Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) MDC-T's dossier of shame

MDC-T's dossier of shame
Sunday, 17 March 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

The MDC-T dossier alleging an increase in political violence across the country has crumbled before it has even been put on the agenda of the party’s wishful Sadc summit following revelations that the 37-paged document is just a wishy-washy attempt by the party to hide its electoral shortcomings.

Political observers and diplomats from the region who have gone through the dossier told The Sunday Mail that the document entitled “Violence and Deterioration of the Political Situation,” which is being circulated in the region by the MDC-T’s secretary for international relations, Mr Jameson Timba, is just a futile attempt by the British-sponsored party to attack the process of voting because the party has nothing to offer during the forthcoming harmonised elections.

A Sadc diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons, said officials from his country had gone through the dossier and after checking the facts on the ground from the staff from his office, his government was disappointed with the conduct of the MDC-T.

“Officials from my country called my office last week to check the contents in that document and when we saw the document, we verified the contents with the relevant authorities and we discovered that there are lots of exaggerations, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations and, in some instances, outright lies about the situation on the ground.

“It’s undiplomatic for us to talk about these issues, but as a country we felt the MDC-T was taking us for granted. We have our own way of checking what is going on in Zimbabwe, that’s why we have an embassy here, but still we saw efforts to deceive our country. As my country’s representative here, I didn’t take it lightly.

“The MDC-T is in Government with Zanu-PF and the other smaller MDC and we thought they would approach issues differently,” said the diplomat, adding that “I don’t see any country in the region taking contents in this document seriously. If the MDC-T wants an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe, I think they should use better channels.”

Under its Annexure A entitled “Recorded cases of violence and human rights abuses/2013 violations,” the MDC-T cites the January 16 2013 demonstrations against US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bruce Wharton by a group of Zanu-PF supporters who were demonstrating against the imposition of sanctions as a form of violence and human rights abuse.

The MDC-T even cited the case where about 500 students from the University of Zimbabwe on February 9 protested against the issue of residency as a sign of an increase in political violence.

The party showed its desperation by even citing the alleged defiance by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Cde Webster Shamu, and his permanent secretary Cde George Charamba to meet PM Tsvangirai as another form of political violence and human rights abuse.

“So the MDC-T has reduced itself to being a defender of the rights of the US ambassador? When Zanu-PF supporters demonstrate against the US ambassador, that suddenly becomes a human rights violation; but when MDC supporters demonstrate, that is described as freedom of expression. The double standards are just stinking.

“And can someone from the MDC-T explain how demonstrations by those students at the UZ can be classified as an increase in political violence. Is this how desperate the MDC-T has become? We thought they had embarrassed themselves enough with the Christpowers Maisiri case,” said a top political scientist from the UZ.

The political scientist said after going through the MDC-T dossier one is left with no option but to conclude that the MDC-T is now clutching at straws as elections are now fast approaching.

“In the dossier the MDC-T is clearly suggesting that court processes in the mentioned cases should be halted because they amount to violence and human rights abuses.

“The MDC-T is saying all demonstrations that are not pro-MDC must be stopped because they amount to violence and all political meetings not called by the MDC-T also amount to violence.

“All investigations and arrests by the police and even court process are now being classified as political violence and human rights violations while traditional powers of chiefs must be suspended as they also amount to political violence and human rights violations.

“On the other hand, NGOs, according to the MDC-T dossier, are sacred while the MDC-T is free to bring in voter clubs, but if members of the armed forces register to vote, this is classified as a human rights violation.

“Some cases that are even before the courts are being cited while even cases where people have been acquitted by the courts are also cited as cases of violence.

“The temptation is to laugh, but then the MDC-T seems to be taking this wishy-washy document serious,” said the political scientist.

Said the political scientist: “The MDC-T has discovered that its JUICE is too bitter and not sweet for any voter to swallow.

“The party has also discovered that its attack on Zanu-PF’s indigenisation programme has boomeranged and so it’s time to take cover under imagined violence.

“As we head towards elections, we surely should budget for this and more laughable attempts to abuse the electoral process.

“We are in the full picture that Timba, who is being pushed out of the PM’s office, thought he could redeem himself and win Tsvangirai’s favour first through the Christpowers case and through this dossier, but then all this clearly justifies the moves to push him out of the PM’s office.”

Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Charity Manyeruke said the MDC-T’s actions were a sign of desperation as the party is panicking at the prospect of losing this year’s harmonised elections.

“It’s a clear act of desperation because everyone in the country knows that there are no serious incidents of political violence taking place in this country,” she said.

Dr Manyeruke said the MDC-T’s actions were shameful because the party has resorted to “searching” for acts of violence.

“The question is: do you search for incidents of violence or these acts appear in the open?

“The problem with some political parties is that they go out of their way on a fishing expedition to look for small cases of violence and present them as politically motivated,” she said.

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