Source: Munyeza urges opposition to dump reforms demands – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 15, 2017
PROMINENT businessman and clergyman, Shingi Munyeza, has urged opposition parties to dump their “no reforms, no elections” demands and scale up their voter registration campaigns in urban areas for them to stand a better chance of dislodging President Robert Mugabe in next year’s general elections.
By Albert Masaka/Blessed Mhlanga
Munyeza, in a document posted on his Facebook wall early this week, said: “The urban citizen is the most vocal when things go wrong yet voter turnout is below 30% compared to rural voter turnout of over 70% — ensure you vote when the day comes. There is never going to be a level playing field, so plan to participate in an uneven electoral system.”
He also warned that Zanu PF was planning to confuse the electorate by launching its electronic membership registration at the same time the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would be rolling out its biometric voter registration exercise.
Munyeza advised the opposition to concentrate on building grassroots structures and desist from relying on social media platforms, “as less than 10% of voters are on social media”, warning that “social media is both entertaining and misleading”.
“Candidature is key, therefore ensure it’s bottom up in representation, whilst demonstrating leadership renewal from top down — no one lives forever and you don’t have to be the only one to accomplish everything for everyone.”
To Zanu PF, Munyeza warned of a looming protest vote, as party members were still divided along factional lines amid growing calls for Mugabe to step down and hand over power to his juniors.
“The ingredients of ‘bhora musango’ — the nightmare of March 2008 — can be rekindled,” he said, adding that the ruling party’s “worst enemy” in the upcoming elections was likely to be the economy.
“Your worst enemy is not your political opponents, but the economy. There are no signs that this is going to be fixed soon. You will lose against the economy, don’t intimidate or command it!
“Indeed without your proposed presidential candidate, the party will disintegrate into at least three formations — it’s too late for succession fights. Actually the common person would not be worried about who is in power only if you fielded credible, righteous and hardworking candidates — your undoing is in the nature of your candidates.”
But opposition parties said they would not give Zanu PF a free ride in the 2018 general elections, vowing to take on Mugabe with or without electoral reforms.
The opposition said the ground was now ripe to beat the 93-year-old leader at his game, particularly with internal strife in his party.
MDC-T, the biggest opposition party by parliamentary representation, has ruled out boycotting the general elections, saying doing so will gift Mugabe, who is now at his weakest, with unfettered power.
“We shouldn’t lose hope and boycott the elections, this is precisely what Zanu PF wants because they will simply create puppet and surrogate political parties that will participate in the elections in order to give the plebiscite a semblance of multi-party participation. Be that as it may, we shall escalate our demands for electoral reforms because we know that the Zanu PF regime is very vulnerable, weak, divided and terribly factionalised,” MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said Zanu PF would be pressured to reform.
“We must mobilise to force them to do reforms and some of them can actually be done on the eve of the election,” he said.