Wordless Wednesday – Autumn in U.K.

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Day 2: Creative Writing challenge: Declaration

This is a follow up on my first challenge whose thread  is the recently held elections in my native nation of Zimbabwe.

The days that followed the announcement which declared the ruling party (Zanu-pf) the winner  of the 2018 election, thereby making its leader E.D. Mnangagwa the president of the Zimbabwe left those  who had voted for the opposition mainly urbanites and  young  in a state of “deep depression”  because the margin with which the ruling party won was very small. The ruling party had only passed the threshold of avoiding a re-run of election by 0.8 percent. The loss of six people who were killed after the announcement by the army added to the depression.

For a moment all those disillusioned masses of people lost all hope of what could have been a turning point for our nation.  The opposition alliance presidential candidate then challenged the validity of the election by lodging a petition to the Constitutional Court which is the highest court in the land and whose decision can not be appealed, this gave the people a flicker of hope.

I am not a lawyer but because the elections were very important to me and my fellow Zimbabweans we all wanted to know what it meant to lodge  a petition.  The process is very technical but what I understood  as what was going to happen according to the constitution of Zimbabwe is that the law governing challenges to the presidential election is provided for under section 93 of the constitution, so it was withing the law to challenge an election.

This provision states that the aggrieved party may, within seven days after the DECLARATION of election result  challenge  the result  of a presidential election at the Constitutional court. (Con Court in short) What this means without me going into the technical details of the law is simply that the ConCourt is required to hear and determine the matter within a period of 14th days after the petition is lodged.

Once the petition was lodged it meant the  inauguration of the president elect that the ruling party had already started planning had to be put on halt. That was welcome news as it clearly showed that the justice system was accessible to seek redress. This is the first time it has happened considering most of the elections in the 38 years had been manipulated.

Up until now people including myself had not taken an interest as to how our justice system works but because there is some suspicion that  elections had been stolen in the past, the petition motivated me and many others to want to understand. For me it was a  need I have always had to know how independent our justice system is. In an era where bribes and corruption rule the day. There have always been a degree of suspicion when it comes to how the ruling party goes about doing things. Bribes have come in all disguises like promotion for those who judge in favour of the ruling party and forced retirement for those who resisted being influenced by the ruling party.

For me this election petition to the concourt  became a test case, I followed the proceedings with keen interest to discover whether the learned judges were to prove they are professionals who would not allow any influence from any quarter to cause them to deter them from doing what is right and just. The judges were also going to prove to the nation that they uphold the ethos of their profession to deliver JUSTICE with out fear or favour for every one whatever your background as we want to believe that we are all equal before the law.

The constitutional court was held on the 14th of August , their responsibility after having heard the petition was to:-

a) to declare a winner  because of the ultimate power it has as  the highest court in the land. This why the question of independence of the judiciary is significant.

b) to invalidate the election, which would give those challenging a new and equal opportunity

c) may make “any order as it considers just and appropriate” this third responsibility can be good or bad. However it would allow itself a leeway to come up with a solution to what is a difficult problem

Any of the the above outcomes were what I was expecting to emerge from the process. I was glued on my mobile phone for the hearing, the people at the centre of the hearing were (i) the opposition presidential candidate (ii) Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) who ran the election and (iii) the ruling party who were declared the winner. The point the opposition was arguing were the figures which had been announced which were not corresponding with the figures candidates and their polling agents had.  In some cases the numbers of votes cast in particular constituencies  exceeded the number of registered voters in those constituencies. This was made worse when ZEC declared the ruling party candidate winner in one constituency when in actual fact it had been an opposition candidate who had won. ZEC acknowledged its mistakes and it declared the opposition candidate the winner. It was incidents like this one which increased suspicion that the results had been manipulated.

What surprised me was to hear the chairman of the concourt playing down the point of figures as not enough evidence of challenging the legitimacy of the election. Even to an ordinary person like me without any legal background understands  how important figures are in an election. The chairman insisted that the court did not believe in figures but facts, in an election figures are the facts. It was at this point I began to realize that the bench was not free from the influence of the ruling party, it was reflected in the way they delivered the ruling. It seemed the bench itself was not convinced with their own ruling it looked as though they were acting on some external instructions that is what one saw as we watched on the television.

