Now that is enough to worry Mugabe and given the history of ZANU(PF) there must be a lot of homework being done as we speak to ensure that this will not happen. An MDC win is not desirable and must therefore be made impossible, at all costs.
The clear strategy will be to ensure that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are not allowed to vote because this would surely deliver at least 3m votes to the MDC, a number large enough to ensure that they get the majority vote.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora must therefore not hold their breath on being allowed to vote as this would surely be the undoing of ZANU(PF). It is not about to happen.
Locally, the urban voters will of course vote for the MDC but through sheer intimidation and the use of food donations, ZANU (PF) has always surprisingly won the rural vote. In this scenario, ZANU(PF) can only win through vote rigging as they have become master of the art. So without the Diaspora vote and free and fair elections, ZANU (PF) is likely to win the majority vote. That of course means big trouble. Is this likely – yes. Is it desirable – absolutely not!
The role of the SADC and African Union (AU) will be critical to ensure a free and fair election, but we all know how weak and ineffective this body has been when it comes to Mugabe. They are likely to merely endorse the result as otherwise that would mean too many complications. That is the sad reality. If ZANU (PF) wins the election we will see a carefully worded response from the SADC and AU stating that the elections reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe and who are they to go against it. Expect no protest from this bunch of Africans.
In the above scenario MDC is likely to pull out of government and Zimbabwe would be once again a pariah state with ZANU (PF) and the military in total control. The MDC would become enemy number one and we are likely to see massive arrests, intimidation and a return to violence. The MDC leadership would have to go into exile (eg, Botswana) or face prison.
A backlash by the black middle class would be the last hope but Zimbabweans are tired as their lives have been all about fighting Mugabe. In my case Mugabe was in power since I was 17 years old and now I am a mature 47 and he still wants another five years.
The economy would definitely collapse with investors pulling out and we would see massive international pressure with new direct sanctions and basically the isolation of Zimbabwe as happened with South Africa during apartheid. This would mean disaster for the Zimbabwean locals as the economic situation would deteriorate and the quality of life be negatively impacted.
The economy would be "Zanunised" with massive takeover of companies by ZANU(PF) cronies under indigenisation and a scorched earth scenario would ensue. More Zimbabweans would leave the country further eroding the already thin skills base while worsening social service delivery. The economy will rely on mining and tobacco as the only source of foreign income but with effective sanctions from the West, proceeds would be through sales to the East. Industry would close shop or relocate and we are likely to see the Chinese effectively take over Zimbabwe as ZANU(PF) will not have any allies but them.
In this scenario with ZANU(PF) in total control, a new Zimbabwe dollar would be re-introduced into the market to ensure that they once more can control cash reserves. The reserve bank would again become the centre of the economy with ZANU (PF) loyalist running things there and it would be back to the future.
This scenario must of course be avoided at all costs but will South Africa come to the party? With the ANC’s announced loyalty to ZANU(PF) such a situation would mean that South Africa will not be able to do much but verbally condemn the situation. Or will the SADC and AU isolate or invade Zimbabwe? Not likely.
*Vince Musewe as an independent Zimbabwean economist based in South Africa. He is also chairman and founder of Truth2Power. You may contact him on vincemuseweyahoo.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.