HARARE – The current military siege in the country which is meant to push President Robert Mugabe into resigning will most likely benefit the ruling Zanu PF while on the other hand this might signal the death of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, social and political analysts contend.
With Zanu PF employing all the legitimate processes underway to force Mugabe to stand down and pave way for former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, analysts are of the opinion that the ruling party might not favour a transitional government.
Other analysts though are of the opinion that in order to sell the military takeover as a national project, the opposition is a must-inclusion in a post-Mugabe administration although the current fight is a Zanu PF internal issue.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme believes the current military process strengths and emboldens Lacoste Zanu PF.
“Opposition parties have been taken unawares. People have opposition politics fatigue.
“However, opposition will definitely get some accommodation through a transitional authority or Government of National Unity (GNU) although it is a Zanu PF game and no one other than Lacoste won and managed to realign Zanu PF,” he said.
Saungweme believes with all this happening and issues around constitutionality with Mnangagwa fired and then reinstated, a negotiated arrangement of sorts either a GNU or transitional authority will happen and it will be in force for 12 months or even more while parties re-organise themselves and legal and electoral reforms are done.
“There is no way the war vets and military who are the major sponsors of this change would accept anyone to lead who is not Mnangagwa, General Constantino Chiwenga or Joice Mujuru. Forget Morgan Tsvangirai. So with this, I don’t see elections next year.”
He however, sees some opposition parties dying with Mugabe.
“Some political careers are ending while a lot of opposition opportunistic career politicians will be crossing floor to join a realigned Zanu PF. I also see more opposition parties calling for an easy way in through calling for a GNU of sorts.”
Analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the opposition must maintain its struggle for the democratisation of Zimbabwe.
“The current events narrowly located within Zanu PF succession politics have nothing to do with democratisation. If the opposition blindly supports what is happening then they can only contribute to the strengthening of Zanu PF.
“While the military has intervened on a historically-setting manner, the role of the military and where it belongs must never be forgotten, and never should we allow an abuse of the military by Zanu PF in civilian political issues,” said Mukundu.
He added that once the military is done with its issues, the separation between political parties and State institutions must be made.
“The right of citizens to elect leaders of their choice is sacrosanct and hopefully we are not replacing the Mugabe regime with another regime and the abuse of citizens continues as in the past.
“The opposition needs a critical analysis and plan on light of the current events. It’s not given that Zanu PF and the military will be democrats, they may as well entrench repression to perpetuate their privileges.”
Playwright Leonard Matsa said in order to sell the military take-over as a national project and create a formidable front to effectively destroy G40; the opposition is a must-inclusion in a post-Mugabe administration.
“For an opposition whose 2018 election fortunes are sadly looking lean, this will actually be a timely lifeline. I don’t think Lacoste will want elections soon considering the turbulence in Zanu PF. It can be politically risky. I don’t see elections soon.
“By the time we get to elections, the anti-Mugabe euphoria will have disappeared. And without the army in the streets Mnangagwa cannot win against Tsvangirai and his alliance. Zanu PF will not risk it,” said Matsa.
Civil rights campaigner and mining activist Farai Maguwu said the opposition has a slight chance of benefitting but that is to push for electoral reforms before agreeing to impeach Mugabe.
“They must trust nobody. Zanu PF may decide to hold the election as scheduled to harvest from the outpouring of support to the ZDF.
“If Mnangagwa or Chiwenga is fielded as a candidate in the next six months, he is likely to win even in a free and fair election. Zanu PF has managed to rebrand itself by pushing Mugabe out. Many citizens are satisfied that anyone else except Mugabe and his wife Grace will do.”
Analyst Mcdonald Lewanika said it’s clear that the military staged their intervention in aid of a party and a party faction.
“That being the case, with such a clear agenda, I do not see how they will make it benefit the opposition. All the legitimate processes underway to force Mugabe to stand down, outside the symbolic action of the march on Saturday are Zanu PF processes.
“These include the provincial meetings and resolutions, the central committee meetings and resolutions and even parliamentary processes where Zanu PF enjoys a super majority. So at the end of the day, Zanu PF will remove Mugabe granted it is a popular sentiment, but as action it’s unlikely to do any favours for the opposition.
“If anything, the Lacoste faction will have bragging rights which will resonate with some outside of Zanu PF that they did what the opposition failed to do in 18 years — to remove Mugabe.”
He said in real terms, Zanu PF odd business should not affect whether or not the country holds elections, but it probably will.
“It is important to note that Zanu PF was always going to affirm or elect their candidate for the 2018 elections at their December congress in preparation for 2018. So if they still do that but chose someone other than Mugabe why should elections not be held?
“The good thing about what has transpired so far is that things have been peaceful, if it stays that way there will be no need to reschedule or not conduct elections on account of the environment.
“What has happened is a well-managed process, to escape legalities around this being a coup, although politically it is, but it has not degenerated to chaos and has not interrupted most national functions including voter registration.
“So all things being constant, elections are still a possibility and there will be no premise to stop them. Elections can be stopped on the strength of chaos, internal turmoil, and constitutional crises and so on not on rearrangement of political party leaderships.”
Journalist Precious Shumba said the citizens will largely benefit from this military assisted transition in many respects.
“Firstly, the military revolt against their commander-in-chief was in my view a preventive measure of bloodletting in Zanu PF, which was also going to plunge the nation into a civil war. The situation on the ground had become uncertain, with all factors conducive for a civil war present.
“There was growing intolerance among the Zanu PF factions, the prices of basic commodities kept on rising, and the life of the poor was worsening by the day, particularly in the face of cash shortages, disappearing goods from shelves in most shops.
“Ultimately, even if in the short- to-medium-term, the dominant Zanu PF faction will seem to have benefited, but they would want to prove one or two things against the Mugabe rule, hence they will do everything humanely possible to address the socio-economic challenges, by probably removing from the statutes the anti-investment
Indigenisation and Empowerment Act which has significantly contributed to the flight of foreign direct investment.
“Whoever becomes their leader in government would want to prove that they had their own ideas about saving Zimbabwe,” said Shumba.
He added that within a period of three months, if they are able to restructure and revolutionarily transform some of the strategic State enterprises, they can give indications of where they can possibly take Zimbabwe.
“So once they succeed, they would have guaranteed themselves another massive victory against the opposition. But during this transition, the victors should recognise the important role played by the citizenry to legitimise their hijacking of State power with the assistance of the military.
“Without the citizens, the factions would not have been able to create the kind of atmosphere that prevailed of jubilation at the fall of Mugabe.
“This also sent the correct message to outsiders that Zimbabweans could actually unite and chart a way forward together without discrimination along political lines. That is maturity. Like all revolutions, some laws get suspended or overtaken by events.”
Shumba said the opposition will likely benefit more from the opened democratic space.
“What they might want to do to strengthen their own role in the democratisation process is to rid themselves of the entitlement mentality where they believe things will be given to them on a silver platter.
“They have to continue to articulate the aspirations of their membership otherwise this new start will find them with reduced membership given the poor performance of most of their elected representatives when it comes to representing the interests of the citizens.”
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said: “The developments are important as they are in the ultimate journey to democracy and will benefit those who have been Mugabe’s henchmen for years.
“As we have seen, there is no mention of elections in this equation because there is a feeling that the succession question has been solved. But succession was just one of the many issues that we have, including holding free and fair elections where the will of the people is respected.”
Gwede added that it could be the preservation of a one party hegemony in Zimbabwe.
“So as we rightfully celebrate Mugabe’s departure we must do so with a clear vision of the future.”