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Unmasking Freedom House survey
02/09/2012 00:00:00
by Jonathan Moyo
Survey is like a mini-skirt ... Jonathan Moyo
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TWO recent developments - namely the interim findings of an opinion survey by a right-wing American propaganda think-tank called Freedom House and Zanu PF’s progressive amendments that have aligned the July 18 Copac draft constitution with the views of the people gathered during the Copac outreach programme contained in an unpub­lished National Report - have coincidentally combined to wreak untold havoc for the MDC formations in the GPA Government which now do not know whether they are coming or going.

The ensuing havoc that is there for all to see has been made worse by the fact that both developments have far-reaching electoral implications for the two embattled parties which have nothing to show for their presence in the GPA Government except for the self-aggrandisement of their leadership, some of whom have taken to primitive accumulation in three short years while others like Morgan Tsvangirai now have US$3 million houses and are selfishly planning to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the signing of the GPA on Sep­tember 15 by indulging in a plush wed­ding to Zanu PF fiancées at a time when civil servants and ordinary Zimbabweans they gave false promises in 2009 are struggling to make ends meet.

There are two key questions about this background that beg for interrogation. First, what exactly does the Freedom House survey seek to communicate and to whom?  In other words, what really is the purpose of the survey at this juncture in the scheme of national and geopolitical things? This is an important question because as the proverbial saying goes about statistics, while surveys can be revealing, their problem is that they are like miniskirts in that they conceal the essential and most exciting part and therefore useless for that reason. So what is the Freedom House survey concealing while revealing the obvi­ous?

Second, why are the MDC formations going mad over Zanu PF’s progressive amendments of the July 18 Copac draft consti­tution whose demonstrable essence is to align the draft with the views of the people in accor­dance with Article VI of the GPA?

A lot has been written and said with all sorts of nuances about the preliminary findings of the Freedom House opinion survey entitled, “Change and ‘New’ Politics in Zimbabwe” conducted between June 23 and July 7, 2012 involving a nationally representative of 1 198 adult Zimbabweans. But the bottom line from the survey that has given Tsvangirai and his MDC sleepless nights is the following Free­dom House “finding”: “When asked who they would vote for if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, 47 percent of respondents said they would not vote, or refused to indicate who they would vote for (up from 41 percent in 2010).  Of the 53 percent who declared their prefer­ence, 20 percent said they would vote for MDC-T (down from 38 percent in 2010) and 31 per­cent Zanu PF (up from 17 percent in 2010).”


Instructively, despite his recent outbursts of sophomoric militancy about non-issues that have made him sound like a frustrated student living in the past, Welshman Ncube and his MDC did not feature at all in these stakes despite the fact that this national survey was done between June 23 and July 7 this year at a time when Ncube has been driving around in a pathetic convoy ranting, raving and pretend­ing to be a national leader contending for the presidency of the Republic of Zimbabwe when his party cannot hold multiple star rallies even in one province, in Matabeleland itself.

This important point will be examined further another day, but what should be noted for now - and this is the talking point of the moment - is that the interim findings of Freedom House’s survey show that the  MDC-T has dramatically lost support since 2010 - two years after the last election in 2008 - while Zanu PF has sharply increased its sup­port over the same period, with Welshman Ncube having nothing to show.

This has shocked the  MDC-T and its pun­dits out of their wits. Their best but hollow spin has been to claim that Freedom House has done the survey at this juncture in order “to wake up the MDC-T” and “to send Zanu PF to sleep” before the forthcoming general election which is now around the corner. If this spin had been spun in 2010, it perhaps could have had foolish takers, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that there’s no political party that needs to be awoken or sent to sleep during an election year. The proposition that the Freedom House survey, done between June 23 and 7 July, is intended to wake up the  MDC-T while sending Zanu-PF to sleep is therefore utter and complete rubbish.

As such, there must be more to the saga than meets the eye. If Freedom House was an independent think-tank which does research for its own sake, then there would be no need to split hairs about what’s going on here. Indeed, if that were the case, the  MDC-T would not be losing its empty head and going mad over the matter. The reason why all hell has broken loose is that Freedom House is not a think-tank but a propaganda tank which, along with the International Republican Institute, has been at the forefront of building the capacity of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC as a direct component of America’s so-called Zimbabwe Democracy Act (Zidera) to seek illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.

