Mugabe anxious for new blood

Desperate to win the next election and still smarting from the March 2008 defeat by MDC-T, President Mugabe last week reiterated his clarion call that there should be no imposition of candidates in his party Zanu (PF).

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

The former liberation political party is in the process of restructuring and there have been serious problems in at least two provinces, Masvingo and Manicaland, where aspiring candidates have gone to the extent of throwing stones at each other and engaging in fist-fights.

Mugabe urged his fellow party members to refrain from the practice of writing little notes indicating the names of the people that should be voted for as members of the party’s district coordinating committees. This practice is alleged to be strongly promoted by senior party members, including sitting Members of Parliament who are desperate not to lose their seats come next elections.

It is my considered view that Mugabe is anxious to see new blood come into the party leadership in order to match the MDC-T leadership. This, I guess he reasons, would give his highly unpopular party a fighting chance at the polls. He is aware that the majority of the old guard, people who have been in Parliament forever, the likes of Didymus Mutasa, Sydney Sekeramayi, John Nkomo, Emmerson Mnangagwa and several others have no hope of winning their seats in the next elections.

They have become real liabilities to both his party and his tenure of office as President of this country. Mugabe probably knows that during the March 2008 elections, some Zanu (PF) supporters voted for a Zanu (PF) legislator and for Morgan Tsvangirai for President. This infuriated him no end as he felt, rightly or wrongly, that his candidates had not campaigned for him but for themselves only. This may be one of the reasons why there was such a high level of political violence in the Mashonaland provinces in June 2008.

Well, this time around, Mugabe thinks it is best to allow younger candidates to contest for seats in both Houses, rather than to let the old MPs continue to inflict damage to the party by their lacklustre performance and the imposition of “bought” candidates at the DCC level. In other words, Mugabe is fully in favour of leadership renewal as long as it does not involve his own position. That one is a “no go area” and everyone in his party knows it. It will be much easier for Mugabe to fight against the MDC-T with the likes of Muzembi, Bimha, and a few others than with the old guard, including Stan Ivanovitch Mudenge, who spend more of their time at health centres than in their constituencies.

The question that needs to be posed to the President is whether this new strategy will work for him. There is ample evidence to hand that the grassroots levels of the former ruling party has essentially been shattered by the MDC. The police in rural areas as well as in some urban areas have strict instructions not to allow both MDC formations to hold any rallies or meetings that may demonstrate the strength of these parties.

The second question that needs to be asked is whether the threatened sitting MPs from Zanu (PF) will allow the young and untested candidates to push them over without a fight. To all intents and purposes, we seem to be destined for a very interesting electoral season come 2013. [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis
  1. Stephen EK

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