I mentioned earlier that the election petition for me was not only about hearing the grievances  but it was also about the judiciary needing to prove that it was free from the influence of the ruling party. As I listened to the proceeding  it was clear  that the way the bench dealt with the petition was not just. The lawyer who was representing the opposition candidate was grilled with questions by the bench as if he had committed a crime yet all he was doing was represent his client. Yet on the other hand it looked like the bench did not have any questions for the lawyer who was representing ZEC yet there were a lot of questions which the opposition candidate needed to be addressed and yet the bench did not even raise questions.  That  action alone increased the suspicion about the independence of the judiciary.

The performance of the bench during the concourt did convince me that it was not free from the ruling party’s manipulation instead and made me realize how most of the key public institution are trapped by the ruling party. The professionals who are in these key positions want to keep their jobs as the appointments are made by the government so it may be that they would deal with what ever is brought before them in the way that the ruling party want them to. It is on record that judges in the past who did not tow the line in the past 38 years  were either  retired or forced to retire that is how the party operates which is another form of bribery.

All that I had expected to happen at the concourt did not happen living me wondering how citizens would get fair hearing from a judiciary system which can easily  be manipulated. What the concourt managed to do was show that it is not able to rescue but that it is  prepared to sink with a system which is on a downward slope. The concourt used its power to DECLARE the ruling party the winner, that was final what was left was for the nation to accept that  declaration.  The opposition are holding on to the fact that the person who is now governing was declared but the person who was elected  is not governing what justice is that.

7 Day Creative Writing Challenge : – Defeat (ed)

Since my last post on the 25th of July, Zimbabwean elections have come and gone leaving 2.6 million out of the 5.3 million who had registered to vote feeling defeated. Following the events in November 2017 which outsed Robert Mugabe the nation was feeling up beat with a prospect of the opportunity to elect a new government. A chance to begin rebuilding a nation and a people who had been struggling to survive for the past 38 years.

Once the interim president had been sworn in  to take charge while preparation for elections were being made all seem to be going on well.  The new leader of government was saying all the right things raising people’s hopes  thinking a new era was dawning. Opposition parties were  working hard to put their act together, producing their manifestos  to present to the electorate as their blue print of what they would do if elected.

As soon as the 31st of July was announced as the date  the elections were going to be held, campaigning by all contesting parties started in earnest. For the first time after 38 years all parties seem to be able to campaign without any major incidents of violence. Little incidents like party campaign posters being removed and few incidents of intimidation by the ruling party supporters in the rural areas was observed. The state sponsored broadcaster aired political broadcasts from all contesting parties, although it was very clear that both the electronic an print media were biased towards the ruling party. Generally the campaign atmosphere was relatively peaceful. The nation was filled with optimism.

As the campaign was heating up, it looked like the main opposition party was gained ground as far as getting the nation behind it for saying it had lost its founding leader only three months before. However a leadership wrangle erupted,  which for some reasons tend to characterize political parties. This was an unwanted distraction for any political party when it  is supposed to be selling its policies to the electorate with the aim of convincing them they are the right party to be be in government. Energies were diverted to solving the leadership question at the peak of the campaigning period. The wrangle went on resulting in  a break away segment of the main opposition party which only gave ammunition to the ruling party to discredit the opposition.

As one of those living in the diaspora this development within the opposition party was of great concern as it was something I did not want to  happen at that crucial time of our nation as we needed a realistic alternative to the failed ruling party why would the question of leadership become an issue to put all efforts than campaigning the opposition needed to be focused on the important issues which were on people’s minds.

Why was this important to me to a point I felt frustrated by the leadership question, like many Zimbabweans living in the diaspora there  need to be a change of government as I would go back to live in my own native land. I  would like to contribute in my own small way to the development of our nation which has been sliding downwards for some time now under the current government which was seeking another mandate to govern for yet another term.

Throughout the  38 years of their governance by this particular political party the nation has lost a lot, jobs, livelihoods and opportunities of raising its standard of life. My own example would help put things in context why a change of government is important. Because of the escalating  inflation I lost 250,000 Z$ when it had value which was my life savings when one of the banks went bust, I also lost the value of the shares I had bought in one of the finance houses with the idea of investing for the future. This was all due to poor financial decisions the current government was  making. In my part of the world when banks  fail there is no compensation made to the depositors you just loose your life savings just like that period. During the past 38 years bank after bank went bust as result of corrupt practices which went unabated by  the government. That is what makes me so interested in a change of government hoping a new pair of hands can pull us as a nation out of the pit we find ourselves in.