In other words, and there is a lot of public evidence out there to support this, Freedom House has been one of a few but critical instruments of choice to effect regime change in the country.  In the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections, Freedom House combined forces with the International Republican Institute under the tutelage of the likes of the infamous Melinda Ferris of the CIA to hold training seminars and workshops on electioneering, mainly in South Africa, for the  MDC-T and its associated NGOs and developed the campaign strategy and even messages includ­ing designing and producing campaign jingles for Tsvangirai’s party.

One of the leading functionaries of Freedom House at that time, Charles Mangongera, is now deep inside Harvest House as a full-time employee of the MDC-T working on the party’s policy and election strategies together with the likes of Patrick Bond, among others, under the direction of the very same Freedom House whose latest survey is finally revealing that the MDC-T actually does not have real popular support out there.

The fact that the same Freedom House that has been behind the MDC-T’s capacity building initiatives since 2001 now has the audacity to tell anyone willing to listen that the MDC-T has lost popular support is without doubt big news. It is like a mother proclaiming that her daughter is a witch.

So what’s going on here? It is simple. But in order to understand the explanation, it should be remembered that the MDC-T is not and has never been a traditional political party with a sustainable life in between or beyond elections. The  MDC-T was started in 1999 and it grew only as a Rhodie protest movement whose intended strength was to blow with the winds of regime change in Zimbabwe. In the process the MDC-T also gained some collateral momentum from the winds of succession politics within Zanu-PF among the “bhora musango” brigade.

But these winds have lost their force not least because 1999 is ages ago and President Mugabe and Zanu PF have reclaimed their leadership role in ways that are visible out there. The Rhodies on whose behalf the British and American governments founded and have been funding the MDC and have imposed illegal sanctions have clearly lost faith in Tsvangirai’s windy promise.

Unrepentant Rhodies like Roy Bennett have said as much on too many occasions to mention. Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks also revealed the same by publishing US diplomatic cables from Harare indicating that a succession of American diplomats generally believed that the  MDC-T could only function under “massive handholding” by the US government.

The trouble is that massive handholding does not come cheap and is even more costly if those whose hands should be held are incompetent and corrupt and are in politics for their own pleasure. Against this background and from an American point of view, the MDC-T has been a bad investment. The Freedom House survey is a commentary on that investment given that a general election is now overdue.

An investment is more important to the investor than anyone else who might benefit or lose from it along the way. And an investor’s reasons for making the investment are always concealed from the public. In this connection, it should be obvious that the Freedom House survey is an investor’s statement and that explains why the purpose of the survey is not self-evident and why the survey has rocked the MDC-T. Here is the deal. The purpose of the Free­dom House investment statement dis­guised as an opinion survey is not to confirm or reveal what has always been obvious namely that Zanu-PF has more popular and sustainable support on the ground - especially in between and beyond elections when policies matter the most - than the MDC-T which in the past has come alive only during elections to capitalise on political discontent of the moment only to become clueless and utterly redundant after and beyond elections.

Rather, the Freedom House statement couched as an opinion survey is to justify the withdrawal of the investment in the MDC-T by the US government and its right-wing shareholders and, of course, the Rhodie com­munity which is now convinced that the  MDC-T is a lost cause of selfish and looting politicians.

More specifically, the latest Freedom House “findings” that are confirming the reality that Zimbabweans know because they have lived with it since the US-imposed Zidera in 2001 for purposes of effecting illegal regime chance in the country are actually intended to justify the massive and severe budget cuts that are virtually affecting all US regime change outfits in Zimbabwe such as VOA’s Studio 7 and the likes of Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe and an array of good-for-nothing NGOs.

The concealed message from the Freedom House survey is in fact very simple: there is no reason why merchants of and investors in regime change in the US should continue bankrolling the MDC-T and its affiliated NGOs when there is empirical evidence from a traditionally friendly and supposedly credi­ble propaganda source - like good old Free­dom House - that the MDC-T has lost support to Zanu-PF only a few months before the forthcoming general election.

Ever since they started and up to the previ­ous one in 2010 “findings”, Freedom House surveys have routinely and falsely proclaimed huge support for the MDC-T and those find­ings have been used to justify US funding for Tsvangirai’s party and its affiliated NGOs under the presumption that the funding and accompanying support through capacity building and so forth would make the electoral difference to bring the  MDC-T to power.

