Confusion in Zanu (PF) as Mugabe pushes for early election

Harare, – There is confusion in Zanu (PF) ahead of polls next year amid indications that President Robert Mugabe made the elections announcement without consulting his party on its readiness

Mugabe, apparently angered by his endless clashes with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has in the past few weeks been preaching the gospel of elections next year saying the life of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) ends soon.

In the process, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the two key men in Zimbabwe’s politics have been engaging in a fierce war of words raising fears that this could lead to violence between Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

While Mugabe is claiming that he is ready for elections, it appears that he has not told his structures including the all powerful Zanu (PF) politburo of the impending elections and this has created confusion in the party with many questioning the logic of holding elections when it is clear that the 86-year-old leader’s chances of winning are slim.

The confusion in Zanu (PF) was confirmed by the party’s Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa in an interview with Radio VOP.

“We have not met as a party to discuss the issue of elections next year. But obviously if the president says we are going for elections next year, so be it. Personally I am ready and will win anytime.

“People are worried about structures in Zanu (PF) having fallen apart, people are saying it means we are not ready but they forget that when we came from the bush in 1980 we had no structures but we still won the elections.

“People are worried about structures in Zanu (PF) having fallen apart, people are saying it means we are not ready but they forget that when we came from the bush in 1980 we had no structures but we still won the elections"

“It all depends on what you have been doing for the people. It does not mean that if you campaign you are automatically going to win. It does not work like that. If you are Zanu (PF) there is no point in persuading you to vote for Zanu (PF) because you will always vote for it,” said Mutasa.

Sources told Radio VOP at the weekend that Mugabe’s announcement had created chaos in Zanu (PF) with the different factions of the party questioning their leader’s wisdom to call for elections when he has lost ground to rival parties.

A member of the faction controlled by Retired General Solomon Mujuru said: “I think age is catching up with the old man. Surely, how under the sun can he call for elections he knows he will lose? It’s madness."

“We are however suspicious that he might want to create a situation where he loses and gets a dignified exit. In the process, he will dump all of us and even destroy the party.

“The party’s structures have collapsed, even in the rural areas Zanu (PF) has lost support and we don’t know where Mugabe will get support unless if he uses extreme violence but then this tactic is difficult now because even SADC is against that. There is total confusion in Zanu (PF) – people are phoning each to try and come up with answers.

“The other logical conclusion is that maybe Mugabe is testing the waters to see if Tsvangirai is ready,” said the highly placed source.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s civic society groups last week were putting pressure on the facilitator to the country’s political crisis, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to push for the leveling of the playing field in before elections are held next year.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition met Zuma’s facilitation team in South Africa recently and told them that Zimbabwe was not yet ready for elections as there were a number of anomalies including the shambolic voters’ roll and the state apparatus that caused mayhem in the 2008 elections remained in place.

The coalition told Zuma’s team that the failure to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) meant that very few reforms had been undertaken since the inclusive government took shape last year.

In a position paper presented to the facilitators and in possession of Radio VOP, the civic society groups also urged Zuma to ensure that Zimbabwe holds credible elections acceptable to everyone.

“There is ample evidence that Zimbabwe’s security sector remains highly partisan, unprofessional and politicised. The National Security Council, which was intended to provide civilian oversight to the security sector and take a lead in reforming the sector, is barely functional.

“The office of the Attorney General (AG) remains extremely politicized and, together with the Police, it has failed or is unwilling to implement the GPA provision to ‘apply the laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing all perpetrators of politically motivated violence to book.’

“Scores of cases relating to the 2008 electoral violence, in which victims have named perpetrators in their reports to the police, have inexplicably not been prosecuted.

“This perpetuation of the culture of impunity and the retention through lack of action of security sector actors in the electoral and other political processes will not bode well for credible elections in the near future, as the state and its cohesive apparatus remains a major instigator of politically motivated violence,” read part of the position paper.”

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition also emphasised to Zuma’s team that reforms implemented in the inclusive government so far were not sufficient enough to create a condusive environment for an election that meets SADC standards.

It also said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was not ready for elections despite claiming that they were ready.

Crisis said violence which marred the constitutional making process continued to haunt the country. The civic society groups then called for Zuma to:

“Ensure that a credible election pitched on key benchmarks takes place in Zimbabwe and use a SADC led elections supervisory mechanism for Zimbabwe’s next vote to prevent state-sponsored violence, which is in place at least 6 months before the elections and 3 months after.

“In addition, SADC should urge the political principals in Zimbabwe to have broad domestic, regional and international observation of the elections in the interest of openness,” read part of the position paper to Zuma’s facilitation team. – Radio VOP