ZANU PF election discord confirms worsening fissures

OPINION – Widening cracks within the rank and file of ZANU PF are no longer a secret. If anybody was still wondering whether talk of serious and aggravating fissures within this party were mere speculation or not, the ongoing discord regarding timing of the next elections must have provided the much needed answers.

To further demonstrate that the former revolutionary party is not only cornered but deeply divided, the old axiom “don’t wash you dirty linen in public” has totally deserted some godfathers of a tiny but radical faction. They are now clearly in panic mode having lost much ground in recent days following destructive moves and careless statements spearheaded by the empty twin vessel of Rugare Gumbo and energetic but suspicious attention-seeker, Motor Mouth, as the Nutty Professor is now known in some circles. Because of worsening mistrust, issues that normally would be debated in closed-door meetings such as politburo or central committee are now raised through the media. Cabinet is now a no-go area for such debates because of obvious reasons.

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In a deliberate ploy to keep the nation in a perpetual state of election fear, intimidation and violence, the radical cartel, through its self-appointed tireless spokesman, is busy creating the impression that there will be elections this year when all indications are that there will be none. Seemingly rising from the political grave, Chinamasa has put on his thinking cap of late and started sounding like a lawyer when he said elections are certainly off this year because of the amount of work still to be done.

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Being much closer to the crucial negotiations than those who always enjoy acres of space particularly in state media even when they are saying nothing of substance, Chinamsa certainly knows something that Motor Mouth and others don’t.

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These recent comments on elections were unsurprisingly disowned by the notorious coterie as “his personal opinion which does not represent the position of the party”. Here is a man who is being disowned by his own; reminiscent of the manner in which JM himself was recently disgraced through a lengthy presidential spokesman’s statement which reached every corner of the globe. These events are certainly a microcosm of the brewing storm within the troubled and deeply fragmented party.

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Basics of management inform that if you need to fast-track any project without compromising quality and scope, you have to deploy more resources to it in order to condense the critical path. This simple technique is called crashing. Within the GPA context, the critical path, otherwise known as the roadmap, has key tasks such as a new constitution, security reform, clean-up of ZEC and the voters roll. Without these tasks, the project will not be complete.

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It is known that given the prevailing scarcity of resources, COPAC is only able to deliver a new constitution or referendum by September. We don’t know yet how much time, money and human capital the Registrar-General needs to remove a lot of dead voters from the roll including my own grandmother and enrol all eligible voters including those who have just turned eighteen.

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The ZEC boss will also be competing for the same resources to put his house in order by ensuring that his office does not become an extension of the CIO or army. Given this reality, sworn advocates of early elections may do the nation a lot of favour by mobilising resources and make them available to the key tasks  and offices mentioned above so as to fast-track this national project. Short of this, as the Sadc facilitator has repeatedly said, there will not be elections in 2011. Period.

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Those who think that, through public eloquence and oratory, they will force the nation to go for elections before making adequate preparations need to be reminded of the existence of the three principals who, together with Sadc facilitation team, will sit down and agree on a date to have them. Gone are the days when the politburo or cabinet (which was then just a rubberstamp), would impose their wish on Zimbabwe.

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In the past two years, the country has moved miles. What the politburo thinks, dreams or says does not necessarily become government policy anymore. To imagine that anybody will wake up one day and declare elections tomorrow ostensibly to please a few protagonists with ulterior motives or waning political careers, is pipe-dreaming. That era is long gone and gone for good.

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If anybody struggles to understand that a new constitution is a key component of the package of preconditions for the next election, that’s his personal problem, which does not necessarily translate into a national predicament. As the late Eddison Zvobgo once said “three men can sit under a tree and write whatever they want, the result does not become a national constitution”

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If ZANU PF is so passionate about elections to the extent that they can’t wait for due process as prescribed by the GPA, they are free to have an extraordinary mini congress any time anywhere (even in Singapore if convenient) where they can elect their new leadership to replace the current one which is well beyond its sell-by date. This is where they should really be directing all their energies towards.

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Isn’t it a fallacy and paradox that a party which cannot conduct its own internal elections as evidenced by the Mutare Congress is so keen on national elections? Should they wish to have a free lesson on how to run a congress, they shouldn’t look beyond Barbourfields where their nemesis recently left indelible footprints!

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Those desperately clutching at patronage straws shall continue to scream and make the loudest noise until the tsunami of change sweeps them away, never to be seen again.

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chambokom@gmail.com