Elections could bring another unity government – Makumbe

HARARE – Professor John Makumbe says the elections, which Zimbabwe’s political leaders insist should be held next year – are likely to be disputed and could result in a second power-sharing deal.

Makumbe said while the situation on the ground demanded reforms, Zimbabwe had no choice but to go for elections to choose a substantive government.

“Mugabe wants an election with or without a new constitution because he knows the security sector has not been reformed and will do his bidding,” said Makumbe. “He has got the security chiefs in his palms and pockets. They will make sure he wins the elections even though that will simply result in further illegitimacy.”

“Mugabe will simply restart the clock of September 15, 2008, and SADC will come in again and do the negotiating business leading to a GNU 2 and GPA 2,” he said.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki brokered the power sharing deal which led to the signing of the Global Political Agreement on September 15, 2008.

SADC were the guarantors of the pact that led to the formation of the inclusive government which saw the entry of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Arthur Mutambara in government.

Makumbe said Mugabe was between a hard place and rock and therefore had to go into an election regardless of the pressures and outcome.

“Zanu PF uses violence to win elections. But elections can still be won even if there is violence and the elections can still be won even if there is massive rigging. So Tsvangirai is choosing a firm route (by going into elections) and is sending a strong message that the MDC is not afraid of any elections.

“Tsvangirai is seeking to send a strong message that he would like to have democratic elections and defeat Zanu PF again.  Him and Mugabe have realised that this country can only be government by one party so they have to go for an election,” Makumbe told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.

The outspoken professor said the inclusive government had frustrated Tsvangirai and was hoping to overcome this by defeating Zanu PF in the polls.

Dismissing Mugabe’s victory, Makumbe, suggested that the election would still favour Tsvangirai in the event that the octogenarian leader unleashed violence in the run up to the polls.

“Tsvangirai has a good caveat. If the elections are violent, he will pull his party from the elections. He is on a good stead,” said Makumbe.

There have been mixed reactions to the calls for elections next year.

Civic society groups maintain that the political environment is poisoned with violence and intimidation and does not bode well for strengthening democratic institutions through the impending plebiscite.

The business community which was ravaged by the economic meltdown of 2008 and previous years fear an immediate election could drive away prospective investors and negate the gains made so far by the inclusive government.

For the first time in a decade, the World Bank and the IMF have said Zimbabwe will register economic growth of 6% following the stead recovery under the current government.