If anyone has to withdraw from Zim elections then it should be Mnangagwa!

So, political commenter Jonathan Moyo believes that, for the good of the Cowdary Park (Bulawayo) constituency, possible opposition CCC candidate Thokozani Khupe should withdraw her bid, and allow the ruling ZANU PF’s Mthuli Ncube to contest unchallenged!

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


Well, I will not comment much about the clearly undemocratic nature of such a bizarre suggestion – since, in any democracy, the people should have the final say on whom they want to represent them. 

It would be quite weird for a candidate from a political party to step aside and make way for a rival – simply because the former believes the latter has a better chance of bringing more development to a constituency.

If that is how a learned political scientist as Moyo perceives democracy and democratic contestation – then we are in serious trouble as a country, if such questionable views are permitted to carry the day.

This will not only deny the electorate their right to elect their own representatives – but may actually lead to the emergence of political cartels – whereby rivals can easily enter into dubious agreements to allow one to go through, whilst the other withdraws.

Anyway, based on our learned professor’s wildly strange proposition – would it actually not make more sense for ruling ZANU PF candidates to make way for the opposition – considering how the party has dismally failed the people of Zimbabwe over the past 43 years?

Let us be brutally frank, what new ideas and development can the ever-suffering hapless citizenry expect now – which ZANU PF failed to come up with over the course of a whole four decades in power?

All we have experienced over the past 43 years is worsening poverty, shortages of nearly everything, unaffordable basic commodities, de-industrialization, joblessness, dysfunctional hospitals and schools, and lack of potable water in our homes.

Whilst at the same time, the ruling elite has gorged themselves on ill-gotten wealth – derived from the plunder of our national resources, such as gold, diamonds, lithium, and illicit financial flows – with the country losing an estimated US$2 billion each year. 

In all honesty, would it not be sheer madness expecting those who have unashamedly reduced our once prosperous ‘jewel of Africa’, into a sad disgraceful basket case, to suddenly become our saviors and messiahs?

Even a little child soon learns not to expect, or even ask for, sweets from her father, on his return from work – once she has been let down and lied to enough times.

So, why should entire grown-ups think that the same people who drove them into abject poverty would be the same ones to lead them into the land of milk and honey?

As such, will it actually not make far much more sense – based on Moyo’s warped philosophy – for ZANU PF candidates to withdraw from the race, so as to pave free passage for opposition candidates?

In fact, I can go a step further to suggest that Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – since the proverbial fish rots from the head – be the one to get the ball rolling, by announcing his withdrawal from the presidential race. 

No one can deny that Zimbabwe is in desperate need of fresh ideas and new younger minds – and this can surely not be expected from an 80-year-old man, who has been an integral part of the same system that destroyed the country since independence in 1980.

This can not be the best person to take the nation to the next level of advancement and prosperity.

Besides, has his past five years at the helm not being a monumental disaster – actually driving people’s lives even deeper into the abyss of impoverishment and suffering?

We have watched as virtually none of his 2018 election promises being fulfilled.

What happened to ‘free education for all’?

Has the cost of learning not actually exponentially gone up in recent years – with hundreds, if not thousands, of children either dropping out of school or unable to sit for their final public examinations – due to unbelievably astronomical costs?

What about ‘kujekesa nyika yese’ (providing reliable consistent electricity to all Zimbabweans)?

Over the past few years, have we not actually experienced economically devastating and seriously inconveniencing power outages lasting an average 20 hours each and every day?

Why has the ZANU PF regime not been too keen on upgrading and maintaining our power generating capacity – choosing rather to rely on antiquated equipment, mostly from the Rhodesia time?

What about the 1.5 million houses?

Just after the November 2017 military coup d’état that ousted long-term tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe, whilst ushering in Mnangagwa – were we not inundated with endless state media television programs showing ambitious urban development plans?

Were we not shown amazing computer-generated images of areas in Mutare, Mbare (Harare) and others – featuring outstanding new lavish residential flats, together with plush swimming pools?

Nonetheless, today, Mbare ‘hostels’ are even more uninhabitable and horrendous than ever before – becoming not only a huge health risk, but also a haven of drug abuse and criminality. 

Our youth were assured of millions of employment opportunities – with so-called ‘mega deals’ being waved around each time Mnangagwa met some supposed ‘wealthy investors’.

However, today, the only thing our children can hope to achieve in life – as thousands are churned from our universities each year – is becoming street vendors, prostitutes, robbers, or Makorokoza (illegal artisanal gold miners). 

Nowadays, the Mnangagwa administration does not tire boasting over its so-called ‘road rehabilitation program’ – which, in actual fact, is merely patching up and resurfacing a few roads, most constructed during the colonial era.

The question that seems to elude this government is, “How did our roads reach such a deplorable state of damage and even disrepair, in the first place”?

Is that not the duty of responsible leadership to ensure that all our roads – whether urban, rural or highways – are always in top-notch condition, and even expanded to meet modern standards?

Honestly, does it makes sense to brag about patching up potholes, and constructing only one traffic interchange?

On the economic front, Mnangagwa guaranteed that he would strengthen the local currency, which – after his ill-conceived decision to reintroduce the useless Zimbabwe dollar in 2019 – he boasted was the ‘strongest in Africa’!

Yet today, it is trading at a shocking ZW$4,500 to the greenback on the parallel market – and, an equally staggering, ZW$2,600 to US$1 at the official RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) auction system!

As a result, most goods and services are out of the reach of millions of poverty-stricken Zimbabweans – with those formally employed largely earning in local currency – yet, prices being pegged in the US dollar.

In fact, half the population lives in extreme poverty (earning less than US$1.90 a day), and more than two-thirds below the poverty datum line. 

Can we genuinely claim to be a proud nation when the majority of our citizens depend on handouts for their survival?

Zimbabwe today hogs international headlines as having the highest annual inflation rate in the world – at over 700 per cent!

We can move on to our healthcare facilities – which have been reduced to death traps – lacking the bare basics, such a functional maternity facilities, cancer radiotherapy machines, as well as simple paracetamol.

Rural children are – 43 years after independence – still ‘learning’ (if we can even call it that) under trees, or disused tobacco curing barns – obviously without any books, let alone modem educational tools, as science and technology. 

Therefore, if I were to ask our learned professor – is Mnangagwa the best person to stand for president on 23th August 2023 – when the country goes to the polls?

Does he surely deserve another five years?

If Moyo wants to be brutally honest with himself, what advice would he give Mnangagwa – taking into consideration what he suggested to Khupe?

Who should actually withdraw his candidature?

I leave the answer to the good professor!

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