HARARE – Zimbabweans will be going to the polls in the next six months to elect their National Assembly and council representatives, including their president.
To all intents and purposes, Zanu PF looks better prepared for the polls.
Last November, the party dethroned its former leader, Robert Mugabe, who had become its biggest liability going into the polls.
That “giant killing act” has erased the divisions in Zanu PF, with its officials and supporters rallying behind Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party’s new leader.
With the war veterans and the security sector also rallying behind Zanu PF, opposition parties have a herculean task ahead if they wish to stop the ruling party from extending its rule.
At a time when they should be traversing the width and breadth of the country to garner support, Zanu PF’s rivals are busy haggling amongst themselves. They have been conspicuous by their deafening silence to the point of non-existence.
One would have thought they should be holding rallies, especially in the rural areas — known for being strongholds for Zanu PF — to test the new government’s commitment to democracy but alas.
By now, the opposition should have submitted a comprehensive list of electoral reform demands to gauge the new administration’s willingness to walk the talk on the issue of free and fair elections as enunciated by Mnangagwa in his State of the nation address.
On the other hand, Zanu PF has hit the tarmac running and even the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is busy going around hospitals simply because they know they have less than seven months before elections are held and to them the polls must be won at any cost to legitimise the new president’s occupancy of office.
But where is the opposition?
It’s like it is dead and buried.
The real problem, in our view, is the old problem of African leaders who do not want to relinquish power even if they are incapacitated by ill health or old age.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should have long allowed internal elections for the position of president to occur so that the party is rejuvenated for the good of the country.
Zimbabwe desperately needs a strong and vibrant opposition to exist for democracy to flourish.
But due to the ineffectiveness of the opposition, we are heading towards a de-facto one party State controlled by a military junta.
A contestation of ideas is what Zimbabwe needs to develop and progress rapidly.