.The charismatic and indefatigable Morgan Tsvangirai, continues to guide us with his usualÂ wisdom and vision as we enter the homestretch.
Freedom is beckoning. Indeed, freedom is coming. No amount of oppression and suppression can stop an idea whose time has arrived.The struggle continues unabated.
MDC: Equal Opportunities For All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson