There was absolutely nothing new by way of reforming the party or its leadership. More significantly, Zanu (PF) proved again how much out of touch and out of synch and, ultimately, an anachronism, it is with the realities in Zimbabwe and in its own ranks.
By nominating Mugabe as their candidate in the next presidential elections, Zanu (PF) showed it is bankrupt of new, younger and more energetic leadership. Zanu (PF) also hopes to sell to Zimbabweans the idea that Mugabe has instituted an indigenization process to give blacks more economic power. But what Zimbabweans have seen, are seeing and will see in Zanu (PF) and Mugabe is a dirty laundry list of misguided policies and criminal actions.
When Zimbabweans go to vote, they will see an 88-year-old man who has brought the country to the edge of complete meltdown. They will see a party that has created economic chaos in the country, with inflation at one time topping over one-million percent and the Zimbabwean dollar being reduced to a worthless piece of toilet paper.
They will see a Mugabe and Zanu (PF) who have destroyed the country’s manufacturing, agricultural and industrial capacity to an all – time low in the country’s history.
They will see a Mugabe and Zanu (PF) who, through the ill-advised and ill-conceived land reform, have, in fact, created more landlessness among black Zimbabweans. In the operation to seize 6,000 white commercial farms, Mugabe and Zanu (PF) ended up rendering about one million black Zimbabwean farm workers homeless and landless. The so called Operation Murambatsvina, which was condemned by the United Nations, reduced hundreds of thousands of black Zimbabweans into squatters to this day.
They will see a Mugabe and Zanu (PF) who have created over 90 percent unemployment in the country. They will see a Mugabe who, in his 30-year rule, has massacred over 20,000 Zimbabweans through politically-motivated violence.
They will see a Mugabe who has rigged all elections, especially since 2000. They will see a Mugabe who refused to step down after he lost the 2008 elections. They will see a Mugabe who is frail, in ill-health and, quite frankly, now living on borrowed time. They will see a party that has been unable to resolve internal problems and unable to groom a viable successor to Mugabe.
The objective realities on the ground in Zimbabwe right now are Mugabe’s liberation credentials and exploits over 30 years ago have been eclipsed by post-colonial social, human rights, political and economic issues.
It is a sheer waste of time and energy to be harping on the old song that Mugabe is a liberation war hero. To which Zimbabweans will ask: What did your liberation and heroism bring to Zimbabwe whose masses are now mired in abject poverty and an economic situation that falls way below what prevailed during the colonial era?
In the past 30 years of so-called independence, the majority of Zimbabweans have been regressively made poorer. At the same time, a few top Zanu (PF) elite have progressively become richer.
Zanu (PF)’s selling strategy that Mugabe is a liberation war hero is out-of-date. Over 60 percent of Zimbabweans were born after 1980 when Zimbabwe attained her independence. Their priority is not what Mugabe and Zanu (PF) did in the anti-colonial struggle, but what they are doing now to make the so-called independence a progressive reality.
Then there’s always Plan B – a strategy of violence to intimidate voters to elect Mugabe. Given that this did not work in 2008, Zanu (PF) has its last card – a military coup. Military commanders have publicly stated that they will not allow anyone but Mugabe and Zanu (PF) to rule the country.
Zimbabweans are ill-advised to pin their hopes on elections if they really want to replace Mugabe and Zanu (PF). Election after election, Zimbabweans have expressed the hope and dream that the next election will be better and that they will overcome rigging in order to bring about a regime change. But even with the 2008 election experience, Mugabe and Zanu (PF) have not stepped down.
Zimbabweans need to come up with their own Plan B. It should consist of a range of mass actions like demonstrations and other civil disobedience campaigns.
And the time to talk about Plan B is now.Post published in: Letters to the Editor