REPORTS that President Robert Mugabe is still dreaming of a one-party State are disturbing. The reason could be because at the height of his political career in the 1960s, communism and socialism flourished in the Eastern bloc, championed by countries such as China, Russia and Romania. A central feature in these ideologies was the one-party state system.
In essence, one-party rule has become anathema as the world now embraces multi-party democracy as the best model of governance.
This political tidal wave, represented for instance by the Arab Spring, has claimed the scalps of opponents of democracy like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
Addressing thousands of people bussed in from all over Masvingo province, he showed his love for the one-party system saying if he was not happy with the July 31 harmonised election result, he would fight. This veiled threat to the electorate must be condemned. We believe the people have the power to put a stop to Mugabe and his Zanu PF cabal. The veteran leader has been in power for 33 years. What new will his one-party rule bring if not to perpetuate the majority’s misery and poverty?
Obviously, when Mugabe spoke about one-party rule, he meant Zanu PF rule. It means he wants to do away with multi-party democracy. The people must be wary of Mugabe’s intentions. The July 31 elections bring an opportunity for Zimbabweans to speak with one voice and deal a blow to Zanu PF chicanery.
Clearly, this shows that all along Mugabe has been pretending to embrace multi-party democracy, yet, true to his dictatorial nature, he abhors political freedom, hence his pronouncements at the Masvingo rally about “one-party rule”. He represents the past and one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that he cannot lead Zimbabwe into the future.
During the same rally, Mugabe did not miss the opportunity to talk about the liberation struggle. There is no denying he is one of the heroes of that struggle, but what Zimbabweans cannot do is to give Mugabe carte blanche — a licence — to squander the very liberation legacy associated with him by continuing to bring the country down to its knees.
Instead of coming up with policies that will rescue the majority of the people faced with grinding poverty, he has been giving out mealie-meal, cooking oil and even salt, exposing the extent of his desperation. These parcels — in fact, instruments of vote-buying — are just enough for a day. And then what? Is Mugabe not aware of the adage that it is better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish? But then all this points to redundant political thinking by Mugabe and a bankruptcy of ideas to confront challenges like unemployment and other economic ills.
Mugabe has had his chance to make a difference. Now it is someone else’s turn. Voters will have their chance on Wednesday to put the country on a new course. They should not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.