From the everyday Mugabe signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2008 committing him and Zanu PF to accepting democratic reform the next national elections were as good as won for Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. Sadly MDC went on to lose the July 2013 elections because they became excitable, confident they will win the elections and took their eyes off the ball - implementing the raft of GPA democratic reforms to ensure the elections were free, fair and credible. MDC failed to get even one reform implemented in five years of the GNU.
With not even one reform implemented Mugabe went on to blatantly rig the elections and the rest is history.
History has the habit of repeating itself; Zimbabwe’s opposition; such as they are, a bunch of corrupt and incompetent riff-ruffs; can nonetheless still go on to win the next elections if only they could their eyes on the ball this time. We still need to have the GPA reform implemented. Sadly the opposition is not just corrupt and incompetent but they are a very easily excitable lot; keeping they eyes on the ball is proving mission impossible!
“The post-congress Zanu PF is consumed by its vicious factional and succession wars and the economy is in free-fall as Cabinet ministers commit themselves more to party business rather than bread and butter issues,” the very excited Didymus Mutasa told the Daily News.
“If ever there was a time for Zimbabweans to take them on, it is now.”
Yes it is true that Zanu PF being torn up in these succession-factional wars on the one hand. Whilst on the country’s worsening economic situation on the other hand is making the party less and less electable. Ever since Mugabe failed to get anyone to bankroll his $27 billion ZimAsset recovery plan he has clearly given up on reviving the economy. Still the opposition would be making a big mistake to assume Zanu PF is out of the race because of these two events, important as they are.
The opposition should take advantage of the weakened Zanu PF and the worsening economic situation to demand that the party accept the implementation of the GPA reforms. A united opposition can force Mugabe to accept reforms because even he would know that he has only two hands and they are full right now and therefore it would be most unwise to take on a third one.
If Mugabe is allowed to go into the next elections with no reforms implemented again then he will clearly have the chance of rigging them again.
Some people have argued that Mujuru, Mutasa and the rest in People First know how Mugabe has rigged elections in the past and they will stop him doing it again this time. Whilst it is true that the likes of Mujuru knew Mugabe was rigging elections I bet she does not know any details.
The ease with which Mujuru and her supporters were booted out of the party last year shows these were just passengers on the gravy train whom Mugabe and the small cliché that have ruled the party and country had allowed to come along for the ride. When the passengers started to be a nuisance, demanding that they too be allowed to be the train drivers, Mugabe kicked the lot off the train.
For all their 34 years in power Mujuru and her supporters have never exercised real political power; they still do not know whether the train was a coal-fired, diesel, electrical or whatever!
“Zanu was much more inclined to being ruled by small group at the top and to not permit debate within its ranks,” said Cephas Msipa in his book In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir. He was right on the money!
Mugabe and his small group, the Joint Operation Command (JOC), composed of the top brass in the Police, Army, CIO, Prison Service, a few others co-opted into the group headed by Mugabe himself assisted by Mnangagwa. To successful rig the elections a few more people were brought into the loop to carryout various tasks without ever be told any details other than the bear minimum to get the job done.
Whilst the rest of the nation is impoverish with central government so starved of cash the Minister of Finance is struggling to pay civil servant wages let alone pay for everything else, JOC is drowning in cash. According to Partnership Africa, Canada, Mugabe pocketed at least $2 billion from his share of the looting taking place in Marange in 2012 alone. The other members of JOC are the other holders of the remaining concessions.
Minister of Finance during the GNU, Tendai Biti, complained that government was not getting all the due tax revenue from Marange, he got $400 million instead of the expected $900 million or so. Since Zanu PF took over complete control again at the end of the GNU tax revenue into government coffers from Marange have since completely dried up. Biti accused Mugabe of running a parallel government with its own source of funds.
“During the government of national unity in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF beat the MDC to the announcement by alleging that it was running a parallel government,” wrote Japanese researcher Ken Yamamoto in his most recent article on Zimbabwe. “The fact of the matter was that Zanu PF was running a parallel government, on the back of murky transactions with Sam Pa.
“Pa set up a Sino-Zimbabwe Development company (Sino-Zim), a joint-venture with Zimbabwe’s CIO, fronted by Happyton Bonyongwe. One of their key transactions was to buy a building in downtown Harare along Samora Machel Avenue known as Livingstone House, formerly owned by Old Mutual. This is where Zimbabwe’s Ministry of ICT is housed.
“Sino-Zim dabbled in many operations ranging from cotton to mining to financing parallel Zanu PF operations in government to buying goodies for the CIO. But most importantly, Sam Pa bought vehicles for the CIO, funded Zanu PF’s elections including buying millions of Mugabe-branded giveaways and farming inputs Mugabe dished out ahead of the 2013 elections. Emmerson Munangagwa, prior to Zimbabwe’s election in 2013, travelled to Angola, and brought back one million dollars in cash to fund elections contrary state laws, courtesy of China-Sonangol, a Sam Pa creation.” For the full article see The Zimbabwean, Yamamoto: Chinese leader’s visit – the dots.
So JOC has plenty of cash, come the elections, to pay for the usual hired crowds bussed from one rally to the next; to pay for the bussed multiple voters; to pay NIKUV another $10 million to corrupt the voters roll; buy all Zanu PF candidate brand new vehicles; etc.
Even if the electorate should come out with a cast iron determination to vote Zanu PF as a result of the worsening economic hardship as happened in 2008. Tsvangirai failed to “win” the presidency then because the ever resourceful Mugabe showed that even if the opponent has received an overwhelming number of cast votes one can still win if those tasked to count the votes know what the result must beforehand.
ZEC took five weeks to count 4 million votes, the finished the actual counting in less than a day they used the rest of the time “cooking” the result.
The 2008 GPA reforms included ZEC reforms so that the commissioners are independent and will count the cast votes; reforms to the Police so that they will arrest those who commit political violence; the funding of all political parties and their activities are transparent and open to public scrutiny; etc. This is what free, fair and credible elections is about and that is what the opposition should be demanding.
Telling the very excitable Tsvangirai to keep his eyes on implementing the reforms during the GNU proved to be mission impossible. He has learnt nothing because he just as excitable this time round. Unless we implement all the 2008 GPA democratic reforms in full Mugabe and Zanu PF will still “win” the next elections. Mujuru and her People First team were passengers on the Zanu PF gravy train, the train did not stop because it “baby dumped” noisy passengers!