I had pinned my hopes on this election not that I would get back what I lost but that  new opportunities would open up to rebuild our lives. It is an open secret that Zimbabwean elections are not able to change  a government because they are prone to manipulation by the ruling party, I was hoping for a miracle  this time round things would be different the issues of manipulating elections would be dealt with.

The news that a few other small opposition parties had decided to join hands with the main apposition part and form an alliance to challenge the ruling party at the polls was very encouraging my optimism  was restored bringing a flicker of hope that a change of fortune for our nation was within reach. Every campaign day boosted the chances for the opposition as people continued to register to vote as result of all the rallies where people were encouraged to make sure they had registered to vote’

All seemed to be on course international observers were allowed to come and observe the election among them were the  Southern Africa Development Commission (SADC) African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) to just mention a few. This restored some confidence in the electorate knowing that  the conduct of the elections would be observed. This reduced the level of suspicion  of the people towards the ruling party.

On the 31st of July polls opened and people woke up as early as 4:00 am to secure a  place in the ques so as to be able to cast their vote. When the polls closed it became a waiting  game as the expectant electorate awaited the results of the election which was hoped to be a point when the nation was to start a new pathway.

It took ten days for the nation to know the outcome of the election, when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) began to release the results it looked promising at the beginning until the waiting people began to notice in consistences in the figures which ZEC was releasing as each result gave victory to the interim president with figures which were not corresponding with figures which had come out at constituencies. That was the moment the nation realised something had gone wrong with the election results as the opposition had lost to the ruling party with a very small margin – the opposition had been defeated the following photo captures the mood of the people: The translation of the caption on the photo simply says TROUBLE!

It was a blow for those who had hoped for the opposition’s victory, it only confirmed the suspicion that the ruling  party succeeds to election after election  manipulate the results in the end the supporters took to the streets to  demonstrate at the ZEC offices demanding explanations why the figures were not corresponding. Unfortunately the army was called in to come and disperse the demonstrators resulting in six people being killed by the army who opened fire on innocent civilians.

The question which remain un answered is, was it justified to call on the army to come and restore law and order? Had the police failed to do that.

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Absence

I can not believe that I have not been posting as often as I would have wanted to, I can not pin it on any one thing but a combination of a lot of things.

First I must admit I was left a bit lost when the daily prompts came to an end, it now looks as if that was my motivation for posting regualarly. Thanks to  thehouseofbailey  who has stepped up and is kindly offering daily prompts. Thanks Scott  I am really grateful that you have done that.

Second I am sure I have been having ‘a writers block’ not being motivated to write and yet deep down I yearn to put my thoughts down. The third factor has been the political situation in my home country I have been taken by all the goings on  as Zimbabwe builds up to the 30th of July when the nation goes to ‘hopefully’ elect a new government. Those of us in the diaspora regrettably will not be able to vote as the powers that be decided that there were not  going to  put in a system that would allow us to vote. While part of me was disappointed part of me was pleased. Our electoral process has been on record of being manipulated in favour of  the ruling party, I would not have wanted to go and cast my vote at the embassy for fear my vote would be manipulated.

Like other nations Zimbabwean elections are proving very divisive, there those like me who just want the political party which has ruled our nation for the past thirty eight years to step aside and allow a different party to govern and bring in a new style of leadership. Zimbabwe needs rebuilding as the economy has collapsed affecting a lot of things.  We seen industry disappearing that there is now a 75% rate of unemployment.  There is an acute shortage of money people can not access their own savings as banks are not able to pay out money. When the current government came into power in 1980 the country had great potential the agricultural industry was thriving, the education and health sectors were among the best in the African continent. Thirty eight years on and the country is on its knees as result of bad governance. That is what sent people on the street last November when the army generals unseated Mugabe as reflected in the following photo.

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Every progressive Zimbabwean wanted Mugabe to go hence the support of the ‘coup which was not a coup’ Now seven months after that historic demonstration of unity of purpose it looks like the nation may have removed a dictator to replace him with another dictator who may prove to be worse than Mugabe. When he took over the governance he said and continue to say the right things but he does not back his words with actions.

