“Aggrieved opposition political foes and forces against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and Zim PF boss, Joice Mujuru’s grand coalition pact to dethrone President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party from power in next year’s crucial presidential and parliamentary polls, are reportedly enticing vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to cancel the plebiscite, in favour of an all inclusive National Transitional Authority (NTA) instead,” Spotlight Zimbabwe reported.
“Intelligence sources say, the picture of Mugabe’s awaited departure will be clear next month, when the nonagenarian is expected to make his last birthday television appearance speech as head of state, when he turns 93 on 21 February.”
Meanwhile an apache of opposition parties, disgruntled for being left out of the MDC-T and ZimPF coalition, are “reportedly making overtures to Mnangagwa to stop Tsvangirai and Mujuru’s partnership using the NTA, which is seen as giving all the political formations in the country especially Zanu PF an electoral grace period, while the economy stabilises before a new election can be called possibly in 2023.”
I am not surprised to hear that Zanu PF, MDC-T, ZimPF and the plethora of all the other opposition parties are all coming around to the realisation that holding the next elections with no meaningful democratic reform in place is an exercise in futility. It is said that even in mud, given time, the penny will drop!
For the Zanu PF hardliners, the very fact that not even one reform has been implemented since the rigged July 2013 elections makes the party’s victory in 2018 a certainty. The hard lesson they are being forced to learn, if they are still struggling to learn it, is what use is it to the party rigging yet another national election when they cannot rig economic recovery too!
President Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections confident he would go on and rigged the economic recovery. He failed and the consequences is the economic meltdown, 90% unemployment rate, millions now living in abject poverty. At least President Mugabe had some hope of getting funding for his $27 billion ZimAsset recovery plan going into the 2013 elections, misplaced hope as it turned out. This time the party will be going into the 2018 elections knowing ZimAsset is dead and another rigged election will only confirm to the world that the country is not yet ready to accept rule of law.
Zimbabwe has failed to revive the economy since the 2013 rigged elections because no investor and finance house would want to invest its money in a country where there is no rule of law; this message will be rammed home to all Zanu PF hardliners however long it takes them to learn it. If they think they do not have to learn the lesson, they are wrong because the country’s present economic situation of 90% unemployed, etc. is politically, socially and economically unsustainable.
The street protests of last year inspired by the #ThisFlag, #Tanjamuka, etc. are a foretaste of more social unrest to come. As long as nothing is done to end the economic meltdown there will be wave after wave of street protests or worse until there is regime change and/or economic recovery – that is what an unsustainable situation mean!
So, for Zanu PF the choice is to rig the 2018 elections and face the certainty of being forced to give up power following nationwide public unrest. The chance of the regime salvaging any meaningful role in future government under these conditions will be next to nothing – the public mistrust will be too deep rooted.
Zanu PF would be wise to accept the option of forming the NTA, hopefully play the same major role as the party played in the 2008 to 2013 GNU, and emerge, as before, stronger and, this time, hopefully wiser.
As for all Zimbabwe’s opposition parties the reality of Zanu PF rigging the next elections is be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. They are all struggling to justify why they are participating in an electoral process they know is flawed and illegal. Politicians like Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, etc. participated in the 2013 elections although the obvious thing to do then was to boycott the elections as Senator David Coltart readily admitted in his book.
It was only after the rigged elections that the MDC leaders came to their senses and agreed to boycott elections until something is done to stop Zanu PF rigging the vote. Sadly, all the MDC leaders have gone blind again and are now queuing to contest the elections regardless of the certainty they will be flawed.
MDC leaders contested the 2013 elections to secure the few seats Zanu PF was giving away knowing, by participating, they will be selling-out on the primary national objective of fighting for free, fair and credible elections. The nation was slow in holding MDC leaders to account for selling-out in 2013, the nation is already off the mark and will hold them to account if the elections are rigged!
Mai Mujuru and her ZimPF followers have already had their baptism of fire in the Bikita West by-elections where her party was beaten. Zanu PF used the usual dirty trick of threats, vote buying and, come voting day, frog matched the people to vote for its candidate. ZimPF had its own thugs, familiar with Zanu PF’s dirty tactics since they are Zanu PF thugs in all but name, on the ground but their presence was not even felt. There can only be one winner in a clash between ZimPF thugs and Zanu PF thugs – the latter because they have all the state machinery behind them!
If opposition leaders do not know it yet, they will do so soon enough; if they contest next year’s election and Zanu PF rigs the vote, their name is mud! They have got away with selling-out the people in the past, they will not do so this time. “Tsuro haiponi rutsva kaviri!” as the Shona would say.
Supporting the NTA makes a lot of sense for the opposition parties; they will avoid contesting a flawed election whose consequences is career changing if they lost whilst giving them a chance to contest in future free and fair elections where their chance of winning is considerably better. They may even get a chance to play a role in the NTA itself!