- Mugabe is the most vilified.
- Mugabe’s popularity growing.
- Mujuru remains the best figure in the opposition
By Dr. Masimba Mavaza| While the opposition tries to unite, the presidency seems to be working out various possible scenarios for staying in power. Sensing the reality that they will loose elections in 2018, the opposition has continued to fly rumours of serious illness and rumours of death in order to discredit Mugabe in the coming elections. Mugabe’s popularity is growing and his zeal to win unstoppable.
Crowds turn out to see the veteran politician and the leader of Zimbabwe each time he arrives home after rumours of his death. Some come to see a dead walking man. Some come to see the powerful living human.
The president said I have died so many times. I have resurrected. Those who can not win elections wish he is dead. The president will live longer and indeed no one can take him out through the elections.
- Mugabe is the most vilified person in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is the most vilified person in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai and Chamisa professed their undying love for this man. Mujuru called him the esteemed father. And every Zimbabwean calls him “the living man”. The opposition give him names yet he is the most loved man.
For nearly four decades Zimbabwe has been an electoral democracy, a fragile but functional one, but an electoral democracy nonetheless. However, in the eyes of many this status risks being forfeited in the wake of impatience and misguided demonstrations by the opposition. They are aware elections wont remove him because he is a strong loved man who commands the greatest support they wish him dead and if wakes up late they blow their trumpets that he is dead. The one who is feared is the one who is smeared more. But God gives life and maintains life.
According to Zimbabwe’s constitution, the president is permitted two consecutive mandates of five years. But with just eighteen months to go until the end of President Mugabe’s first term, there are no signs of an election to appoint his successor. This is because his party has trust and faith in him.
The government has regularly reaffirmed its commitment to elections and attributed the bye elections to technical and financial factors which are overshadowed by the democratic love of elections.
But given that Mugabe doesn’t appear to consider himself bound by the constitution and that he has been notoriously uncommunicative about his intentions, many fear that he intends to delay the election until he can find a way to stay on forever. This thinking is futile because Mugabe has a legitimate stay of the next five years.
On two separate occasions recently, Mugabe assured the people that Zimbabwe will honour its electoral duty but he omitted to say when the elections would be.
In recent months, Mugabe’s potential route to extending his presidency has become more visible. He said there is no vacancy at the top.
- Mugabe is still strong and smart enough to win the elections
This decision to stand for his legitimate second term horrified the opposition who argue that the President is old and someone should take over. The question is what love do they have for Mugabe. If he is old then it is in their own favour. The truth is they are afraid of him and they rather have another competitor. It is that fear which makes them circulate death rumours. Lets face it Mugabe is still strong and smart enough to win the elections. He is a creation made by God himself.
At the same time, supporters of the president appear to be preparing the country for the possibility of a second term in the hands of the icon.
For instance, the youth league told a reporter this month that “there will be a second term for Mugabe that the population is going to impose…either by election or by election.
Meanwhile, in an interview on arrival in Zimbabwe from Dubai 3rd September 2016 the press cast Mugabe as the reluctant leader selflessly awaiting the instruction of his people. “He doesn’t want to do his will but the will of the people. he said, before adding that an election would be “constitutional” and that if the population calls for him to lead he we will bow before to their will.
While progress may have been relatively smooth thus far, recent behaviour of the opposition suggests that The opposition and their sponsors are afraid of defeat and they want to disturb the planned constitution. their plan will not be plain sailing. Zimbabwe will defend its rights with sweatband blood. After all, in 2013 the president’s enemies failed to secure the majority or super-majority in the National Assembly necessary to organise a government
In that vote, some of the voters that made up Mugabes parliamentary majority must have got votes from the opposition supporters who saw that Tsvangirai represents doom.
And in 2014 the president’s dominance in the National Assembly was further strengthened when parliamentary seats were donated by Tsvangirai an offer which was a blessing to Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Mugabe’s supporters must also be aware that any attempt to elbow more members from Zanu is a disaster meanwhile protesters in towns across Zimbabwe took to the streets against refusal to proposed changes to the electoral law that could’ve given the West a chance to rig elections against Mugabe. In the repression that followed, dozens were killed or peacefully arrested.
The insistence by the likes of Kasukuwere and Chombo that the population is clamouring for more Mugabe is also highly correct. Mugabe is deeply popular in much of the country and, although there is no reliable polling, it is thought the majority of the population would prefer to see the same head of state post 2018.
This means that even if the president’s political foot soldiers can engineer a victory, it is probable they would not have to deploy a variety of underhand tactics to win it.
If the route to Mugabe’s continued rule via an election is ruled out, another possibility is that the president could anoint a dauphin to run with his blessing. There are no immediately obvious nominees for this role, but the possibility certainly seems to be under consideration. For instance, Mugabe’s chief enemies have said that while the president will remain in power beyond the end of his first mandate, he will leave office at the next election.
Whether this is Mugabe’s preferred strategy or simply a Plan B if he can’t secure a second term is anyone’s guess. The contrary messages currently originating from Mugabe’s enemies may be explained by the fact the president is yet to make up his mind on the best strategy and is working on several possible options.
What are the opposition’s prospects of spoiling the president’s plans? At first sight, the travails of Mujuru and Tsvangirai whose presidential bid has been swiftly and ruthlessly neutered – suggest it will struggle.
The former VP quit the ruling party in December 2014; she secured the endorsement of two opposition platforms and launched her presidential campaign where she is becoming a threat.
Historically, the opposition has been fragmented, driven by competing egos and diverging visions. But at least publicly, most leading figures have acknowledged the importance of confronting Mugabe with a united front and behind a joint presidential candidate.
However, this is easier said than done.
Nevertheless, efforts to unite have been central to the opposition’s strategy. And the showpiece of this quest took place Gweru when Mujuru and Tsvangirai appeared together in a protest against Mugabe.
Mujuru remains the best figure in the opposition
In spite of this hiatus, however, Mujuru remains the best known figure in the opposition – with the possible exception of Tsvangirai and has an unparalleled capacity to mobilise support in important parts of the country, most notably Bulawayo. Her central position in the Opposition undoubtedly gives the new organisation greater authority.
It appears Mugabe is wary of what they see as the burgeoning relationship in the Mujuru, Tsvangirai, NERA convergence.
At the moment, it seems that the only option to avoid the opposition and government clashing amidst a deepening constitutional crisis is the national dialogue that MUGABE must call. According to this, there should be an inclusive forum aimed at ensuring credible elections, and the UN and international community have repeatedly called for it to be held.