Opposition parties face huge challenge to dislodge ZANU PF

via Opposition parties face huge challenge to dislodge ZANU PF | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda 11 October 2013

The inability of the united MDC in 2008, and a fractured opposition in 2013, to get more than 1.4 million-votes does not bode well for democratic forces in Zimbabwe, according to a report by the Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT)

The report, by renowned academic Brian Raftopoulos, acknowledges the uneven electoral playing field in the country, but paints a gloomy picture in the fight by the opposition to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power.

ZANU PF has a history of using violence to beat its opponents into submission and this has been their modus operandi since independence.

In the July poll, an unprecedented number of voters feigned illiteracy, blindness or physical injury, which meant someone from ZANU PF marked the ballot on their behalf.

But despite coercion and handing out material benefits to voters, which helped ZANU PF win by more than two-thirds majority, the SPT report said the failure by Mugabe’s combined opponents to break the 1.4 million votes since 2002 should be seen as a challenge to them going forward.

‘In three out of the last four elections, ZANU PF has scored comfortably over 1.5 million votes, and over 2 million in 2013. The figures from the last five elections all point to the unlikelihood of any opposition party unseating ZANU PF in 2018,’ the report added.

Statistics show that the MDC’s support base is the same as it was in 2008, when it narrowly beat ZANU PF and largely remains the same since its formation in 1999. Raftopoulos said elections results since 2000 show some recognizable, if depressing trends.

‘The MDC-T vote has remained consistent over the last decade in terms of numbers, while the ZANU PF vote has generally, with the exception of 2008, been several hundred thousand votes more than the opposition vote,’ says the academic in the report.

Solidarity Peace Trust report on Zim election

Before the 2013 poll, the MDC-T controlled six of the ten provinces but now controls only two metropolitan provinces. The Morgan Tsvangirai led party suffered heavy losses in Manicaland and Masvingo, the two provinces they controlled with big majorities before the July 31st elections.

The analysis from the report also blames the split in the opposition for aiding ZANU PF’s landslide victory. If it wasn’t for the split voting in the two Matabeleland north and south provinces, the opposition would have retained 17 seats and kept Mugabe’s majority in Parliament to 67 percent, instead of its current 79 percent.

But the SPT concludes that it couldn’t establish whether the massive increase in the number of voters in many ZANU PF strongholds were ‘irregularities’ as the MDC claims, or whether this was a result, as ZANU PF’s claims, of its energetic voter registration campaign over the last five years.

Oppah Muchinguri, the newly appointed Women Affairs Minister boasted a year before the elections that they had managed to register an extra one million voters, almost the exact figure that gave Mugabe and his party an unassailable two-thirds majority win.

Madonald Lewanika, a director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told SW Radio Africa that there are several factors that may explain why the opposition has failed to make significant inroads in rural areas to bolster its support base.

‘The main issue is that of violence, intimidation and ZANU PF’s use of traditional leaders to coerce the rural folk to vote for Mugabe. Villagers in rural areas live in fear of retribution if they vote otherwise,’ Lewanika said.

Apart from the MDC-T, many other civil society organizations and NGO’s have claimed that the July elections were ‘clearly skewed’ in favour of Mugabe due to his use of the police, military and CIO to run the elections.



  • comment-avatar
    Nedziwe Rudo kennethNedziwe Rudo Kenneth 11 years ago

    It was easy to dislodge Ian Smiths regime because they were human enough. When people will have had ENOUGH of zanupfu it will be very easy for the OPPOSITION to take over. What I dont understand is; the so called political analysts talk of the opposition as if its some animal coming from hell. No, the Opposition are The People of Zimbabwe against a regime that high jacked their revolution in 1980.

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      Clive Sutherland 11 years ago

      The reason Rhodesia became Zimbabwe was due to a number of factors
      Such as first and formost the Rhodesian army was a disciplined and professional army that obeyed orders from a civillian Government,
      Zanla and Zipra can be thanfull that this was the case otherwise they would have been wiped out together with monitoring forces in the 22 assembly points.
      Ian Smith and White Rhodesians were at the end of the day reasonable and compromising people who knew that the order of the day could not go on for ever and most backed Ian Smith for eventual majority rule as the only lasting solution.
      The British under Margeret Thatcher gave Zimbabwe to Mugabe and Zanupf and the rest as you know is now history.

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    Rocks tone 11 years ago

    In respond to (SPT) I would like to say ,their comment or analysis is not vital because we have so many civic organization ,human rights advocating organizations but to no avail they are not doin anything pertaining democratic, their concept is only focused on their personal interest ,we need people who are who yield positive results In favor of the less previleged

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    Bafunda 11 years ago

    I thought there was a difference between facts and the truth. I appreciate analysts are supposed to use facts and in this case numbers to support their analysis. However, there is also the truth. You need context when you use facts to reveal the truth. This analysis has ignored the context and has just paid lip service to the context. Neither problem nor solution can exist independent of context. analysis without context becomes an academic exercise. And it stays that way: academic.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 11 years ago

    The problem is that the AU and SADC will not accept an opposition win. Instead they will call for a unity government. If Zanu pf rigg an election they will say Zimbabweans have spoken because there was no violence. SADC and AU must ask for the electronic voters roll before validating this election

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    Anold Anderson 11 years ago

    Well the truth is Zanu PF did not rig the election as well the opposition failed to remove Zanu Pf. No a clear thinking person would ever attribute the winning with such a margine of Zanu Pf as a rigging but if your mind is closed then you need another touch to see and visualise things

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    Fallenz 11 years ago

    Anold, you make a bold statement, but is it true. It is only a supposition unless supported by facts. If the facts do not support it, then it is a lie. A lie does not make it so, and a liar is not to be trusted. ZANUPF claims the registration and polling to be fair and uncorrupted. If that is true, then why were the electronic voter rolls not made available to the opposition..? Why are they still not available..? Is that not a fair question..? Is it not a fair request..? So, we are all awaiting your response with bated breath.

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    Pafunge 11 years ago

    My question is did Mr. Raftoplas see the electronic voters roll? If not then his report is based on erroneous information. I believe only the electronic voters roll will tell us the actual number of people who may have voted. By the way the one million zanupf claims to have registered did not necessarily all vote for it because if you go into those areas today you still hear people say they dont know who voted for zanu.