Zimbabwe is headed for troubled times as Zanu PF has put in motion plans to unilaterally terminate the life of the shaky coalition government in order to force early elections before full implementation of agreed reforms and the completion of the constitution-making process, sources have said.
In separate interviews with The Standard, several senior Zanu PF officials said the party’s people’s conference held recently in Bulawayo gave the party’s politburo the greenlight to pull out of the government of national unity (GNU).
Zanu PF has accused the two MDC formations in the coalition partners of deliberately delaying the completion of the constitution-making process so as to extend the life of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
A Zanu PF politburo member said holding elections in 2013 as demanded by the two MDC formations would make it difficult for continued from President Robert Mugabe to stand as the party’s presidential candidate considering that he would be 89 years old.
“It is a race against time,” said the politburo member. Another official said party strategists were already working on modalities of pulling out of the GNU before June 2012.
“On the ground, party officials have been instructed to start campaigning as elections will soon be held with or without a new constitution,” said another member. Zanu PF activist and political analyst Goodson Nguni said his party was united in that elections should be held next year in order to “kill” the GNU which he described as “dysfunctional” and retrogressive.
“They (MDC) are scared of elections,” he said. “I hope President Mugabe will dissolve the GNU so that Zanu PF can fully implement empowerment programmes which are currently being subverted by the likes of (Finance minister Tendai) Biti.”
However, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa dismissed as rumours reports that the party wanted to pull out of the GNU. “This is not part of the agreement,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Professor John Makumbe said Zanu PF had no strategy except to “scream” for elections without the necessary reforms.
“The party is on the verge of pulling out of the GNU so that the nation can go for elections,” he said.
“It is likely that other political parties will boycott such elections as the country would go back to the June 2008 scenario characterised by widespread violence and intimidation. Sadc will have to come in again and start a GNU-2,” added Makumbe.
The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is the guarantor of the GPA. Political analyst, Charles Mangongera agreed that signs were evident that Mugabe was planning to call for snap elections, causing the collapse of the GNU.
“This is the strategy of the civilian handlers in Zanu PF working in cahoots with securocrats. They will not necessarily succeed because Sadc is going to be their biggest hurdle as it will stick to its guns (and demand) that elections can only be held after the necessary reforms,” he said.
But constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said people should not read too much into the Zanu PF congress resolutions. “The very speakers calling for elections are the same people who were insisting that polls will take place before the end of 2011,” he said.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said if Zanu PF pulls out of the GNU, then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would automatically become President as he was winner of the March 2008 presidential election.
Zanu PF will not determine on next elections alone: Biti
Addressing a news conference soon after the party’s national council meeting in Harare yesterday, the MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti said they have resolved that elections will be process-driven and not determined by Zanu PF.
“The next elections will be determined through consultations between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” he said. “Zanu PF cannot one day wake up drunk or otherwise and unilaterally declare that elections will be held in March 2012.”
Biti said conditions defined in the roadmap have to be completed first and these include the constitution-making process, referendum, media and legislative reforms and drafting of a new voters roll, as well as conclusion of outstanding issues at the dialogue table on security sector realignment and staffing of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
“The Party notes that any election which does not meet the above conditions will be a sham election and the party will not have anything to do with a sham election,” he said.
Biti said the party was disturbed by the continued closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe characterised by the blocking and disruption of MDC rallies by police, prosecution and persecution of journalists and civil society organisations.
He alleged that since the beginning of the year, over 402 people have been arrested, assaulted and severely harassed by Zanu PF and “its complicity criminal justice system”.
He called on Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the Attorney General Johannes Tomana to take immediate action and to apply the law evenly and equally.
Biti said Makone has not been able to come to the rescue of arrested party activists because the likes of Chihuri, Tomana, ZDF commander General Chiwenga and intelligence boss, Happyton Bonyogwe were answerable to Mugabe.
Source: The Standard