Whilst the ruling party’s nationalist project is by all means still holding forte, the centre is gradually disintegrating. On the other hand, the centre-left MDC’s democratic project has been bashed and dealt with harshly, but its agenda has undeniably penetrated and their game matured.
Robert Sigauke, Political Commentator, Johannesburg
It would be naive however to think MDC will step into state house anytime soon, the walls of Jericho must first come down on their own, that is inevitable. Zanu PF’s stagnant egotism will implode it out of power, not the ballot.
Zanu PF will not be pushed out of power by a supposed popular vote, it has been proven countless times that elections do not work in Zimbabwe. Contrary to popular belief, elections are not rigged in Zimbabwe, the party and the security sector guarantors want a true measure of popular sentiment and to know the number of those who still vote for the party. This is critical for the lifespan of the party. Elections are not rigged, party agents and international missions will be watching, but it is easier to cook the results instead. Between the polling station based counting system and the tallying journey at the command centre, this is where the shock is, apart from a non-electronic and unaudited voters roll. This is why the independent assessment numbers of the likes of Biti and ZEC do not tally at all, yet they emanate from the same polling stations.
The patronage system, the military dictate being the order of the day, and the deep liberation heritage obligation all stand in hurdle against the holding of free and fair elections, let alone a dignified handover of power. Further, if there is anything that the nationalist establishment in Zimbabwe has learnt is that winds have and will blow, but they eventually die down. Ayikho into ozoyiyenza kithi ngezinto ziyafana nge Twitter! The results were held and doctored in 2008 for a month against the constitutional demand, they got away with it. In the ensuing GNU they got the Defence ministry, and demanded co-superintendence over the Home Affairs ministry as well, which is responsible for the police. We ended up with two Ministers of Home Affairs, they had their way. The much hyped Motlanthe commission made recommendations, it was all smoke and tax money in the drain. Today most opposition leaders are on remand for all sorts of charges, civil activists, and journalists too. Foreign Embassies, a combative EFF, a reluctant ANC, a bitter Ian Khama, a sober Prof Lumumba, a whole United Nations, musicians and artists, are all speaking against the degeneration of human rights in Zimbabwe but the powers are waiting for the dust to settle and it will, life will go on and COVID will make headlines again not Zanu PF.
Most analysts have predicted that the chances of the MDC ruling Zimbabwe are positioned mainly in three phenomena. Firstly that there must be a complete overhaul of the system to pave way for electoral, security sector and broadcasting reforms that will secure the people’s vote. These relate to an impartial and equal publicity on the airwaves, the security complex not affecting a preferred constitutional outcome, an audited electronic voters roll being made available to all parties, the printing and distribution of ballot papers being closely monitored and out of consensus, etc. Secondly, analysts lament the need for the MDC to lead an aggressive campaign drive in the vast rural communities which is the make or break ground for a presidential win. It does make sense to the extent that the majority of the population stay in the rural communities, and the voter turn-out is good owing to Zanu’s fascist idea of driving people out of homes to go and vote. In the rural areas, voting is more than an obligation, it is security for your family’s peace and survival in the aftermath. Thirdly, the opposition’s own disservice of persistent splits has costed them a lot. The big tent idea is noble, but the individual ambition of some of its bigwigs all but point to the possibility of imminent power struggles in the future. To what end will anyone want to overshadow the president and face of the party?
These observations are pragmatic, just not in Zimbabwe. How many years have passed whilst the politicians blabber about security, electoral and broadcasting reforms? It is not easy work to convince the indoctrinated and petrified rural folk to vote away the party that has always donated shoes, food hampers and agricultural inputs come every election. It is not easy to de-campaign a party whose chilling and deep rooted promise is that even if the opposition wins it will not rule, the contest will go back to the gun, all this told to primitive rural societies who saw the brunt of the war. In one of my visits to my rural area a few years back I did not know whether to laugh or cry when one of the old ladies told me that the ‘ruling party told them they have a way to see whom you voted for through a satellite dish which is located somewhere in Harare!’ As things turned out, six people voted for the MDC in that ward and a meeting was called under a big tree near the community borehole, a witch hunt was launched to flush out those six voters. The rural folk know too, that should the ruling party lose, it will be an uncontainable opposition party. Like it or not these are the political dynamics on the ground.
Here is my simple view open to scrutiny; the MDC will rule eventually due to Zanu PF’s own implosion, and/or incapacitation. This will not be a matter of weeks, or months, but in years to come. Since the admitted findings that some ruling party members were involved behind the July 31 protests, the dogs will lie for now, but nobody is off guard. The G40 cabal is busy too, they want into the fray of things. For whatever common ground there is, fact or fiction, between the MDC Alliance and the G40, it is one of deceitful convenience only to be discarded with a trophy in the hand. A defeated and desperate G40 is trying to make a stunning comeback under the guise of reform, usurping the democratic reform agenda from the opposition, to render the MDC irrelevant. The G40’s regional diplomatic charm offensive is not to be taken lightly. The MDC must be wary to deal with that too.
Zanu’s war against the economy has remained undefeated for decades, national security is at all time low because of the goings on within a party now superior than government, its lieutenants have become warlords amongst and against themselves. Those in favour of reform have taken the initiative to support parallel political alternatives nicodemously for asylum in a possible new Zimbabwe. Toxic factionalism, with support within the region dwindling due to the ultimate economic, immigration and social pressures on the region due to Zanu’s governance failures, SADC and AU are now fed up with Zanu PF’s embarrassing behaviour. Without a local working economy, choking sanctions and closed credit lines the economic insurrection against the Zanu PF government will persist much worse and faster. Civil and labour activism will remain resolute and with a luring voice, workers and voters across the board will not forgive the second republic.
Zanu PF will not reform itself out of power, MDC will not win against Zanu PF via the ballot anytime soon, Zanu PF will implode on its own and die. MDC will then rule with sober remnants of the liberation movement in a balance of things. In office, the MDC government’s first priorities will be to heal Matebeleland and unite all the people of Zimbabwe, restore free market discipline and confidence, engage the world and open FDI possibilities and credit lines, beef up infrastructure and social services, restore the strict mandate of public institutions, clean up public procurement, charm regional acceptance and understanding, and also appreciate the liberation war heritage. The heroes of the liberation struggle, the nationalist heroes of pre and post independent Zimbabwe, the democratic project heroes from the opposition parties, all must be acknowledged. Theirs was a yearn for a better Zimbabwe endowed with equal opportunities for all. The issue of devolution post Zanu PF will need to be approached with circumspect. There is possibility of creating local warlord territories in Zanu strongholds, devolution will have to be gradual and a long term realisation. The implosion of Zanu PF after 2023 elections is inevitable, though they will narrowly win those elections. MDC will then rule with sober remnants of the liberation movement, in a balance of things.
Robert Sigauke is a Legal Manager, Political Commentator, Public Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur. He writes from Johannesburg – robert.carl@rocketmail.