Opinion / Columnist

Tsvangirai, Wake up and smell the coffee

by Mathula Lusinga
26 Feb 2013 at 05:54hrs | 5047 Views
South Africa's infant terrible Julius Malema once remarked that there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics. This observation seems to aptly apply to Zimbabwe's present political situation as the country trudges ahead for fresh elections expected to lay the ghost of the coalition government. Herein unfolds the story of Zimbabwe:

Finally, it looks like political parties in Zimbabwe are getting what they want judging by the recent developments around the constitutional  agreements where Zanu-PFs and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are campaigning for a Yes vote ahead of the 16 March 26 referendum.

Who would have thought that these former enemies will come to an agreement at the end? Surprisingly enough, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai wants harmonised elections held no later than July this year. This is beside the fact that there are still huge political differences on how to go about finalising disputes emanating from reforms such as the security sector and the media, among others.

By the look of it, I don't see how these will be agreed upon before the likely proposed elections dates. As if this is enough, PM Tsvangirai seems to believe that Mugabe will resign after elections, paving way for a younger leader whom we don't know yet whether it's going to be him or someone from Zanu-PF.

Both Zanu-PF and the two formations of the MDC believe they will win elections they claim will be peaceful. Both Mugabe and the premier have been preaching peace, giving false hopes the country is destined for a peaceful election. However, some of us are still doubting Thomases as we don't believe the proposed dates for both the referendum and elections are feasible for Zimbabwe to hold elections that will be accepted by everyone as free and fair.

I know that my beliefs will be seen as being immature by the main political parties' supporters who seem to have concluded that the timing is right. While it is still a surprise how the deal on the constitution was made, we are yet to see how the parties will conduct themselves in campaigning for the yes vote and later, national elections. Already, there are reports of people getting arrested after gathering to discuss the proposed constitution draft.

One wonders how this can be the case given that the people in power believe the nation will endorse the draft.

Is it a win for Zanu-PF?
When presenting his organisational report to the 53rd African National Congress Conference in December last year, the ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe said the power sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe has created space for the people of Zimbabwe to draft their constitution that is not overseen by the British. He went on to say more importantly, the space was created for Zanu-PF to recoup some lost ground.

As the mediators in Zimbabwe, the ANC led government seemed to be saying the whole Global Political Agreement was designed to help Zanu-PF get back on its feet and judging by Mugabe's recent confidence, it looks like this mission has been accomplished. Last week's Sunday Times in South Africa carried a story which seemed to  suggest that Mugabe was up to win elections without coercing people, meaning that Zanu-PF is once again the popular party in Zimbabwe.

The  story seemed to sell Zanu-PF as a party that has gone back to serve  the wider population through its land reform programme and the recent indigenisation process which seeks to empower people by forcing foreign companies to surrender much of their shares to local Zimbabweans. Also in the news were stories how the European Union is set to ease travel restrictions and sanctions against Zanu-PF and companies aligned to them. Notable to this development, were reports the EU intended removing the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from the sanctions list.

All this is said to happen despite the fact that transparency is still foreign to the behaviour of ZMDC. All the above, combined with the recent moves by the MDCs to find a compromise with Zanu-PF towards rushing the nation into a referendum and elections are spelling nothing other than victory for Mugabe and his Zanu-PF.

What then is in store for the future?
What is yet to be seen in Zimbabwe is whether Mugabe and the MDCs will stand by their promise of conducting themselves in a peaceful manner. We are also not certain whether the rushed elections will be disputed. We still have a shambolic voters' roll and a lethargic Zimbabwe Electoral Commission suspected of always rigging elections on behalf of Zanu-PF.

If it so happens that the elections will be rigged, I wonder whether the MDCs will go back to the West and call for new sanctions against Zanu-PF. Zimbabwe is a mineral rich nation and I believe that Mugabe might get away with murder this time around given the fact that the international community is also in the queue for mineral deals. My suggestion is that the MDCs to get act together before elections in order for them to have leverage to fight any disputes that may arise after elections.

Should the MDCs lose, an  opportunity for newer parties will be created and I bet Zimbabweans will take it.

Source - Tsvangirai
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