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 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.


Chief. said...

I am excited to be the first to vote and comment on this brand new blogsite.I am also passionate about the situation in Zimbabwe.Having sttod up and voiced my corncen myself I must congratulate you for taking your time and effort for something bigger than yourself. Many Zimbabweans are content with their lifestyles and therefore do not want to put their hands in the dirty water. Slowly but sure Zimbabwe will be free. Its sads to say that the elction of 2008 will not do any good but further plung the nation into a worse situation. We must never be silent hief Justice. @.www.ikhonindaba.blogspot.com

mzilikazi said...

The situaion in Zimbabwe is in the hands of the opposition. The opposition has a chance to take advantage of the divisions in ZANU however chances of winning an election is based on people voting for the opposition out of despearation for change.