Looking at the current political developments in the country, one would agree that Zimbabwe is ripe for economic development. The 2018 elections were once mainly to end former President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
By Patrick Imbayarwo
Clashes between the police and activists or opposition parties holding placards calling for Mugabe to go were the order of the day in 2017.
Many articles were written for the former President to step down and we witnessed a lot of arrests of opposition members and activists.
However, due to the military intervention, as well as mounting pressure from the general populace, Mugabe resigned on November 21, 2017 leading to the inauguration of the man, who had been the former President’s political mate since the 1950s.
It was the coming of a new era in Zimbabwe. Even opposition political leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru as well as other opposition leaders and diplomats and dignitaries from other countries graced his inauguration. It was a historic event for us who were born after the country attained independence in 1980.
We have seen many industries that had closed re-opening and this includes David Whitehead Textile Industries (collapsed in 2011) in Chegutu and Ziscosteel in Kwekwe among others. Also, Mnangangwa was invited to the Wold Economic Forum, a step forward for the development of the country. I recall his statement in Davos when he told the world that Zimbabwe is open for investment.
However, though our country was aiming at building the economy, there is still a fear in many people who don’t know what will happen after August 2018 after the general elections. Of course, Mnangagwa has said countless times that elections will be free and fair. I agree with everyone that for democracy to be recognised, there must be a government that comes after the full participation of people of that nation in elections.
A democratic government is defined as a government of the people, by the people, for the people according to Abraham Lincoln. A leader that is chosen by the people. However, from one’s point of view, Zimbabwe is not ready for elections, but to formalise democracy, elections must be held in 2018. So, who is going to take the front seat in the following elections?
Looking at the current developments in the country, not even the ruling party is prepared to face elections this year.
Firstly, their presidential candidate is someone who was introduced to the political helm recently by the military intervention. I tend to disagree with anyone who says all Zimbabweans are familiar with Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF, for the past 37 years had idolised Mugabe. Everyone in Zimbabwe knows Mugabe more than any other minister in the party. It is risky for the party to introduce a new candidate a few months before general elections.
Elections were supposed to be held, maybe two years from now to allow the President to familiarise himself with the general populace, especially those in the remote parts of the country, who cannot afford to buy a newspaper. There is no means of communication in these areas that can educate these people on who the new President is.
For us, who are in Harare, we know him and we follow him almost daily on social media. Having Mnangagwa as the candidate for the next elections is like testing political waters. It is difficult to cross a river whose depth you do not know.
Adding to the confusion, Mnangagwa, introduced what I can call, a “clean-up campaign” in the party, purging all members of Zanu PF that were aligned to the G40 faction. Of course, it is called operation restore order, but in the end, this will continue to create unending cracks within the party. Almost 20 legislators and ministers aligned to G40 were fired or arrested. It is one of the best moves, but it was done at the wrong time.
This will weaken the party following elections. Preaching reconciliation sometimes makes no sense if the preacher changes his mind after leaving the pulpit. The preacher must be the first person to practice right living for people to believe the preacher’s gospel.
Remember, these Members of Parliament will go with their votes. For example, when Themba Mliswa was fired from Zanu PF, he was later seen rubbing shoulders with other Members in Parliament. Why? He won as an independent candidate. Everyone was shocked when Mliswa won the Norton constituency by-election, polling 8 927 votes against Zanu PF’s Ronald Chindedza, who garnered 6 129. Other members of the G40 would cause no harm were they to be left alone.
It is my prayer that Zanu PF accommodates other members, who belonged to different factions, so as not to split votes. From this point of view, it is difficult for Zanu PF to win free and fair elections.
Last week’s news did not go well with some comrades in Zanu PF, Mujuru is reported to have been called by Mugabe. Why was she called? What was discussed? This is another unknown fear that could strike people in Zanu PF. The former President joining hands with Mujuru, then Zanu PF will be left with nothing but to rig elections, as they will not win a majority of the vote. Though Mugabe resigned, he may still have a great following.
Following the purging that befell some members of Zanu PF aligned to G40, these may join Mujuru. As a result, this will spell disaster for the ruling party. In this case, one can say, if the Mujuru-led alliance spelt their strategy very well, they will be able to garner support from all the fired and independent members in Zimbabwe.
In the main opposition camp, one can say, “the house is on fire”. The MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is not feeling well and we are all praying for his speedy recovery. However, factional fights loom within the party on who will succeed Tsvangirai. Some support the youthful Nelson Chamisa, while others are against the idea. Some want to further developments on mending relations with other MDC groups to form an alliance. The idea of having an alliance was welcomed by almost everyone in Zimbabwe before Mugabe’s fall.
However, after the fall of Mugabe, fights within the alliance increased. The MDC Alliance is one of the groups that many Zimbabweans thought would stop Zanu PF’s four decades old rule. The fights within the alliance, as well as the MDC-T will stop the party or alliance from defeating Zanu PF. A lot of people I have met are reluctant to register to vote. They were willing to register before Mugabe’s resignation. Now, many people are more willing to work for their families rather than focusing on what is happening in the political arena.
Patrick Imbayarwo writes this article in his own capacity as a student, Contact details: 0776212330, Email: email@example.com