US double standards on election deniers exposed

Tafara Shumba Correspondent

Just days before the crucial United States midterm elections, President Joe Biden stood before the country from Washington’s Union Station and issued a stark warning about election deniers.

“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America, for governor, congress, attorney-general, secretary of state, who will not commit, they will not commit to accepting the results of the elections that they are running in. This is the path to chaos in America. It is unprecedented. It is unlawful. And it is un-American,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden’s utterances triggered vitriol from the Republicans, whose losing presidential candidate in the 2020 elections, Donald Trump, refused to concede defeat.

The Republicans said Mr Biden was trying to distract Americans from his low approval ratings and from US inflation. 

He was also accused of trying to divide and deflect at a time when America needed to unite.

They said he was doing so because he could not talk about his policies that had allegedly driven up the cost of living. Some critics said Mr Biden’s warning borders on despotism.

We care less on what the Republicans say about Mr Biden or their elections, for America is a sovereign country. It is for the American citizens to decide, through the ballot, how they want to be governed and no nation must interfere with their process. 

Conversely, America must also do the same when such noises are coming from other countries. It is a virtue to respect the sovereignty of other countries.

We know very well that losers and election deniers always find excuses to justify their rejection of election results. No electoral process even in the countries that pride themselves as paragons of democracy, will ever receive outright ratification. 

In the US, according to a poll carried out by Reuters/Ipsos, 49 percent of Americans think voter fraud is a widespread problem, with 34 percent of democrats and 69 percent of republicans holding that view. 

Some 44 percent said they were concerned that the US election is rigged, including 28 percent of democrats and 62 percent of republicans.

When the opposition in Zimbabwe or anywhere else says elections are rigged, Mr Biden should know that it is the nature of losers. 

Such politicians are found everywhere and there is no need to panic when you hear their usual trumpet.

We agree with Mr Biden that denying to concede defeat is indeed unlawful and not only un-American, but unacceptable the world over.

It is unfortunate that Mr Biden sees the evil in election denial only when it knocks on his door.

We condemned Mr Donald Trump when he refused to accept defeat in the 2020 elections. We again censured him, strongly, when he instigated a coup attempt and the eventual insurrection of a mob that stormed the United States Capitol.

We did that because we know it is unlawful and an attack on democracy.

We have politicians like Mr Trump in Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, particularly in Africa. They only consider elections as free and fair when the outcome is in their favour. 

The post-election violence that erupted in the US was a reproduction of same in Zimbabwe. The opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa incited violence which erupted after the 2018 presidential elections. 

The violence resulted in six deaths.

Unlike Zimbabwe which condemned the rowdy mob and the chief instigator, Mr Trump, the US, with Europe in tow, condemned the Government of Zimbabwe for post-election violence. 

That incident injured the momentum for re-engagement that Zimbabwe’s New Dispensation had set in motion, yet it had all been caused by Chamisa who had incited his supporters to go on the streets well before the election results had been announced. 

But the US swallowed hook, line and sinker what the opposition claimed without subjecting such claims to interrogation.

Zimbabwe’s 2018 harmonised elections were observed and endorsed as free and fair by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) among other organisations. 

They all noted that Zimbabwe’s election opened new opportunities and marked new opportunities for the country.

The SADC Election Observer Mission (EOM) said the election “represented a political watershed in the history of the country”, saying this opened a new chapter. 

African Union EOM head, former Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, said the 2018 election “marked an important moment in the democratic transition” in the country. 

Comesa EOM head, Ashraf Gamal Rashed said the election was an “epic moment” and “important opportunity” for Zimbabwe to “build on a new foundation.”

Of note is the endorsement from the then not so friendly organisation, the Commonwealth whose observation was to be considered in assessing the country’s commitment to the institution’s values.

Zimbabwe is on the brink of joining the club whose delegation is currently in the country as part of its informal process of assessment regarding Zimbabwe’s request for re-admission. 

The visit would not have been made if the elections were not free and fair as the opposition claimed.

The observer group noted: “Important gains were made in these elections. The markedly improved pre-election environment, where all parties were generally able to campaign freely, is to be commended. The polls on July 30 were conducted in a peaceful manner, and were well managed and transparent.”

Despite these endorsements by the observers who were on the ground, the US and its allies chose to listen to bad losers. 

But then what goes around comes around. 

Two years later, the dark karma visited the US. Before the elections, Mr Trump began to make baseless claims about voter fraud and he subsequently refused to accept defeat. 

Bad losers are pervasive and omnipresent. Zimbabwe’s opposition party has been devotedly following Mr Trump’s script. 

They are already making groundless claims about voter fraud and the US is buying the assertions. They have already indicated, like they did in previous elections, that they will not accept an election result not in their favour.

Zimbabwe’s bad losers are fortunate that they get support from the global head boys. 

As Mr Biden warns election deniers, the warning must be extended to their ‘political projects’ in Zimbabwe and across the globe.

The issue of election deniers must begin to be on the United Nations agenda. Bad losers, who seek to subvert the will of the people, will set the world on a path to chaos if they are allowed to let their freak flag fly.

The UN must not wink at such onslaught to democracy.

As Zimbabwe inches towards the harmonised general elections, there are candidates running for every level of office, for ward, National House of Assembly, Senate, and President, who will not commit to accepting the results of the elections that they are running in. 

This is the path to chaos in Zimbabwe. It is unprecedented. It is unlawful and it is un-Zimbabwean.

It will be good if America, which has the ears of the Zimbabwean opposition, can impress on it that election denying is unlawful. 

If elections denying is unlawful in America, same must not embrace election deniers from elsewhere. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

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