Zimbabwe Votes 2008

Welcome to ZimbabweVotes2008, a platform designed to promote a discussion about Zimbabwe's make or break Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held in March 29, 2008. We will discuss the contesting political parties and their strategies, the candidates and their constituancies, and the prospects of the elections providing a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Welcome to the discussion.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Makoni is the man of the moment

Raphael Mthombeni (makhiyesenior@yahoo.com)

Sat 2/23/08 6:02 AM

The fact that Mugabe has finally spoken out against Makoni tells you who he thinks his real opponent is in this election; that is all we were waiting to hear. Makoni is the man of the moment; let the whole country rally behind him to oust this monster. All the Zimbabweans in the diaspora need to support this change; morally physically and financially. This is the best chance we have to move the country forward to great prosperity and sanity in the world. Those of you who want to be part of change with you contributions, we at MDC-NAD are already on the move. We sent our first financial support to the MDC Party Tresurer Mr Dulini this week. Money will make the campaign effective. The candidates will have to move and cover the country. Ladies and gentlemen time is not on our side let us not run but sprint to the finish line.

You can contact us at the NAD-MDC link below and be part of the change process:


Ayihlome kusile madoda !!

Raphael Mthombeni

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/21/2008 20:47:20 ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe on Thursday launched into a virulent attack against his former finance minister who is challenging him in elections next month, describing him as worse than a prostitute. In a television interview to mark his 84th birthday, Mugabe launched into Simba Makoni who until February 5 was a member of the politburo, the top decision making body of the ruling Zanu PF party.It was the first time Mugabe publicly reacted to Makoni’s challenge which has injected a new excitement to the presidential race which appeared to be headed for a rematch of his disputed 2002 victory over Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).Mugabe blasted: "What has happened now is absolutely disgraceful. I didn’t think that Makoni, after all the experience, could behave like the way he did and in a na├»ve way too, boasting that ‘I am Simba Makoni’.“He doesn’t even have a party, he says ‘people come and join me I am amazing, I am a magnate, come to me and I am there to lead you’. No! You go to the people and the people find you, you don’t become self-important when you are looking for support."So I have compared him to a prostitute. A prostitute could have stood up also saying ‘I have boyfriends in the MDC, others are in Zanu PF, there is no party without my boyfriends, so I am going to the nomination (court) as well’. But you see, a prostitute could have done better than Makoni because she has clients.”Personal attacks have become a hallmark of Mugabe’s survival strategy as he battles growing resentment to his continued stay in power, manifesting itself through rampant indiscipline in the Zanu PF ranks.With the country’s economy all but collapsed and record inflation of over 100 000 percent, Mugabe’s television interview offered little insight into his economic revival plan."It means purely we have got to enhance production, make the goods available as cheap as possible. But we need to work with people who also understand that," he said when asked how his government intended to deal with the inflation crisis.Mugabe was upbeat about his chances of being re-elected, saying his victory would be a blow to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ‘regime change’ agenda in the southern African country."I do hope the humble pies -- and they will be big ones -- that we will deliver for the edification of the opposition will be eaten and eaten satisfactorily," he said.Mugabe’s chief rival in the past decade Morgan Tsvangirai launches his presidential campaign in Mutare this weekend, while Makoni is expected to hold his first rally in the second largest city of Bulawayo next week.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Zimbabwe Votes 2008

With the talks between ZANU-PF and the factions of the MDC almost declared 'dead' due to President Mugabe's setting of the election date before the conclusion of the talks, chances of an uncontested election result are almost impossible unless the opposition wins the election. For now, Mugabe seems to have put the opposition in a predicament. If the opposition participates (which they should, in my view), they will be seen as lending legitimacy to the electoral fraud. If they boycot, they will yield political space to ZANU-PF and by so doing diminish their relevance in the Zimbabwe political process.

Indications are that the opposition is going to participate in the election, the question is whether they are going to do so united or divided. If they go in divided, I give a clean win to ZANU-PF, if they unite or form a coalition they stand a chance as long as they energize the electorate to go to the ballot. Among many, there are four main reasons why I think the opposition stands a chance if they are united.

1. Economic meltdown and the universal need for change

A lot more people want change now than there were in 2002 or 2005, and this include even ZANU-PF supporters. All people need is clear and serious leadership, and in my view, since the 2005 split, the opposition has struggled to show that they are a serious alternative to ZANU-PF. Inflation is 24,000%, come on people, even Grace sees that Mugabe has messed up, I don't talk of the politiburo.

2. Low levels of election violence

There will be political violence and voter intimidation in this election, however I think it will be far less than witnessed in 2000, 2002 and 2005 partly because of the amendments to POSA, and partly because the outside world, in particular SADC is watching. Zimbabwe has been in the spot light since the March 2007 beatings of opposition activists, and will continue to be, more so going to the election. Mugabe can not risk some of the SADC observors declaring the elections as not free and fare. He will continue to use intimidation, but in moderation.

3. ZANU-PF is weaker

Just as the MDC has been weakened by factional fighting, so has ZANU-PF. Mugabe secured his endorsement through silencing dissenting voices within his party. While contrary to speculation by some newspapers, I do not think any senoir ZANU-PF members will jumb ship to work with the opposition, they will not have the energy and zeal of the past to campain for Mugabe. It is common knowledge that the security forces have been weakened by the economic melt down, with reported swelling levels of disconent in the lower ranks of the army and the police. This presents an opportunity for the opposition to speak to those disgruntled members of the ruling party and security forces, to point them to the future of prosperity, not to talk about retribution.

4. Elimination of 30 appointed members of parliament

Probably the only significant concession that the opposition got from Constitutional Amendment # 19 was the elimination of appointed MPs., and setting of 5 appointed seats for the Senate. However, it is clear from the distribution of additional seats for both the Senate and the legislative assembly that Mugabe planned to make up the lost seats by creating more constituencies in his strongholds. Theoretically, it is easier now for the opposition to win a parliamentary majority than it was in the previous elections.

In this introductory article, I did a brief overview of the political situation in Zimbabwe. In subsequent postings, as the 2 month campaign marathon heats up, I will focus on the strategies of the contesting parties and their candidates, and the issues coming up from the campaign trail. I can not imagine if there could or should be any issue other than the question of how to solve the economic crisis and the restoration of the rule of law and property rights.



At this point, I do not belong to any political party, I am just a politically conscious Zimbabwean adding a voice to the Zimbabwean debate. However, I have not disguised my support for change in Zimbabwe and sympathy for the opposition.