HARARE – Political analyst Dewa Mavhinga says with the prevailing dire economic situation in the country, it is conceivable that Zimbabwe could go for its next national elections before 2018.
“It seems that people can see that major political changes are looming and that 2018 may be too far. It is possible that national elections will take place sooner than 2018 because of the economic implosion that could trigger unrest countrywide,” Mavhinga told the Daily News yesterday.
He spoke as other analysts said Zimbabwe was now in “full-blown election mode”, as political parties prepared for the eagerly-anticipated 2018 polls that some observers said could be marred by riots and violence, amid high chances that the opposition will work together to fight President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Only last week, former Vice President Joice Mujuru held her first public rally since she left the ruling Zanu PF in 2014, a gathering that was attended by thousands of her enthusiastic Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) followers.
This came after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC held two massive demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo, agitating for an end to Zanu PF’s 36 years of misrule.
“Look at how the Zanu PF government is failing to pay civil servants, look at the rampant corruption and put that together with the vicious succession fights over who takes over from . . . Mugabe who refuses to step down.
“All these factors are the gathering cumulonimbus clouds of an imminent political storm that will be upon us way before 2018,” Mavhinga added.
While support for Mugabe and Zanu PF is waning in the face of the current economic meltdown, the nonagenarian recently said he was going to start his 2018 campaign soon, and is expected to visit Chiredzi this week for his first rally.
Another political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said Mugabe would use the gatherings to test his popularity.
“The ruling party rallies are meant to achieve two things, reasserting the authority of the party leader in the face of continued factionalism and to counter the simmering revolutionary mood currently manifesting itself all over the country,” he said.
Hamauswa added that opposition political parties were also building up their 2018 momentum, banking on the social, economic and political crises that the country was currently experiencing.