Dr Patson Dzamara
When Hon. Temba Mliswa made up his mind to contest in the Norton by-election he shared his views with me.
It was a Tuesday morning, at around 6am when we had the discussion. We exchanged notes for over an hour. He passionately and thoroughly explained to me the importance of the Norton by-election and why he had made the decision to contest.
Strategy is my forte and I am not easily convinced, however, he managed to convinced me in one hour. His final words were, "PD, wait and see how the Norton by-election shall change the trajectory of the politics of this nation and it will become a benchmark for future elections."
In the past few months I paid close attention to what was happening in Norton. Even though I was indirectly involved, I made my contribution here and there.
Yesterday, I witnessed the fulfilment of Temba's projection with my bare eyes. Indeed the Norton by-election has changed the political trajectory of this nation and yes it has and will become a benchmark for future elections.
The key question to ask at this juncture is what does this mean to Zimbabweans and most importantly politicians?
There are numerous fallacies being promulgated but I shall unpack the main ones;
1. *TEMBA MLISWA IS A ZANU PF AGENT*
Some people still hold on to the view that Temba is a decoy set up by ZANU PF. They are entitled to their view but it is most certainly wrong.
I first met Temba Mliswa when I was 19 years old at Meikles Hotel through Itai Dzamara. Infact, the day I met him was also my first time to enter the Meikles Hotel. For those who do not know, at some point Itai Dzamara worked with and for Temba.
Ever since then, we became brothers and I followed Temba Mliswa closely. What I noted is the fact that even when he was in ZANU PF he was a reformer. He is the only MP who refused Parliamentary benefits arguing that those resources must be channeled towards the development of constituencies.
I say that Temba is not a ZANU PF agent, he is a reformer although like anyone else, he has his own issues.
2. *ZANU PF WILLINGLY LOST THE NORTON ELECTION TO NULLIFY THE ELECTORAL REFORM AGENDA*
One of the theories being proffered is that ZANU PF willingly lost the Norton by-election in order to thwart the merits of the electoral reform agenda.
That is a facade and a production of wishful thinking.
ZANU PF will never be 'reasonable' to that extent. They dearly wanted to win this election. They did all they could to win. They heavily invested in this election.
They even employed voter rigging mechanisms such as violence, intimidation and lies. Rigging does not just take place when people vote, it's a process which starts way before the actual day of voting and we can certainly attest to the ugly hands of ZANU PF's rigging machinery in the Norton election.
The conditions fell short of the least indicators of free and fair play. As such, we are going to force ZEC to reform.
Both ZANU PF VP's and several cabinet ministers went to Norton to drum up support for their candidate, to the extent that they overshadowed the aspiring MP and reduced him to the shadows. ZANU PF even tried to buy votes using stands and food aid but the people of Norton would not be hoodwinked.
They knew what they wanted and they registered what they wanted - a better Zimbabwe, divorced from Mugabe and his minions' failure.
In a nutshell, Temba Mliswa defeated ZANU PF resoundingly such that he made it hard for them to even win after rigging.
3. *ZANU PF IS FINISHED*
I know that most of us progressive Zimbabweans have found this victory palatable and some are tempted to think that ZANU PF is finished.
That is another fallacy.
Zimbabweans, ZANU PF is not yet finished. They are still very much in the game. It's not game over yet. This is just an exposition of the fact that indeed Zanu PF can be defeated and that a new season is upon Zimbabwe. A season of transitioning.
We must understand that ZANU PF is a well oiled machine and they will do anything to remain in power. It is also critical to note that Temba Mliswa is not a novice. He is a seasoned politician and above all he is a hard worker. He outsmarted and outworked them.
What happened in Norton yesterday must inspire all of us to seriously get involved in electoral and developmental processes. Indeed, it can be done.
*THE BOTTOM LINE*
1. Temba Mliswa won resoundingly and it was hard for ZANU PF to manipulate the results even after rigging.
2. Without the endorsement of MDC, War Veterans and the Social Movement Mliswa may not have won.
3. Temba is a hard worker and he deserved to win. He outworked and outsmarted ZANU PF.
4. Overally this shows that together we can decapitate the monster called ZANU PF. Single handedly, Temba wouldn't have won this election. He was smart enough to understand that hence he sought the support of other established players such as the war veterans and MDC.
For where we are, the most feasible way out of this pit of failure we find ourselves in as Zimbabweans, is a formidable coalition of all opposition parties and social movements.
Therefore the mainstay of our focus shall be on electoral reforms and the coalition.
A new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime. We shall come face to face with it.
Kusvika vati eke.
Monday, 24 October 2016
Dr Patson Dzamara