HomeOpinion & AnalysisWeighing parties on electoral scale

Weighing parties on electoral scale

Despite joining forces on September 15 in 2008, by signing a Global Political Agreement (GPA), Zanu PF and the MDC formations are still to achieve the desired outcomes in terms of service delivery. The nation got partial healing when the inclusive government was formed in February 2009, with the economy  showing a semblance of stability.

However, politicians continue to quibble over critical issues such as the drafting of the new constitution, elections and national healing without resolve. Each of the political parties in the inclusive government seems convinced of own, albeit self-serving, relevance in today’s national and global politics.

But the crucial question is what are their chances if they are to contest in any election to win the hearts of so many who are desperately in need of better living standards, employment, sound health delivery systems and better education?

Let’s begin with  the former ruling party, Zanu PF which, without doubt, played a key role in shaping the present-day Zimbabwe by joining forces with Zapu to wage a war against the Ian Smith regime to liberate the nation in 1980. It is a party most will remember for the struggle to make the majority attain the highest level of education soon after getting into power and into the early 90s.

 

President Robert Mugabe arrived in Highfield residential area in 1980 to a thunderous welcome because he belonged to a party whose motive was cherished by the majority. It was prestigious then to be a member of Zanu PF.

After enjoying a monolithic political atmosphere — a defacto one-party-state — Zanu PF believed itself to be  the sole party that deserves to rule the nation in perpetuity.

The party became increasingly authoritarian over a docile following and resisted any form of rejuvenation. It promoted its leader, Mugabe, to a cult persona, in the process,  suppressing individual liberties. Anyone contesting elections against President Mugabe, was branded a sellout.

For lacking the ambition to revive itself, Zanu PF may have unwittingly dumped itself into the  political dustbin. Everything is changing; companies are rebranding, generations are changing and Zanu PF must realise that without a new face to appeal to the new generation electorate, it is like the ancient steam railway-engine trying to out-run the electrified modern inventions.

 

Its chances of romping to victory in any election, is nil. In a free and fair environment, the party could  only live to regret its failure to read the writing on the wall. Zanu PF is now like a monument, which people visit to commemorate the history of Zimbabwe.

Rising from a workers movement into a formidable political force to challenge the dominance of Zanu PF, MDC-T, has had its problems, especially in relation to intra-party squabbles that seemed to present a major threat to its stability. It was thrown into controversy last year when Tsvangirai was caught in an as yet to be cleared marriage controversy.

 

The issue has irked many sections of the society, but many believe  his personal failure is unlikely to affect the political clout he developed over the years. Tsvangirai, like many other Zimbabweans, suffered at the hands of Zanu PF in the struggle for democracy.

 

The MDC was disallowed many times from holding rallies, with police selectively applying the law to accord its rival, Zanu PF, more space to preach its propaganda to the electorate. All these constraints proved useless, as in March 2008 election, the MDC-T trounced Zanu PF to win the harmonised polls.

Despite winning the election, MDC-T was denied its right to rule and today it is playing second fiddle to the losing party.
If elections were to be held today, without even campaigning, there are high chances that the MDC-T would win without having to labour because the tide of change seems unstoppable.

MDC-N, remains no more than a splinter  of the main MDC that hired Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to be its president in 2005. With most MPs deserting it, MDC-N’s relevance on the political scene is largely a thing of the past and MDC-N president, Welshman Ncube, should be grateful that he remains in government, courtesy of the inclusive government.

BY GUMISAI NYONI

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