POLITICAL analysts and commentators are predicting a tense political atmosphere punctuated by bouts of factional fights and violent clashes in the forthcoming year as the country braces for two major political events – the constitutional referendum and harmonised elections.
REPORT BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
In separate interviews with NewsDay yesterday, analysts and commentators said they also feel Matabeleland will again be in the spotlight as it is believed to hold the swing vote.
Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said there was likely to be “an increase in contestations” around elections and the constitutional referendum.
“I can foresee the political parties fighting over the constitution and the process will just move up and down and in circles,” he said.
“There will be a lot of internal strife among political parties because of the upcoming primaries, which will heighten factionalism.
“Seeing that it’s an election year, there will also be so much jostling in Matabeleland in terms of political parties contesting the region.”
Analyst and civic society leader Effie Ncube said: “Definitely, we will have an election in 2013.
“We will have an election, no doubt about that because that is a constitutional requirement,” he said. “There may be problems in terms of the exact date, whether it will be March or June, but we will have an election next year. There is no political, economic or social appetite to postpone the election.
“In terms of the outcome of the election, it comes down to two parties in terms of numbers, that is Zanu PF and the MDC-T. I am not saying other parties like the MDC do not count, they can win an election, but if we are making our predictions based on what is happening right now, it’s either Zanu PF or MDC-T.”
Ncube said the elections in 2013 “will be violent, but not as violent as 2008”.
“We will have a new constitution, but with very little in terms of democratic space,” he said. “It (the constitution) will be compromised in a serious way because we are judging ourselves against the current disaster and not progressive cases like South Africa.”
Another political analyst, Rodrick Fayayo, said the focus would obviously be on the constitution and the election, but there would be continued manipulation of the two processes by powerful politicians, especially the Executive.
“There are two things,” he said. “There is what the people of Zimbabwe would want and what powerful politicians want. Clearly, the people want a constitution, a new constitution not tampered with by the Executive.
“Secondly, people want a free and fair election. But in Zimbabwe when people want a fish, they are given a snake.
“Even on the constitution, the will of the people may be subverted, we will see the will of the few who want to protect their interests prevail.”