United States based think-tank Council on Foreign Relations has warned that with the current unsettled succession battle in Zanu PF and failure to tackle other pressing national issues, Zimbabwe is likely to plunge into a further economic and political crisis.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
This was observed by researcher George Ward of the Institute for Defence Analysis in a recent study titled Political Instability in Zimbabwe.
The research went predicted that the opposition MDC-T might re-emerge as a political force and take over from Zanu PF.
The think tank further noted that Mugabe’s most imminent challenges were his advanced age and poor health as he travels countless times abroad repeatedly for medical treatment of an undisclosed ailment.
“The risk factors associated with political instability in Zimbabwe are growing. Although President Mugabe has moved to strengthen his already tight grip on the levers of power within both the government and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), doubts remain as to how long tight discipline will last,” said CFR while noting that an economic crisis in Zimbabwe will trigger demands for political change.
“The government’s misguided economic policies, including land confiscation and forced “indigenization” of businesses, continue to have the predictable results of depressing productivity. “According to the World Bank, Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate is falling and will decline to less than 1% annually by 2016.”
The think tank said difficult economic circumstances could lead to both civil unrest and new flows of refugees.
“The opposition MDC party, which was credited with the currency reform that ended the last economic emergency, might re-emerge as a political force,” said CFR.
Lately there has been a lot of activity on the mainstream MDC-T party with its leader Morgan Tsvangirai meeting supporters in different parts of the country while the breakaway UMDC was reviving structures.
Analysts said the underlying message coming out of the meetings was clear, that opposition parties wanted the Zanu-PF government to leave office and allow fresh blood to take charge.
The opposition parties have even upped their tempo at a time when President Mugabe is getting older and struggling with health issues and failing to put a lid on discerning voices of erstwhile comrades such as Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo who were pressure on him and his administration.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the opposition party was the government in waiting.
“We are always holding meetings with the people and a serious party like us never go to sleep. A serious party is formed to take over power and we are prepared to take over power anytime,” said Gutu.
UMDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the post Mugabe era was imminent.
“There is multiple institutions failure and this need to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
However political analysts said the opposition might fail to take advantage of the situation as they were weakening themselves with the unending fights.
“I think it’s self-defeating to recall those MPs because the net effect of that is MDC-T will donate those seats to Zanu PF,” said political analyst Charles Mangongera in reference by plans to recall 21 MPs who defected to the UMDC.
He said it would be naïve for the MDC-T to seek vengeance on the breakaway faction while weakening the opposition in parliament where Zanu PF already has a two thirds majority.
Political scientist Eldred Masunungure said the opposition was at its weakest since 1999 and recalling the “rebels” will be reckless of the MDC-T.
“At the parliamentary level, the expulsion of these MPs will gravely weaken the parliamentary opposition and Zanu PF already have a super majority in parliament and the MDC-T said it will not be contesting,” he said.