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Comparative analysis of current political developments in Zimbabwe

18 Feb 2019 at 14:48hrs | Views
It is critical and paramount of importance to do case studies, researches and analysis in any situation, mainly because they curb problems, and act as an indicator and eye opener for future events. Basically Zimbabwe lacks well documented research for future studies. It would be unfair to the future generation for lack of information and archives for empirical and scientific studies on specific areas of governance. The mass stay away was bigger than what people thought, as we speak we could be in another political debacle and debunk. There was likely to be another implosion similar to that of November 17, 2017. One could tell, the opposition in this country particularly the MDC Alliance could not have the capacity or sponsor such a big project.

Indeed it was a big project which had both an inside and external hand, but according to my critical analysis I don't think opposition could handle such a huge project. It was bigger than them. Basically what it means is that it was inside job, well designed and carefully managed. To add on to the frustrations that people had before the stay away, what fuelled the mass stay away was the announcement of fuel hike by Mnangagwa which was more than 150% increment of the fuel price. Whoever advised Mnangagwa to do so was wrong and that was political suicidal because the announcement was supposed to be done by ZERA, the fuel regulatory board, then in turn an appeal would then be made to the current Minister of Energy, and later on the appeal to President Mnangagwa. So whoever came up with the decision to announce fuel hike was totally wrong and offside.

If ZERA had announced it would then create room for ED and the public to negotiate for a better price, so people were frustrated because ED would be the last men to speak on whatever decision be it political or economic, his position would be final and there will be no room for appeal or negotiation. With Mugabe it was totally different, because he would create room for negotiations and allow people to take out their frustration, and he chips in and come up with a resolution. Something must be done on his advisory part so that it improves. We don't want a situation, were the President is allover to make every decision, some of the issues can be left out to other people like ministers or even deputy ministers or permanent secretaries, imagine the announcement of fuel prices can be done even by a principal director of a ministry or Minister in charge of the energy sector.

ED and 2023 Agenda

What led to people's frustrations is the announcement of the political agenda ahead of 2023. Whoever advised ED and Zanu-PF to do so was wrong and ill-timed. Mnangagwa has all the time till 2022 to make such crucial decisions, so there was likely to be an internal implosion within Zanu-PF who were against the idea of ED running for another term. This emanated from the economic and political pressures that this country was facing. Imagine with the current hikes of basic commodities, then suddenly someone announces the 2023 agenda, to povo this would be regarded as failure on its part and also deal with any threat which might want to target his position. So this was a direct message from ED's supporters to which ever faction is within Zanu-PF to stay put because ED is there to stay. We were just coming from another election and people expected something better from the current Government. Frustration on the part of citizens, opposition and factions from Zanu-PF joined forces to dethrone ED during the mass stay away. The other Zanu-PF within Zanu-PF had nothing to lose they would rather join forces with the opposition, and in politics anything is possible. Generally what we saw on the mass stay away was a combine attack from within the system and opposition forces.

Factional fights in both MDC and Zanu-PF working against each other

In both Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance, factions exist and they are working against each other. In Zanu-PF there are two main factions, one believed to be working in ED's corner and the other working in Chiwenga's corner and both exist. In any political organization it is normal to have factions and whoever denies that is living in his own world. In MDC Alliance there is one led by the current President, Nelson Chamisa and the other one led by Mwonzora who is believed to be a dark horse using Mudzuri. So basically what this means is that, one MDC faction was or is working with another Zanu-PF faction and the other MDC faction is working with the other Zanu-PF faction. Politics is interesting and in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies. Even Khupe could be working with either both factions in Zanu-PF and one in the Chamisa led party. It looks like one Zanu-PF faction in the MDC connived with another Zanu-PF faction during the mass stay away with possibly a future arrangement. That's politics. The stay away was bigger than the opposition matrix and it had a bigger hand within the system.

Arrests were well calculated

The arrests behind opposition leaders were well calculated and meant to destabilize the opposition which had a chance to form an alternative Government. What this means is that, by arresting Chibaya who is the national organizing secretary of the main MDC Alliance, the target will be to cripple Chamisa financially and politically. If you remember very well Chibaya is the one who organized the movement for 2018 elections and he is a good mobiliser and coordinator and by arresting him, there are two reasons behind that, to cripple Chamisa and also to target Chamisa ahead of October elective congress and at the same time the 2023 elections. National organizing secretary is a key position, it matters most because it deals with structures and organization of the party, and so by arresting him, you will be draining the party financially through bail applications and at the same time weakening Chamisa and the opposition. Another key issue, is mostly the Chamisa faction or his key allies were targeted leaving out Mwonzora's allies. The idea is to cripple Chamisa ahead of the congress and to eliminate the idea of Chamisa's presidency ahead of elective congress. Look at the people who were targeted, Chibaya, Mafume, Biti, Komichi and Hwende and these are key to Chamisa's presidency. So basically Zanu-PF is already preparing for elections for 2023. What this means is that ED is already in 2023 mood and he is trying to deal with any opponent within and outside. Remember he narrowly won, controversially so he wouldn't want the same situation to happen and he is under pressure from the international community over disputed polls and electoral reforms.

Midlands Politics

What Zanu-PF is targeting is to destabilize the opposition is some key areas which they feel opposition has strongholds and try to cause by elections. For example by arresting Chibaya and Chikwinya, these are perceived to be Mnangagwa strongholds probably in Midlands and Masvingo and by doing so, ED is trying to send a clear message that I'm still in charge of those areas. If you remember very well, Chibaya and team are facing serious charges which may result in losing their Parliamentary seats so by doing so, by elections will be called and the number of opposition will be reduced in parliament, 2. Perceived vocal people in parliament will be eliminated from parliament, the few remaining ones will not voice in parliament. So the target is to cause by elections and destabilize the party, and at the same time ED will regain control of his home town provinces, Masvingo and Midlands. He could be sending also a strong signal to his ester while cdes in Zanu-PF that I'm still strong both within and outside Zanu-PF. So the arrests basically are to send a clear political message to everyone that I'm in charge.

AU Meetings and Dialogue

AU meeting was key for both Chamisa and ED. They were positioning themselves politically ahead of the crucial meeting. Chamisa's demands are clear to have an outside mediation and this would be a blow to ED's presidency. Mnangagwa knew very well that Chamisa will not attend the dialogue meeting at State House, but he wanted to send a clear message within and outside the country that he wanted to resolve the political impasse. Mnangagwa was under immense pressure from the international community over the gross human rights violations and brutal issues. What that basically means is that politically he was correct, because by doing so, Zimbabwe would not be put on the AU agenda meeting which was in Ethiopia. There were some countries which were eager to have Zimbabwe returned on the agenda, and it was going to be suicidal for ED's presidency. AU meeting was crucial for ED because it was strategic, both political and economic. Basically it means that the meeting was supposed to endorse his presidency. ED clearly knows that dialogue must be between himself and Chamisa, but the State House meeting was meant to appease international leaders who were piling pressure on ED and his Government to come up with a dialogue structure.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Global Institute of Policy Analysis and Research – GIPAR. He is also a leading consultancy in Project Management and he is studying Doctor of Philosophy in Development studies. He holds a B.A and M.A from Solusi University and another M.A from University of Lusaka, Zambia. He holds a certificate in Project Management and he can be contacted at

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