“Zimbabwe is a multi-party democracy,” says Everisto Chikanga of the Rebuilding Party of Zimbabwe, which was launched two weeks ago.
He said existing parties had failed to unite because they differed in vision and he felt his party was coming in to fill a vacuum created by continuous bickering between Zanu PF and the MDC, considered the main political parties.
“The two parties are holding down the country’s future. As it is, they have failed to agree on the GPA and people are tired of this,” Chikanga, a former Methodist preacher, said, adding that he was confident that his party would “scrape” something from the forthcoming elections.
He said his party was not being formed immediately before an election, as no election dates had been proclaimed so far.
Khulekani Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, also announced the arrival of his party, the African Renaissance Republican Party, as he also hopes to be in power.
Ndlovu said the party was set up last year, but the official launch would only be at the end of next month in Bulawayo. “We want to see a loving Zimbabwe; a smiling Zimbabwe and a united Zimbabwe,” he said, describing this as the driving force behind the formation of the party.
Ndlovu accused the three parties in power of dilly-dallying with important national issues, such as the GPA and national healing. “This is the party that is going to change the face of Zimbabwe like it or not.”
Ndlovu also dismissed the idea of entering into coalitions with other parties saying he didn’t want to “mud his vision with other people’s mud”.
The sprouting of new parties has often been looked at with scepticism, with some claiming that these new outfits did not stand a chance against more established formations.
Already, the political landscape is dominated by Zanu PF and the MDC-T, with the remaining seats falling to the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. Other notable parties are the splinter MDC faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC99 led by maverick, Job Sikhala.
Dumiso Dabengwa (pictured above) also presided over the revival of Zapu, while Zanu (Ndonga) has stood the test of time. Mthwakazi Nationalist Party was also launched recently.
In recent times parties like the National Alliance for Good Governance, Mavambo Kusile Dawn, and Zimbabwe People’s Democratic Party, among others, have all been formed immediately before elections.
Raymond Chamba launched his presidential bid, as an independent candidate, and who can forget Daniel Chingoma’s Zimbabwe Industrial Technology and Economic Reform Party, which hardly had any members.
Wurayayi Zembe’s Democratic Party (DP) woke up from the slumber last week and issued an independence message saying, “Zimbabweans are not insane people who celebrate pain, suffering, disasters, catastrophes, and tragedies in the name of independence festivities.”
New ‘pseudo’ parties, a Zanu PF strategy
With so many political parties, arises the question of whether having several political formations enhanced the quality of democracy and whether these parties had any hope of upsetting the apple cart.
Political analyst, Jack Zaba questioned the timing of the launching of the new parties and wondered why they coincided with Zanu PF’s push for polls. “This is part of the Zanu PF strategy, they form pseudo political parties, which from time to time issue statements against the party, so that we think they are against Zanu PF,” he said.
Zaba said under the current atmosphere it was difficult to form a party at such short notice and gain any meaningful votes in any election. Hopewell Gumbo, another political analyst, said the formation of new parties was symptomatic of the frustration of the ruling elite’s grip on power.
“People have become disillusioned and this has lowered political participation, thus you see opportunists taking advantage and forming parties,” he said.
Gumbo said others, in forming political parties, were driven by selfish agendas and self-aggrandisement.