But the fact that there has been no such dif­ference along with the fact that the US econ­omy is in crisis with budget cuts being the order of the day within its borders has forced Freedom House to reveal the truth that has always been known about the poor support of the MDC-T in between and beyond elections while concealing the real reason for telling that truth which is to justify budget cuts.

But even so it is important to understand that while there’s some significance in the cut­ting of budgets for the  MDC-T and its NGO affiliates by the US government which has led to the use of Freedom House to justify the cuts through a bogus survey to finally acknowledge what everybody has always known that on its own without strategic support from the US and the EU and their allies, the  MDC-T is absolutely nothing to worry about, illegal regime change objectives by imperialists and their associated subversive succession politics have not changed at all. What has changed is the strategy.

This is precisely why Zanu-PF must not get carried away about the Freedom House survey because it does not say what it means and there is nothing new about it, save that it conceals its essential purpose, which is to justify the ongoing funding cuts to the  MDC-T and its NGOs while revealing what everyone has always known about the ideological, political and policy bankruptcy of Tsvangirai’s party.

Even though the US is reviewing its new strategy, its immediate focus is on the consti­tution-making process and its interim strategy is to use the July 18 Copac draft constitution as a last-ditch pamphlet to effect a regime change. That is why the July 18 Copac draft is just an electoral manifesto with nothing at all to do with the making of a permanent consti­tution for Zimbabwe. Merchants of illegal regime change and negative succession politics are trying to coalesce around the July 18 pamphlet under the guise of a new constitu­tion with a mutually treacherous but uncertain promise to make the proper constitution after the purported transition.

Not surprisingly, the regime change pam­phlet arrogantly and contemptuously deviated from the views of the people in glaring ways under the pretext of crafting a negotiated constitution based on alleged “compromise” in direct contravention of Article VI of the GPA which provides for a people-driven constitution through a parliamentary process.

To add insult to injury the parliamentary process was also arrogantly and contemptu­ously replaced by a management committee which crafted the July 18 draft when the majority of its members and its critical core are, in fact, not members of the parliamentary select committee and are therefore not part of the parliamentary process defined in Article VI of the GPA as falsely claimed by Tsvangirai last Tuesday. If this was not a fraud then noth­ing is.

But the two MDC formations fronting this fraud and the foreigners sponsoring it have serious problems which are certain to choke them. The first is that it is now very clear and beyond any contradiction that the July 18 so-called final Copac draft with fraudulent signa­tures is not based on the views of the people as required by Article VI of the GPA which Tsvangirai claims is part of the Constitution of Zimbabwe when it - along with the rest of the GPA - is clearly not save only for Article XX, which is part of Schedule 8, as a temporary measure to subsist only during the life of the GPA Government.

A draft that is supposed to be based on the views of the people but which does not have those views and yet claims to have them is clearly a fraud and a fraud is criminal and can­not be taken to a referendum. 

The second problem for the two MDC for­mations is that an opinion survey done by one of their own as recent as between June 23 and July 7 2012 shows that the  MDC-T has lost popular support while

Welshman Ncube’s MDC has not gained any during its stint as an empty vessel in the GPA Government.

It is therefore not surprising that the two MDC formations have become stridently hos­tile to the views of the people who support a unitary state based on the sovereignty of the people who want development through decentralisation against devolution and who are opposed to foreign and inhuman values such as homosexuality and the importation of foreign institutions such as the so-called national prosecuting authority currently caus­ing disaster in South Africa and a stand-alone constitutional court - as if other courts are unconstitutional - whose hidden agenda is to invent a reactionary jurisprudence such as was temporarily practised by the disbanded Sadc Tribunal to reverse the gains of our heroic lib­eration.

And the third problem which the MDC for­mations must now deal with is that the peo­ple’s views that they and their sponsors do not want in the Copac draft constitution are back in the draft courtesy of amendments made by Zanu-PF, all of which are based on the unpub­lished National Report whose findings are far much more solid than the Freedom House survey that reveals what everybody already knows while concealing its true purpose which is to justify funding cuts to the  MDC-T and its NGO affiliates.

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