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Mnangagwa can have Tsvangirai & co. in his cabinet but cannot postpone July 2018 elections

22 Nov 2017 at 06:56hrs | Views
When one is starting from such a low baseline it is very easy to make a big impact even with just a few changes as we saw during the GNU. The scrapping of the Z$ and ending of price controls made a very big difference; the hyperinflation ended immediately and within weeks if not days shop shelves were full of goods. Mnangagwa can do the same by scrapping some of Mugabe's stupid policies such as indigenisation, he can tell his cronies to give up some of the huge fortunes they are getting from Marange, the Chinese will be as good as their word and inject billions of dollars, etc. Mnangagwa's problem is that time is not on his side.

Zimbabwe's next elections must take place by end of July 2018 at the very latest. Whatever economic reforms Mnangagwa has carried out will need time to bear fruit, he will very little on the ground to show that he is his own man and more competent than Mugabe.

If the coup had happened two or three years ago I believe Mnangagwa and his team would have had time to implement some reforms which would have resulted in very significant and noticeable economic recovery. A significant improvement in their economic wellbeing would have been enough to persuaded many voters to vote for Mnangagwa and Zanu PF regardless of his and the party's checked past record.

With very little economic improvement to show for his short stay in State House, Mnangagwa will find himself fighting a rear-guard action of defending his 37 years as Mugabe's right-hand man and chief enforcer. He cannot deny that he has been involved in the looting like everyone else in Zanu PF. The details of the UN report naming him in the looting in the DRC, for example, will come out again.

It is well known that Mnangagwa has played a pivotal role in the blatant vote rigging and wanton violence that have become the hallmark of the Zanu PF political culture.

Worst of all, after Robert Mugabe himself, the nation blames Emerson Mnangagwa for the Gukurahundi massacres. There is plenty of mud to throw at Mnangagwa here and it all sticks!

Then there is the economy itself; Mnangagwa was a senior member of Mugabe's government and therefore must should some of the blame for the country's economic mess. The people would not want to elect someone who was in government 2008 when inflation rocketed to 500 billion per cent, unemployment soared to 90% as is the case now, etc.

If the elections are free, fair and credible and the people of Zimbabwe are given they first ever electoral chance to reject Mnangagwa and Zanu PF there is no doubt in my mind that they will seize it with both hands.

So, the only hope of Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies of avoiding a humiliating electoral defeat is for them to rig the elections. Since Morgan Tsvangirai and his opposition friends have failed to get even one democratic reform implemented since the last July 2013 rigged elections Zanu PF still has the carte blanche powers to rig next year's elections. Mugabe was gearing up to do just that with the chaotic voter registration exercise, buying each of the country 226 Chiefs a twin-cab Isuzu truck, etc. Mnangagwa, given his vast vote rigging experience, will find the temptation to rig next year's elections irresistible.

The military coup last week has forced the international community but even more so SADC to take a real close look at the seriousness of Zimbabwe's economic mess with its 90% unemployment rate, 72.3% living on US$ 1.00 or less a day, etc. The out pouring of emotions by ordinary Zimbabweans are the prospect of Mugabe being forced out of office was heartfelt; it was clear as day the people of Zimbabwe were desperate for real change just to end the economic hardship they are facing.

Zimbabwe is teetering right at the edge of total economic collapse and political instability. Another rigged election next year may well be the final push to send the country into the abyss. Political instability in Zimbabwe can spill into other countries in the region. SADC leaders are aware of this and this is why they will not tolerate another rigged election.

Mnangagwa can rig next year's elections but he can be certain one thing – he will not get away with it. If SADC leaders rule the elections a sham then Zimbabwe will be send back into the sin-bin as happened following the rigged 2008 elections. Instead of be forced to form another GNU in which Zanu PF and the MDC politicians in the last GNU play a part, they will have no part to play this time round.

So analyst have suggest Mnangagwa may decide to pre-empty SADC and invite MDC and some other opposition politicians to join him to form a GNU and use this as cover for postponing next year's elections by a year or two. This will certain buy him time to get his economic policies to take effect.

The present parliament, regardless how many times it has been shuffled, was elected for a maximum term of five years; there is no excuse short of a natural disaster or war to postpone the elections. Postponing the elections because the incumbent are fearful of losing the elections, as in this case, stinks! Mnangagwa can invite Tsvangirai, Dabengwa or whoever else he wish to join him in his new cabinet but he must hold fresh elections by end of July 2018 at the latest!

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Source - Wilbert Mukori
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