The political dust of 2010 is refusing to settle down. It won’t settle any time soon if 2011 is to proceed the way the President of the Republic, Robert Mugabe, has started.
He returned home from his annual sabbatical, this time he had taken a break in the Republic of Singapore. He returned on January 23, 2011 and was quick to announce that the general election would take place this year with or without a new constitutional order.
Having spent a good month away from the political temperatures of the troubled south of Sahara republic, I think the President was missing a good slogan.
That he has the powers to dissolve Parliament, even the powers to cause war or peace is nigh.
Elections in this country will not come that easily given the cascading regional and continental effects attached to them.
The main problem which seems to be a default impediment in Zanu PF is that it is listening to its own voices and celebrating the “melodies” of the same.
The danger associated with such an approach is that it usually leads to sad endings. It has the ability to negate the voice of reason and proceed on the dangerous grounds of a false preparedness for an election as announced by the party leader upon his return from holiday at the airport.
It always rattles my thinking why a party with a huge pool of academics continues to operate on the margins of the same mistakes at the turn of every electoral season.
This is a sad notion. Electoral readiness in Zanu PF’s language means it has activated its functionaries of violence against the supporters of its opponents.
I have not heard or seen any attempt at winning the hearts of the electorate except from Vice- President Joice Mujuru.
The rest of the party functionaries are busy issuing threats against the electorate. Times are changing. Violent campaigns are a liability in present-day politics.
This explains why we have every reason to be worried when the media reports outline that a terror campaign has been triggered in Budiriro, Mbare and other suburbs by the soldiers.
We are concerned why a party which has recited with vehemence its readiness for an election will unleash the uniformed forces on a people.
The army’s role is to defend the country from foreign invasion and neutralising forces of aggression, not descending on the citizens it is supposed to protect.
If the country is not at war and the force feels underutilised, it has a role to maintain the country’s roads, and social service through assisting in the development of the nation by providing manpower in the construction of dams, schools and hospitals among other things.
Unfortunately the party has been stuck with the old order politics of congesting civilian activities with the uniformed forces as a power retention mechanism. It’s stuck in the old politics that high military and uniformed forces visibility in communities is synonymous with party invincibility.
This is why the soldiers are reported in the media to be terrorising citizens and the self-styled war veterans reported to be doing the same to the electorate.
In this matrix of Zanu PF confusion on what the election will bring to its doorstep given the developments in other nations, the facts of the matter will remain as follows:
The comical constitution- making process will only end if ever it does come to an end around November – December 2011 or spill into 2012;
The afore-stated prevailing, 2012 will be a year of political contests as parties will be reacting to the outcome of the constitution-making and strategising for the election; and
The probable date for the next election can only be early 2013 or late 2012.
There is no merit of thought in Zanu PF calling for an election this year given the fact that it has many options to test its popularity before an election.
These options rest in the referendum and by-elections. If Zanu PF cares to listen to other voices outside its own in the likes of the Mbare “Chimurenga” Choir self-praise songs, then you will be rest assured that there is no election this year contrary to the President’s pronouncements on the 23rd upon his arrival at the airport.
However, like other suicidal beings you cannot rule out a nosedive from that side of the earth. The “academics” will read what they want to hear and proceed tracking the corpse like that defiant fly only to be buried with the very same corpse.
Whether Zanu PF is going to come up with sound policies in its manifesto or not, the country is tired of a political hegemony.
This has been expressed at every election with the last one calling for regional and continental intervention through the establishment of the GNU.
It is therefore one thing to call for an election and another to sustain the pressure which comes with such a call. It is no longer the President’s prerogative alone to call for an election.
The region has a huge stake in it. There must be sufficient evidence of compliance with its guidelines on elections.
It must also be noted that the MDCs should not be equally comfortable with the protest votes they have been receiving over time given the fact that they are now part of government.
The way the issue of the civil service has been handled leaves a lot to be desired among other things. It only takes a relay of mistakes on their part for the urban centres to be apathetic.
We remain guided by the dictates of time, the best way of divining the fortunes of the future.
Tabani Moyo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org