damned lies and statistics!
IT IS amazing how the mention of a number or percentage will cause belief
in the most ridiculous statements. This is probably because a lot of
us are not very good with numbers, so are in awe of those who sprinkle
their conversation with them.
The numbers convince
us that this person is educated and has all the facts at his/her fingertips.
Since this is so, we suspend our own powers of reason, believe what
we are told, and even proceed to pass the information on to others.
A current frightening example of this is the "fact" doing
the rounds that the more candidates that stand against Zanu PF, the
better, because Mugabe needs 51% to win the election. The reasoning
is that one opponent might only get 40% of the vote, but if you have
3 or 4 opposition candidates in every constituency, their aggregate
is likely to be more than 51%.
The problem is that this is indeed true of the presidential election,
where Mugabe does need to win 51% of the vote, and three credible opposition
candidates might deprive him of that. BUT this is only part of the truth.
For parliament and
council elections, it is the candidate who wins most votes, whether
51% or lower, who will win that seat. So if you have three opposition
candidates against one Zanu PF candidate, it is indisputable that the
three opposition candidates will split the opposition vote between them,
while Zanu PF will almost certainly laugh all the way back into power.
This is precisely why we in the MDC Mutambara group have been trying
so desperately to get ALL the opposition parties and groups together
so that we have one opposition candidate against one Zanu PF candidate
in every constituency and ward.
understand this clearly. That is why they were pleading for two years
with the two MDC formations to come together to avoid splitting the
vote, and that is why they are now so angry with MDC, especially with
the Tsvangirai group who rejected the second attempt at reuniting recently.
It should be recognised that the Mutambara group adopted the agreement,
the second time it has done so, but been rejected by the other side.
Surely this shows commitment to the one-candidate philosophy?
On the issue of splitting the vote, again there is a strange "fact"
going around that Simba Makoni has been put by Zanu PF to split the
opposition vote. The real fact is that it is Morgan Tsvangirai who is
splitting the opposition vote, because his group has refused to make
an electoral pact with either Mutambara or Makoni. He claims his group
can oust Mugabe on their own, whereas all they will succeed in doing
is to ensure that Mugabe wins this election because of a divided opposition.
Another "fact" is that Simba Makoni was Zanu PF during Gukurahundi,
so he is responsible, because he did nothing to stop it. It is also
an indisputable fact that Morgan Tsvangirai was a member of Zanu PF
during Gukurahundi, and we have no record of any attempt on his part
to stop it.
So was Roy Bennett
-- who remained a member of Zanu PF until May 2000, when he attended
a fund-raising function for MDC as an aspiring Zanu PF candidate for
I suggest that anyone who is spreading these false "facts"
as gospel truth should be looked at afresh, in view of this exposure.
Such a person can only have some hidden agenda, to mislead the general
population with spun misinformation to this extent. The big question
is - what is this hidden agenda?
This will be the greatest disservice to the people of this country that
I can possibly imagine. No one (apart from the small political elite
benefiting from the regime) can bear the thought of another five years
under Robert Mugabe's misrule. So I urge every loyal Zimbabwean of whatever
political persuasion who wants positive change for this country to do
their own bit to persuade the Tsvangirai group of the necessity of having
only ONE opposition candidate against ONE Zanu PF candidate in every
constituency and ward in the forthcoming election.
It is still not
too late. Candidates can still be persuaded to step down. The entire
framework for such a solution was worked out in detail and nearly agreed
upon two weeks ago. It could still work.
Stevenson is MP for Harare North and MDC (Mutambara) secretary for policy
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