By ALFRED NGOTEZI, 20th November 2010 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3651
WHEN Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) began throwing allegations of poll rigging at the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), I judged it was the same African post-ballot complaints' syndrome.
As most readers will agree, very few polls in Africa have not left behind indelible scars of hatred. Instead of bringing hope where there was only despair, elections have become a source of restlessness.
From the Cape of Good Hope down in the south to the Maghreb on the Mediterranean coast in the north; from the Indian Ocean in the east to the Atlantic Ocean on the west, most elections in Africa have been a menace.
This is not a generalization that multi-partyism is a failure throughout the continent. I recognize the democratic civility enjoyed in countries like Botswana and South Africa and some others. Yet, contesting election results is different from a calculated refusal to concede defeat.
In Kenya and Zimbabwe, for example, they have governments of national unity not because they are the best of bed fellows. Rather, it is because the winners and the losers agreed to share the cake midway.
One thing is clear, in those countries, like in Britain's new GNU; they used vouched figures to determine the victors and the losers. My main problem with Chadema's claim is that they are not presenting their winning statistics to the public.
I mean, they are not providing another set of results, other than the NEC's which gave President Jakaya Kikwete 61 and Dr Slaa 16 per cent. Certainly, such results don't provide a magic wand.
For the public to believe them they would need to see a verified breakdown of the results from each polling station, which is a tall order.
To the contrary, each time people ask for this evidence, Chadema responds that they are still working on it and that they would provide a comprehensive report when they are done. I beg your pardon ladies and gentlemen of Chadema.
Which should have come first, the 'winning' figures or a declaration against the results? Aren't they putting the cart before the horse?
One of Chadema's most stinging allegations against the NEC is that it took them unnecessarily long to announce the results in some constituencies, "creating room and conditions for rigging". That was bad enough.
In the same wavelength, however, how could Chadema expect the public to wait for days on end to get evidence for the serious claims they are making today? What are they doing in the bedroom with the figures, if not doctoring them?
They would do justice to the public if they came up with something like: "Our man garnered 90 per cent of the cast votes and your candidate got only 10 per cent." This is the only way people could seriously determine who won and who lost.
But they are not forthcoming with the figures, making their case very fluid. Granted, things may not have been so smooth at every polling station in the country. For example, results were adjusted for both CCM and Chadema in Geita and Vunjo constituencies and perhaps elsewhere. But really aren't these few dark spots as ineffective as a tiny drop of water in the Indian Ocean?
I know my friends could argue that two wrongs don't add up to a right. However, democracy is not absolute. Very few countries in the world could claim a crown for holding perfect elections.
They had a major crisis the other day in the US during the first election that brought President George Bush (Jr) to the White House. But this did not cause Congress or the House of Representatives to be abandoned by the Democrats.
Instead, they regrouped and routed out the Republicans at the following election. On the other hand, Chadema may have purposely resolved to keep CCM sitting up throughout the next five years as a target-softening strategy.
My problem, however, is that this strategy could boomerang since it has taken so many variables for granted. Are Chadema, for example, cohesive enough to withstand CCM's reprisals, of all sorts, when they start landing?
In other words, rather than engage in a tough physical duel with a heavyweight, Chadema could have played cool by wisely consolidating their gains and concretizing their grassroots' membership base in order to win at the next elections.
Well, Chadema know their own strength and are at liberty to use it as they wish. However, they have no right to make unsubstantiated statements to the public, which threaten the well-being of the country. Let them prove the rigging allegations they are making against CCM or climb down.
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