FIVE days ago, a local daily published a story in which the opposition MDC-T party was alleging that it had evidence that officials from the Registrar-General’s Office were issuing birth certificates and identity documents to the Johane Marange apostolic sect members in Manicaland as a way to shore numbers for Zanu-PF ahead of next year’s elections.
The opposition claimed the registration exercise was a “clandestine scam” meant to rig elections.
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka claimed: “We have been tracking a clandestine voter registration scam by Zanu-PF using Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s office outside and ahead of the legal voter registration process by ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission), now legally mandated to carry out such exercises.”
Obviously feeling very important as though having come across some important piece of intelligence, Tamborinyoka continued: “Only yesterday (Tuesday) morning, two buses from the Registrar-General’s Office, with registration numbers ABT 2419 and AEF 7111, left the RG’s Makombe offices along Harare’s Leopold Takawira Street at exactly 11:13am headed for Noah Taguta’s church shrine in Marange, Mutare West, where insiders said an illicit voter registration exercise for Zanu-PF supporters in Manicaland . . .”
For those without knowledge or context, these claims would easily wash and feed into the narrative that the opposition in Zimbabwe has been losing due to a complex and systematic manipulative process. But we know better.
First of all, the rigging narrative is just false. Illustratively, this particular incident shows us the opposition lying without a sense of shame at all. Many readers will call to mind that this season is the time when the vast Marange religious community in Manicaland holds its annual Passover ceremony.
Thousands of people gather for this religious event and we have seen that it has presented a good crowd for different purposes, including politics.
The Registrar-General’s Office has taken a prudent step to use the gathering to issue identity documents without the logistical nightmare that comes with having to go to the area outside this particular time.
Besides, this community is known to shy away from conventional and important processes regarding other issues such as health and education. From what we know, the RG’s office has taken advantage of the annual Passover to provide a critical service to a poor community such as Marange.
Which is what the Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede clarified in the story that we carried in our issue yesterday.
We do not need to elaborate. It is important, however, to point out that the pontifications of Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman indicate to us a party that is not only short of ideas to win the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans, but one that is also afflicted by a severe anaemia of vocabulary.
It is a self-evident truth that MDC under the leadership of Mr Tsvangirai has failed to appeal to the electorate and has relied on the protest vote to gain whatever toehold they have assumed on our political space.
Sanctions, which Mr Tsvangirai and the opposition notoriously called for, have hurt Zimbabweans in the last two decades leading to protest votes. It is called voting by the stomach, alternatively.
Some of our compatriots, at times out of myopia and naivety, have believed that the only way to remove hostile foreign interference and sanctions would be voting the MDC-T which has deceptively promised manna of donor money from Western heavens once they assume power.
Outside the continuing threat of collectively punishing the citizenry through sanctions and the empty “Mugabe-must-go” rhetoric, the opposition has pretty nothing else to offer.
The people of Zimbabwe have duly rejected Mr Tsvangirai and his brand of politics, even in light of punitive and hostile interference from countries such as the United States, Britain and their friends in the West.
And we also know that opposition has run out of excuses, terminology and vocabulary to explain its poor fortunes.