AS Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) prepares to pilot the government for the next five years, a political researcher has said there is need for the party to conduct itself with care as its two-thirds electoral majority could weigh it down with total responsibility for what the next government does.
Speaking at the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) Annual Conference for Media Stakeholders in Harare on September 5, Professor Eldred Masunungure, a Zimbabwean researcher and University of Zimbabwe Lecturer of Political Science forewarned that Zanu-PF’s unassailable control of national affairs could work against the party if there was no self-control.
“Super majorities can result in arrogance and indiscipline in the party,” Masunungure said.
Amid allegations of electoral fraud and observer reports from SADC and AU admitting unfairness in the recent election, Zanu-PF walked away with 160 parliamentary seats out of 210, and is set to constitute the next government with full governance power and unhindered leeway to implement its policies.
But Masunungure said Zanu-PF’s power came with responsibility.
“Those who rejoice in the victory are filled with expectation. They expect the best, will they get the best?” he said.
Masunungure attributed the loss of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change partly to its complacency during the lifespan of Inclusive Government, when he incidentally hinted that there could be a similar problem of complacence with Zanu-PF’s rule after its disputed election landslide victory.
In reference to the MDC-T’s allegations of vote fraud and supposed complacency, Masunungure said:
“If there was rigging it begets the question -where was the MDC when these shenanigans were being rolled.
“It was basking in the glory of its historic and momentous victory of March 2008.”
Masunungure said the next Zanu-PF government had the challenge to prove that it can do better than the GNU – which all the three political parties that constituted it blamed for derailed progress in implementing their public policies and manifestoes from the 2008 elections.
“With this scapegoat gone, Zanu-PF has to demonstrate that it can do better,” Masunungure said.
However Masunungure was optimistic that the new government may depart from some of its extremist policies, saying that governments usually do not strictly follow their manifestoes, but move towards more moderate policies after elections
Masunungure said Zanu-PF might consider “de-radicalising its policies”.
“There will be continuation of reform in some policy areas,” Masunungure said. “I think (Zanu-PF) is likely to seek normalization of the country’s economy.
“I think a Zanu pf led government would seek to out perform the GNU.”
However Masunungure admitted that not every one was enthusiastic about Zanu-PF disputed electoral victory and incoming government.
“Indeed, most Zimbabweans were traumatized by the result and most Zimbabweans are in the post-traumatic disorder,” he said.
Masunungure said he thought “President Mugabe will go into a reconciliation mode” by showing “magnanimity in victory” and seek to put his enemies closer to him, arguing that the precedent of that happening had been shown in the Unity Accord of 1987 signed between Zanu and Zapu to end armed hostilities between the two parties.