Isolated and exhausted, does Prez Mugabe matter anymore?

Posted: July 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

What can ZANU PF learn from Hosni Mubarak and Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party?

In response to my most recent blog entry, a reader mentioned that I spend more time writing about Mugabe than of writing about the future of Zimbabwe. It has been hard to divorce the two in recent years given Mugabe’s obsession with hanging on to power and Mugabe is often considered the main stumbling block for Zimbabwe’s development. More recently there has been a change in approach, however, and while I still believe that Mugabe’s departure will be a key event in Zimbabwe’s near future, I also recognize that the post-Mugabe future scenarios may be changing. But sure, thanks to the reader his opinion has inspired me to broaden the subject.

Isolated?

A sign of changing times and of Mugabe’s increasing isolation within his own party can be seen is the interview by the Minister of Indigenization, Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday 21 June on South Africa’s radio 702. Kasukuwere, through interactions with listeners who were phoning in, was determined to give the impression that ZANU PF has moved beyond Mugabe and is instead focusing on the future. There were strong hints that Kasukuwere is on a mission to position himself as the next leader of the country, leaving all blame behind with Mugabe and taking ZANU-PF forward on a new path. Whether we believe that a leopard can really change its spots is for each one of us to decide and I certainly have strong doubts but this is most interesting as an indication of ZANU PF strategy and management of the succession issue.

Clinging on, 4 years later

Last Wednesday, it was exactly four years since the abandoned second round of the Zimbabwe Presidential Elections scheduled for June 27, 2008. Thanks to that we now have a coalition government. From that point in 2008, so many positive and negative things have happened to Zimbabwe and I guess it is the right time for us to start reflecting on these issues as we move towards next year, which would mark the end of a normal five year term of parliament. I plan to write more about these issues in some of my upcoming blogs.

Opportunities missed!

The biggest opportunity missed since 2008 was for the then opposition MDC T to follow the mandate of the Zimbabwean people and take state power. They had won the elections of March 29 2008 and in my view, people were ready to take it to the streets in large numbers. The MDC T leader ducked the opportunity to lead, however, and sought refuge after a well calculated rumour hinted that he was going to be executed. Mugabe knew that if people have no leader, they won’t last in the street and thus Tsvangirai had to be exiled for that time when the momentum to riot was high. As we move forward, I believe the MDC T has learnt that lesson and will do better when faced with similar disputes in future.

Good things in Zimbabwe

Despite its origins in the MDC T’s failure to act after victory in elections was stolen from then, the greatest thing that has happened to the country since 2008 has bveen the formation of the coalition government. Thanks to the South African mediation team led by former president Mbeki, we now have a government that has tried to ensure majority of citizens do not have to live in fear or face the same violence they experienced in the build-up to and immediately after the 2008 elections. While there have been some

Mastermind – The brains behind stability in Zimbabwe?

controversial policies passed such as indigenization laws, the reality is that these will not be reversed. The challenge we have as Zimbabweans is to lobby our representatives in parliament to provide us with clarity on how these programs can be implemented to benefit the ordinary Zimbabwean citizen. At present it looks like only ZANU PF supporters have the privilege to information regarding the control of mining community shares and other businesses. We need our legislators to communicate better on what these mean in order for us not to lose out like we did on the land distribution exercise. If there is no going back it is up to Zimbabweans to demand transparency. Corruption and politicization of programs still poses a major threat to Zimbabwe – with better information we stand better chances of empowering ourselves as a nation.

Learn from Mubarak’s mistakes and Mexico’s successes

I have already flagged up Mubarak’s fatal error in previous blog entries. Like Mugabe, Mubarak is said to have been isolated and exhausted during his last years of absolute power. He kept fighting and is now paying with imprisonment and is close to death. On the other hand, in Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) just won elections after 12 years as opposition. Like ZANU PF the PRI was for 71 years accused of ruling Mexico through corruption and patronage but when faced with defeat in 2000, they conceded

Can Kasukuwere wait like what this did?

and opted to bow out and take a role as opposition, which gave them time to rebuild their party. Now, led by Enrique Peña Nieto the PRI is portraying itself as a party that has been modernized and does not seek a return to its old ways. I would suggest to ZANU PF that if they lose the forthcoming elections (assuming the reforms take place for the elections to be credible), it will be their time to go back to the woods and reorganize themselves for another round which could come sooner than they might expect. Fighting the results with violence and manipulation as they did in 2008 will only take us back from the progress we have made and make people hate ZANU PF even more. The term in office that Kasukuwere aspires to term will be better if he waits for his Enrique Peña Nieto moment.

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Comments
  1. Rejoice Ngwenya says:

    “At present it looks like only ZANU PF supporters have the privilege to information regarding the control of mining community shares and other businesses..” Frankly, these cronies will be made to pay back each and every cent they have looted. Like NAZI war offenders, their assests and bodies will be persued to the tiniest little bed-sitter in Hong Kong or Cape Town. No way out for these trapped political animals.

  2. I like the general thrust of your article.
    I am however a bit doubtful that the formation of this coalition gvt qualifies as the best thing that has happenned to Zimbabwe since 2008, more so having, as you just did, well defined the opportunity cost it presented.
    For me, what would pass as the best lesson for Zim out of all the post 2008 mess is that leaders should never again be allowed to bargain away the mandate of the electorate. While Africa is desperate to groom a new breed of politician with integrity, it is an extravagance for us to mix our good eggs with the bad in the same basket. More like letting the convent nun have a sleepover in a rapist’s prison cell. One gets the impression that this phenomenon of coalitions , from Zimbabwe to Britain and possibly Greece and Egypt is a deliberate ploy of private capital to take control of peoples’ political and social destiny. The old ‘devide and rule’ tactic has become too obvious, transparent and ridiculous. A new ‘unite-them-like-salad and eat them up in one gulp like a burger’ approach seems to be at play.
    But yes, this is the situation we have got and we have to live with it. Make the most of it even. We are better of accepting it as it is than glorify it as the best thing we could have ever deliberately brought upon our society through our own wisdom or the best counsel of those who wish us well (the Mbekis and Zumas of this world)
    Trapped in our own freedom, we live on.

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