ZANU PF’S call for early elections is empty political bravado, analysts have noted.
REPORT BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Armed with the recent Constitution Court ruling, which ordered President Robert Mugabe to proclaim dates for elections and have them by July 31 this year, Zanu PF has been insisting that elections must be held by that date.
Ironically, the analysts noted, the party has failed to hold its primary elections because of rampant factionalism while at same time agitating for early polls.
They said Zanu PF has been misled by numerous political surveys that “falsely” predicted its victory against the MDC formations.
Late last year, the UK-based Zimbabwe Vigil, said the MDC-T was likely to lose the elections because of rampant corruption within its leadership. Freedom House and Afro-Barometer surveys also predicted Mugabe’s electoral victory.
Basing on the referendum voting patterns, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Tsvangirai’s former ally, also said Zanu PF was headed for victory in the elections.
But other commentators dismissed Madhuku’s prophecy saying his predictions were motivated by sour grapes.
Political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo said the fact that Zanu PF had postponed holding its primary elections because of factionalism, was a clear indication that it was not ready for elections.
“If you look at what is happening in Manicaland and Bulawayo provinces, you can see the party is in disarray,” said Nkomo.
“They are failing to appoint a second Vice-President following the death of John Nkomo, because of factionalism. The party is also broke, individuals are rich but the party itself has no money.”
Workers at the party’s headquarters have gone for at least three months without pay.
Zanu PF recently sent a team of senior party officials to Manicaland, Masvingo and Bulawayo in an attempt to deal with factionalism but failed to unite the warring camps.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo insisted that the party was ready for polls as soon as the election date was proclaimed.
He said the lack of money could not affect the preparation for the party’s election manifesto. “We are finalising the manifesto and the rules and regulations for primary elections,” Gumbo said.
Political analyst, Phillip Pasirayi said Zanu PF was least prepared and the party’s empty bravado was a result of the belief, that the MDC-T brand had been tainted by corruption and poor services delivery in most local councils that eroded its support in its urban strongholds.
“To this end, we have seen Zanu PF politburo members urging residents in many suburbs to kick out the non-performing councillors,” said Pasirayi.
Apart from that, the repressive and propaganda machinery, including the State media and security agents, that was associated with the violent 2008 polls, were still in place to prop up Mugabe.
“The inclusive government has failed to uproot this machinery and implement media and security reforms to ensure that the coming polls yield a democratic and legitimate outcome,” said Pasirayi.
He believes MDC-T, which is currently holding equally controversial primary elections, was more prepared than Zanu PF.
“In my view, the MDC-T party is better prepared for the coming elections than the other parties which are failing to hold primary elections,” said Pasirayi. “The unveiling by PM Tsvangirai of the MDC policies has demonstrated the party’s preparedness for elections and readiness to govern.”
INTIMIDATION OF VOTERS ON THE RISE
It cannot be ruled out that Zanu PF also wants to capitalise on the March “referendum wave”, where voter turn-out was very high in areas the party commands a lot of support, particularly in rural areas.
The party allegedly force-march-ed people in some rural areas and housing co-operatives in Harare to go and register as voters for the elections.
Those who tried to resist were threatened with eviction from the areas they live or reminded of the horrors of the 2008 elections, in which the MDC-T claims that at least 200 of its supporters were killed by State security agents.