Maxwell Sibanda and Mugove Tafirenyika 5 August 2018
HARARE – Zimbabwe is at present highly divided, fragile and calls for a
leadership with the ability to unite people, social and political analysts
They said one sure way to solve the ongoing electoral dispute, would be
for the main protagonists in the crisis – President Emmerson Mnangagwa of
Zanu PF and his MDC Alliance rival Nelson Chamisa – to agree on how to
extricate the country from the logjam.
The analysts were, however, divided on whether the dialogue should aim
towards a government of national unity (GNU).
Zimbabweans voted in harmonised presidential, parliamentary and local
government elections on Monday.
These were the first polls without former president Robert Mugabe and the
late MDC founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai.
While Mugabe’s ouster in a soft coup last November was seen by many as the
dawn of a new political epoch in a country that has been polarised for
more than three decades, Mnangagwa has struggled to break with the past.
The country has continued to suffer from a history of disputed electoral
outcomes blamed on the under-fire Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s
alleged bias against the opposition.
Zec’s aversion to transparency has come came back to haunt the elections
This was after Chamisa and his MDC Alliance party rejected the poll
outcome which gave Mnangagwa a 50,8 percent of the total vote against his
44,3 percent as “fake”.
They claim to be in possession of evidence which could persuade Zec to
overturn the vote in his favour.
Mnangagwa insists he won the vote fairly.
Political analyststhis week said given that both Mnangagwa and Chamisa
were insisting on their `victories’, dialogue could be the best solution
to avert a national crisis.
Maxwell Saungweme, a political analyst, said the dispute has put Zimbabwe
on the edge, adding that the situation deserves dialogue “mediated by a
respectable, impartial mediator who carries no bias baggage from dealing
with either party to avoid Zimbabwe plunging into chaos”.
“The outcome of the dialogue will be a government of national unity where
power is shared between Chamisa and Mnangagwa,” he suggested.
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said the nation was clearly divided if the
results were to be taken at face value, amid genuine concerns about their
“There is no consensus among Zimbabweans about how this country should
move forward. The elections have not done anything to heal us as a nation,
but they have left others even hurt further.
“At face value, the contested results show the rural people and the old
people have supposedly preserved that status quo, while the urbanites, the
youth and the middle class want change,” said Gwede.
Former civic society leader Macdonald Lewanika said Chamisa’s
protestations should be heard, noting that the powers-that-be were trying
by all means to disrupt his attempts at making his case, including through
raiding the MDC offices, his advisors’ homes and confiscating equipment
that could be used to store or make the case.
“Clearly an impasse now exists, and at the very least it should trigger
dialogue and an intervention aimed at allowing the main protagonists to
agree on a process to resolve the dispute,” Lewanika said.
He said a coalition government was not the next best solution for this,
but an impartial hearing of grievances and presentation of evidence.
“If the election was rigged to such an extent that it cannot stand, it can
be rerun. If Zec’s errors were to such an extent that Mnangagwa didn’t win
outright, then Zec would need to correct its mistake and either call for a
runoff or announce the real winner,” he said.
Lewanika said while regional leaders such as South African President Cyril
Ramaphosa have since congratulated Mnangagwa as the victor in spite of the
dispute, this could be diplomatic posturing.
“We cannot fault regional leaders for congratulating Mnangagwa. In terms
of formal process, he is president-elect and formally the opposition is
yet to lodge a case with the electoral court,” he said.
“At the end of the day, foreigners are led and informed by our formal
processes rather than our informal news of disputes. Chamisa’s protest is
on record publicly, it now needs to be on the court record as well. We
must not throw around GNUs as a band aid to political problems which can
be solved by respecting the will of the people (and) not negating it and
saying lead together outside the confines of the law”.
Crisis Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo said Zanu PF and Zec could
easily create an artificial hostility between families and friends living
in the towns and those in urban centresif they recklessly pursue narrow
politics of entitlement.
He opined that Zec behaved with a high sense of entitlement and disregard
of its mandate.
“…how do you run an election while all but one political party has (the)
voters’ roll?Why denying to go through the credibility test? These are the
challenges that I see the administrative body being inundated with court
challenges,” said Moyo.
“Worse off, the army deployment by the government on slight provocation
has dented the country’s prospects towards the path to recovery”.
Media analyst Rashweat Mukundu said Zimbabwe was more fragile than we can
He said while Zanu PF claims victory, the death of innocent civilians at
the hands of an army and the embarrassing attacks on journalists all show
that the state wheels have come off.
“Zimbabwe is a laughing stock as politicians have invested all their
energy in power and not leadership.It is becoming clear that events of
November 2017 are a disease that needs curing and the July 30 election has
just confirmed that the military and not Mnangagwa are in power and
control,” said Mukundu.
“Transforming Zimbabwe is akin to religious repentance, it’s really
turning and facing the other way. Unfortunately, Mnangagwa wants to
maintain Mugabeism style of power while seeking to transform Zimbabwe,
outside a corrupt and false transformation – the answer is that it can’t.”
Social analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said he would have preferred a completely
new political slate because the old order has no depth for new solutions.
“But we can only work with what we have; blaming political parties for
giving us second grade candidates. Our future now depends on calling the
president and his team to account for their electoral promises. If
Mnangagwa takes a wrong turn on his cabinet choice, we are f*****d.”