They said attempts by Mugabe and Zanu PF hardliners to discredit South Africa’s mediation efforts in the Zimbabwe crisis and the constitution-making process were clear signs the octogenarian leader does not want elections under a new and reformed law.
So desperate is Mugabe, said the analysts, that he is even deliberately misleading the nation about the contents of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the goings-on in the coalition government and the crafting of the new supreme law in his bid to justify the holding of elections this year under the old constitution.
His spin-doctors, including his spokesperson, George Charamba and former Information minister Jonathan Moyo have also upped the tempo to discredit anything to do with mediation and the crafting of the new constitution, further exposing Zanu PF’s grand plan to force early polls.
“Time is not on Mugabe’s side,” said one political analyst.
“He is so desperate to force an early elections under the old constitution while he is still able to campaign because age and deteriorating health is catching up with him.”
Addressing traditional chiefs in Bulawayo recently, Mugabe claimed that the GPA, signed in 2008, was never about writing a new constitution but about holding fresh elections without violence before 2011.
“The main issue was about violence and fresh elections without that violence,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.
But his comments were in sharp contrast with Article VI of the GPA which clearly states there is need to create conditions for Zimbabweans to write a new constitution for themselves.
The GPA, which Mugabe signed for, says parties agreed to set up a Select Committee of Parliament whose terms of reference would be as follows: “to hold such public hearings and such consultations as it may deem necessary in the process of public consultation over the making of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.”
University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said Zanu PF was using propaganda through the State media to influence people to reject the new constitution and psyche them for elections.
“They want this draft constitution to be rejected so that we can go back to the Lancaster House Constitution,” said Hamauswa.
“It (Lancaster) entrenches Mugabe back into power because he will retain his excessive executive powers.”
The 88-year-old leader has also threatened to reject South African President Jacob Zuma, a Sadc-appointed mediator, because he views him as supporting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by insisting on political reforms before elections.
“Facilitators do not carry the name of their home country to the countries they would be facilitating,” he said.
But analysts question why former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, passed on the mediation role to Zuma if facilitators did not carry the name of their home country to the country they would be facilitating.
But another political analyst, Ernest Mudzengi, believes the attack on Zuma’s mediation team and the constitution-making process was designed to frustrate the smooth operations of the unity government.
Mudzengi said Zanu PF’s strategy would not work unless it tricked the MDC-T formations into agreeing to an election without a new constitution, which is unlikely to happen.
“Zanu PF has vested interest in early elections,” said Mudzengi.
“But I don’t think they will succeed because Sadc and the African Union (AU) will not recognise the results unless the agreed reforms are implemented.”
Moyo, a Zanu PF politburo member, has been a fiery critic of Zuma’s mediation efforts and particularly of Lindiwe Zulu for standing her ground against Zanu PF’s efforts to derail the facilitation process.
Last week, Moyo also attacked Hassen Ebrahim, who was seconded to Copac as a consultant by Zuma urging that the new constitution was not necessary before the next elections.
But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said it was surprising that Zanu PF was putting spanners in the constitution-making process when a lot of time and resources have already been spent on the project.
“The question that arises is, given all this progress, why are some people now calling for the same process to be delayed?” said Mwonzora.
“The inescapable conclusion is that these people are comfortable under the current constitution and do not want the changes the people of Zimbabwe so clearly demanded.”
Mugabe wants to maintain executive powers: Makumbe
University of Zimbabwe political scientist, John Makumbe, believes Mugabe and Zanu hardliners are desperate to go for elections under the old constitution, as it leaves him with executive powers “which will enable him to repeat what he did in 2008”.
“If elections are held under the old constitution and Mugabe loses, he will refuse to get out of power and before you know it we will have another GPA,” said Makumbe, who has declared intention to contest the next elections under an MDC-T ticket.
He said securocrats were determined to push for elections this year because they were worried about Mugabe’s deteriorating health and advanced age.