Nelson Chamisa, it turns out, is playing straight into the hands of ZANU PF with his constant agitation around the voters' roll and the ballot paper.

This was revealed to us yesterday, Sunday, 08 July, entirely by accident. We were not supposed to hear what we are about to tell you and I hope we will not get into trouble for it!

ZANU PF, like the Republicans in the USA, the Tories in the UK and many other parts of the world, knows that one of the most effective ways to "rig" an election is to ensure that your opponents' supporters do not show up on voting day.

It is called voter suppression. It is a micro strategy that the Republicans used in the USA for decades before the Dems and the Independents woke up to what was happening (and it involved manipulating local laws to demand the sort of ID documents the Republicans knew Democratic supporters were unlikely to have).

Demotivating MDC supporters is ZANU PF's number one prize, and Nelson Chamisa and his crew are fueling it brilliantly, by ZANU PF's own admission.

Here's how it works:

The constant loud shouting about the Voters' Roll, pictures, ballot paper printing etc etc, is having the effect of making MDC Alliance supporters believe that the election will be rigged somewhat. They do not understand it fully but just hear their candidate complaining about losing the elections before it is even held, not matter what language is used around this issue by the opposition,

This is the same ghost that Morgan Tsvangirai failed to recognised until his third election, when he started making the right noises to reassure his voters. And it contributed immensely to Morgan beating Mugabe fair and square in the first round of the elections, that reassurance and change in message.

All this is being undone by Nelson Chamisa.

The problem is that the vast majority of voters do not care to follow the minute details of these complaints and issues being raised.

All they know is that the MDC Alliance and its candidate, Nelson Chamisa, are complaining about ZEC, that it is biased, that it is "working to deliver a ZANU PF win."

Whatever issue we had with Tsvangirai, he was intelligent enough to recognise the devastating effects of this on his support base and his voters and he corrected it the moment it dawned on him, but then forgot the lesson for the 2013 election as hubris set in.

Nelson Chamisa is actually proving incapable of recognising this and I pity the MDC supporters because a rookie is now in charge of their party and it looks like it will take him another three elections to learn what Morgan Tsvangirai did.

ZANU PF wants Nelson Chamisa to make as much noise as possible about "irregularities" and "rigging". They want that message spread as far and as wide as possible. Because once that is done, MDC supporters will, as they have proven before, decide that their vote does not matter and they should stay at home on voting or do other things they enjoy with the holiday provided by Polling Day.

Make no mistake, the demands Nelson Chamisa is making are going to be satisfied by ZEC at some point. Mostly because this grandstanding by Nelson Chamisa has nothing to do with actually ensuring a free, fair and credible elections. His grandstanding is definitely about playing to the gallery of Observers, to ensure that there is a disputed election results after 30 July 2018, so that there can be a GNU.

So the demands will be met for the sake of observers.

But this will be delayed long enough to give Chamisa a rope long enough with which to hand himself.

The more he marches, cries about "rigging" and "lack of transparency", the more his potential voters get demotivated, decide that voting on the day just will not be worth it because whatever they do, their vote will be "stolen" anyway.

This is an actual ZANU PF strategy. You may laugh it the way the Democrats laughed at the suppression strategy of the Republicans in the USA, but you will wake up to it sooner or later. And we dare say it is working to devastating effect, especially in the urban areas, where the fight and complaints are being amplified every single day by media that is read and watched by a combined total of around 4 million Zimbabweans, according to statistics.

In the urban areas, it will result in the suppression of enough votes to matter. And in the rural areas, it is even worse: rural MDC supporters, as we have seen for ourselves, believe that they are so outnumbered that it is not worth the effort to get and vote on the day because their vote will not matter.

Next, probably later on tonight, if you are interested, I am going to do another post looking at the criminal manner in which Nelson Chamisa is sabotaging his political Alliance, his party and the expectations of his supporters by the very campaign strategy he has deliberately decided to take. It is criminal from where we sit because of the damage it is doing to the progress of democracy in Zimbabwe. ZANU PF, even if they win, can not be unchallenged in power, they need to be kept on their toes and perhaps our only hope will lie in focused Independent candidates like the brilliant Fadzai Mahere in Mt Pleasent, who looks like she would really hound whoever gets in after July 30 and try to keep our fledgling democracy on the straight and narrow.


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