Beyond First-Post-Mugabe Elections

Former Zimbabwe President Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Former Zimbabwe President Robert Gabriel Mugabe

By Jimmy Jombo Charowa.

THE majority of political analyses and commentary on Zimbabwe   has largely been restricted   to narrating the framework within which the elections are to be conducted this year .Much analyses has tended to dwell on Coffee ( Conditions For Free and Fair Elections) obtaining before the July scheduled elections.

In as much as events and processes preceding the election need to be captured, scrutinised and publicised, the ‘after election scenarios’ deserve equal attention too so as to avoid anticipated violent incidences.

After the “Nikuved” election of 2013 it has been awesome to witness a plethora of presidential aspirants stampeding to present themselves to the electorate as better alternatives to the current ruinous Zanu PF leadership.

As the elections draw closer it is, however, increasingly clear that the real fight is going to be between the MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa and Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chamisa, a charismatic and youngest ever presidential candidate in Sadc, is poised to thrash Mnangagwa all systems out if the national mood is being correctly gauged.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, by far the most controversial political figure in Zimbabwe seems to be finding it hard to excite the masses so as to make them believe in Zanu PF again.

Thus, a freedom starved, and poverty ravaged nation can smell the fragrance of a new political dispensation under Chamisa despite lingering memories of previous disappointments that have followed major elections.

Zimbabweans appear oblivious to the stumbling block that has always prevented them from reaching the promised land of a social democratic developmental state.

An economic reprieve premised on a democratic political culture and etiquette seems to be around the corner more realistically than ever before as far as many Zimbabweans are concerned. The optimism is so much that they   are refusing to let their dream become a nightmare.

But now, is Zanu PF going to embrace a new political order in August or September and allow a smooth handover-take-over of statehouse?

How is a deeply entrenched dictatorship whose life support machine is basically sustained by a criminally primitive patronage system going react to election battering?

How are the people of Zimbabwe going to respond to attempts at stealing their vote which will only mean one thing-an extension of a bleak existence devoid of dignity and happiness.

These questions and many more must form the crux of our political debate at this juncture.

Working with the assumption that ZANU PF will gracefully accept defeat, roll up their tents at statehouse and hand over the levers of power to the young Chamisa, Zimbabwe without doubt is poised to experience its most notable positive political, economic and social transformation in history by year end. Who  would hate to see  the trials and tribulations that the country has gone through since 1980 becoming  history?

Who still remains adamant to the fact that causing despondency, gloom and poverty upon citizens as tools for manipulation and control is only practised by vampirish leadership?

Truly speaking, 80% of Zimbabweans are amenable to the prospects of a healed nation in which former political foes bury the hatchet, victims of political violence, persecution and prosecutions forgive their tormentors and embrace one another wrapped in the colours of our beautiful national flag.

A peaceful crossover from a ZANU PF era to an MDC Alliance/Coalition dispensation is thus every sane Zimbabwean’s wish. It’s an occurrence that is going to trigger massive reconfiguration and normalisation of government and co-operate world operations.

The normalisation of the political situation both domestic and foreign will be the panacea to real change characterised by economic prosperity, social integration, cohesion and consequently happiness for all.

Our industries be they primary, secondary and tertiary will reopen again to absorb  thousands of desperate Zimbabweans into the job market.

Our national infrastructure is destined to finally get the rehabilitation it badly needs. Zimbabweans will witness our hospitals and schools getting equipped and serviced again, and most importantly will see our esteem and pride as an educated and hardworking citizenry getting restored once more.

Yes, another Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime after this election.

ED Electoral Prospects

Despite all indications pointing to an MDC Alliance victory, it will be folly to completely write off ZANU PF especially in the first round of voting. Chances of a Mnangagwa ‘win’ still exist after factoring in the military’s role in the country’s political affairs. Lest we forgot, it is the same boys in uniform who have played kingmaker in the ruling party and Zimbabwe’s leadership succession dynamics over the period dating back to the liberation struggle. The ouster of  Mugabe the dictator in November this year bears testimony to this assertion.

As such, there is every reason to believe that the army will continue to nourish its dangerous sense of entitlement in as far as installation and ousting of   leaders in Zimbabwe is concerned.

Direct involvement in elections by the military has had massive influence on the outcome of the elections in the past and this it’s no different this time around. Zimbabweans must therefore brace themselves for more anguish. In simple terms, an ED victory will be a continuation of the status quo.

Assuming that the undesirable scenario of a Mnangagwa reign actually materialises Zimbabweans will have no choice but to adopt a wait-and-see attitude hoping that ED would turn around the economic fortunes of the country. If he does, then good for   Zimbabweans. They might as well see no reason to keep holding grudges. Gradually they might    embrace the new dispensation of a developmental dictatorship.

May be that way Zimbabwe will emerge from the sombre and dark cloud of exaggerated tranquillity into an era of true freedom and unforced patriotism under a Mnangagwa administration?

Only time will tell.

Political Deadlock

From the look of things, there is zero likelihood of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe this year that would guarantee incontestable results.

ZANU PF is intent on subverting the will of the people as has always been the case. The strategy this time is to couple soft intimidation with massive propaganda and finally ballot rigging. The machinery is well oiled and ready to accomplish the gory mission.

ZEC is still heavily compromised and the Mugabe way of doing things continues.

So, there is real danger lurking in the country’s dark spots ready to explode following the announcement of election results.

Rhetoric from both the ruling party and opposition indicates that no side will be in a position to accept the election results as a true reflection of the people’s will unless they win themselves. This acrimony has already  marked the beginning of another sad chapter of instability in our  country especially during and after the run-off that is if the first round produces a stalemate.

Another coup after a Chamisa victory cannot be ruled out   but this time it will be without the 18 November cover-ups. Even though Zimbabweans are now sick and tired with political nonsense.

Signs of a massive protests and demonstrations are distinct on forecast chart thus heightening the chances of a bloody political upheaval in Zimbabwe as people will have no option but to reclaim their freedom through other means other than elections.

Political Compromise & Co-Existence

The only solution to avoid total anarchy after a disputed poll in Zimbabwe would be forming a government of national unity reminiscent of the 2008 arrangement.

Making the presidential candidate who will receive the most votes lead the country but retaining elements important for national stability in government from both parties is what is going to pacify an agitated population.

More importantly, amid all the bickering during and after the election regional and international bodies like SADC and UN respectively must maintain a visible presence in the country to observe, record, condemn and prevent human rights violations and a full blown civil war.

Whether it is Chamisa or whether it is ED who is going to occupy statehouse for the next five years is not as important as putting in place mechanisms that would finally give Zimbabwe a soft landing after nearly 40 years of brutal dictatorship, oppression and suppression. The possibility of a socially democratic and developmental Zimbabwe is still high  .

Yes, another Zimbabwe is still very possible.

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