Bruiser from Bulawayo

Norm, in anticipation of the Zimbabwean elections today, offers some words from MDC stalwart Eddie Cross, who claims

I have often pointed out to any who will listen, that the MDC is a Party of the Poor.

Could this be the same Mr Cross who said

We are going to fast track privatisation. All fifty government parastatals will be privatised within a two-year time frame, but we are going far beyond that. We are going to privatise many of the functions of government. We are going to privatise the Central Statistical Office. We are going to privatise virtually the entire school delivery system. And you know, we have looked at the numbers and we think we can get government employment down from about 300,000 at the present time to about 75,000 in five years.

Yes it could. There’s more Cross firing, administered by Patrick Bond,
here. But to trash Cde Cross is not the point. Not today.

The folk at Sokwanele seem quite right to suggest that the MDC is the most popular party in Zimbabwe. The question is whether they will prevail at the polls. I don’t think they can. The intimidation around the polls seems too systematic, despite the MDC’s freedom to campaign. I’ve heard that vast rural constituencies have been discreetly appended to the voter rolls in the MDC’s urban strongholds, and the dead have been resurrected so that they can ensure Mugabe’s ‘overwhelming victory’.

In the wake of a return in Mugabe’s favour, I’d love to see, as Archbishop Pius Ncube exhorts, an Orange revolution (but without all that nasty foreign intervention). But again, what are the chances? Well, here I’m much less certain – two weeks ago, I’d have said it was impossible. While it seems fairly clear that most Zimbabweans are sick to the back teeth of Mugabe, the state is able to contain the elections through all kinds of gerrymandering. There’s less that ZANU-PF can do about a disgruntled demos, but precautions have been taken. None too subtle warnings about what will befall those who might attempt an uprising have been farted from the organs of the police, the army, and the party, with its own militias and goons dotted about the country. Yet having seen in Durban what a group of pissed off people can achieve against the state, despite being intimidated, threatened and cajoled for over a decade, I’m not going to say never.

Pessimism-of-the-intellect-and-optimism-of-the-will time.