He does not look like he is going to be different, his cabinet is made up with people who are associated with the rampart corruption which ruined our once promising nation.  He has appointed people on the electoral commission whom he knows will manipulate the system to make him remain the head of state and government. The one thing which he did not work to undo is the control of the electoral system which the nation demonstrated against last week as reflected in the following photograph.

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It  is certainly clear that the election scheduled to be held next Tuesday the 30th July are not going to be free and fair.

I did not plan for this post to be this long to explain why I was not posting but I  hope all those who follow my blog will see what has been pre occupying my mind. I have resolved to go back to be posting  regularly. I hope I will keep to my resolve.

Broken

Here is a word we hear about a lot these days. Politicians  talk about a broken world as terror attacks are on the increase. There seem to be a lot of hatred, some people have decided to go on a war path for reasons only they know.

What is regrettable is that those who are caught in cross fire are those who are already struggling or ordinary people caught while they are going about their own  lives. The question is what is the purpose of this unnecessary loss of life?  We can never get an answer to this question except that humanity is really broken.

Is it because humanity has turned its back  on God every one claiming  they  can get along  on their own. One person sit with a tablet or laptop  and get all the information they want to know including  how to end other people’s lives.

How can we mend the brokeness,  I do not think we can except that as individuals we begin to think of others before  ourselves. Each one of us would go back to value life, no life deserves to be ended unnecessarily.

How I wish

What a prompt on this last day of one word prompts, from the day it was announced  that prompts were no longer going to be done I have been regretting why I had not written  as often as I was able. I wish procrstination had not get the better of me.

Retrospection always make you regret what could have been, if I had written as many posts  as there were prompts  I would have a lot of posts to draw from for where I want to take my blogging.

As I look back now on the ones I did write I am surprised as my own thought processes  how  I interprets  each prompt taking it where  ever the direction it felt good to me.

Some of them  took me to places which I could have happily avoided, but interesting enough writing posts on issues which had caused me pain in my past become a very positive therapy.

What  a journey I have been these past seven years thanks to the team who motivated all of us to write.  The challenge  now is where do I go from here begin  to have my own ideas  of what I want to write  and post on the Reader. I wonder what it is going to happen  if I put off writing with the prompts, would I ever get myself  motivated  enough to write. It is going to be a challenge  which I am will to face head  on. Who knows  this may be what I needed to take my writing to the next level.

Weekly photo challenge – Place in the World

I loved the weekly photo challenge of the 9th of May. The brief was to show one’s safe space in other words where one finds themselves. I love being out doors I love the natural landscapes, and just being in the natural environment

I am sure those who follow my blog already know I am at home and feel I belong when I see sunsets and sunrises, as a religious person the time I feel most connected to God is watching the sun setting.  My first photos has to do with that.

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This is in Manna pools a resort in Zimbabwe I love the sight with mountains in the background and that dead tree in the middle just add to the beauty.

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While Zimbabwe and Zambia share the these falls I think the Zimbabwean side is the best  because nothing can beat that sunset over the falls and that can only be seen from the Zimbabwean side of the falls. Every time I am holidaying in the falls I feel very close to God.

 

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This was sent to me by I friend, I am using this photo the reflect where I belong  ‘OUT DOORS’

 

 

Daily Prompt – The rising tide of nationalism

Having not posted for a while, I seem to be organized  now I  have some time to catch up with writing posts. The daily word prompt for the 4th of May was ‘tide’ which is associated with the rise and fall of sea level.

I was born and brought up in a landlocked country which means until I came to live in the U.K. I had no experience of the sea tides, however I have experience of the rising tide of the African nationalism which started in the late 1950s and 1960. I was about  10 years old when my father got involved in the politics of our nation. A wind of change was sweeping through out the African continent

The whole continent was ruled by some colonial power from the West, in that decade most African countries held the political ideology that any nation should govern itself, free from unwanted outside interference and  determine its own destiny. In our household I often heard my parents talk about the development and maintaining our own national identity based on the African characteristics such as culture, language, race, religion, and political goals.

As the tide of nationalism swept throughout the continent some African countries took up arms to liberate themselves from colonial rule, others negotiated the change without having to resort to armed struggle. One by one some countries got their independence and became sovereign states. Zimbabwe was one of those which had to use the armed struggle to attain independence which was realized in 1980. On the 17th April 1980 a Zimbabwean flag was raised to mark self governance  we all felt great that we could determine our own destiny. As to where we are now 37 years after that change is another story which is for another post.