‘Robert Mugabe will lose in 2018′

HARARE – Fearless former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has predicted that President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF will lose the country’s 2018 national elections hands down.

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Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Sibanda said the level of factionalism and anarchy in Zanu PF, coupled with the failing health of Mugabe and his controversial wife Grace, meant that it was impossible that Zanu PF could win a free and fair election — more so as the party operated on the misplaced notion that elections were won on voting day.

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The outspoken war veteran also accused the Zanu PF leadership of manipulating the party’s constitution ahead of the disputed December 2014 congress, “for the sole purpose of purging” some long-serving officials.

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He said by so doing, the party had been severely weakened as “the electoral college for the congress which was disregarded constituted the party’s main support base”.

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“So if you ask me whether the party will triumph in 2018, the answer is simple. With other political parties out there, the so-called (Zanu PF) big sharks will realise that they are actually kapenta in the ocean,” the brutally candid Sibanda said.

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Sibanda was controversially booted out of Zanu PF last year after he threatened to mobilise war veterans to seek audience with Mugabe over the party’s deadly infighting, as well as the many challenges that war veterans continued to experience 35 years after Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in April 1980.

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Before that, he had also colourfully pronounced that he was not going to allow “any coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom” at the height of the party’s anarchy last year that was fronted by Grace — as it became increasingly clear that she had become the power behind the throne in the run-up to the party’s disputed December congress. The utterances subsequently resulted in Sibanda being incarcerated on charges of breaching the country’s controversial slander laws — specifically insulting or undermining the authority of the president. The matter is still before the courts.

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Sibanda said yesterday that it would be foolhardy for the ruling party to “even imagine” itself winning the 2018 elections.

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“Unlike the preparations for the previous elections where I spent the whole time, from 2008, interacting with the electorate and resulting in the victory in 2013, the situation this time will be different.

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“Elections are not won in one day because once you lose the faith of the electorate it is very difficult to regain it as Zanu PF has done. It has divided itself with one half which successfully managed to pull the First Family to their side fighting the other half even in Parliament,” Sibanda said.

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Confirming the long-held view that Mugabe’s party used unorthodox means to win elections, Sibanda added that any plan to manipulate the ballot in 2018 would not work.

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“They are used to vote buying and deploying State security agents to fight on their side and this will not work either. The so-called big sharks murkied the waters in the small pond and have reduced the party to a bath tub by distorting the Zanu PF electoral college,” he said.

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In the meantime, the main opposition charged yesterday that the wheels had come off Zimbabwe.

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MDC spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said the economy continued to be on “an unprecedented downward spiral”, with at least 300 workers losing their jobs every week. He also said that it was becoming increasingly obvious that Treasury would soon run out of money to pay salaries for the bloated civil service.

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“It is obvious that Mugabe is no longer in control of the levers of State power. There is now a shadowy and Mafia-like gang that is running the State,” Gutu said in a statement.

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“The Zanu PF regime is now a rag tag grouping of antagonistic and opposing political factions. Things have completely fallen apart. The centre can no longer hold. Zimbabwe has degenerated into a failed state with several and ill-defined centres of power,” Gutu added.

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Tsvangirai’s party also expressed concern about the impending drought the country faces due to poor planning and following poor rains this farming season.

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More than 75 percent of the country received erratic rainfall particularly in the southern provinces of Masvingo, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and parts of the Midlands provinces.

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“Mugabe is busy hoping from one jet onto another as he continues with his endless and apparently purposeless foreign escapades. Zimbabwe is on autopilot and as of now, no contingency measures have been put in place to avert the massive food deficit that is about to ravage no less than seven million Zimbabweans, particularly those living in the poor and marginalised rural areas,” Gutu said.

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Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme weighed in yesterday saying it was unimaginable that someone facing the odds Mugabe was confronted with could contemplate standing for election in 2018.

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Saungweme said considering that Mugabe was now 91 years old, he would be stretching himself too far to continue beyond 2018.

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“So, physically it looks like a mission impossible. Economically, everything points to depression and a dying economy and if things remain on their current trajectory the economy would have probably collapsed in 2018,” Saungweme said.

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He added that given the deep-rooted factional and succession wars devouring the ruling party, “Things really point to the end come 2018”.

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Speaking to the Daily News last week, Sibanda said a glaring lack of government accountability, coupled with gross corruption by many Zanu PF bigwigs was at the heart of Zimbabwe’s continuing political and economic crisis.

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He also said Zanu PF was solely to blame for the myriad challenges facing the country, and not opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the targeted sanctions imposed by the West, as Mugabe’s ruling party liked to claim.

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“Before we accuse Tsvangirai or any foreigner of hurting our country, let us look at ourselves. We have failed as a government and we are now even failing as a party, and as a result the revolution is being liquidated in the process,” Sibanda said.

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He also accused Mugabe of “listening to misleading voices” in Zanu PF and of “feigning surprise” when the president had been informed about how corrupt most of his ministers were.

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Sibanda added pointedly that this was the “real reason” why the country was in the mess it was in, and why its resources such as diamonds were being plundered by foreign companies working in cahoots with some ruling party elements.-Daily News