by NDABENI MLOTSHWA in Bulawayo
BULAWAYO, (CAJ News) – AS Zimbabwe’s watershed elections approach, the country’s opposition alliances are increasingly in disarray with ruling Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa widely tipped to return power.
Since Mnangagwa seized power from former strongman Robert Mugabe through military intervention in November, his message of forgiveness, peace, free, fair and credible elections saw Mnangagwa’s status rocket to highest levels thereby charming even the ones were Zimbabwe’s political foes.
Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe always viewed opposition parties as “enemies of state” while under Mnangagwa, the perception has completely changed with the new leader insisting opposition was good for checks and balances in the day-to-day operations of government.
Mnangagwa’s message has charmed not only Zimbabweans across political divide, but also the region Southern African Development Community (SADC) international community such as European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) including former colonial master Britain and United States.
Zanu PF, which has been quietly campaigning in the countryside while opposition alliance parties were still jostling for positions saw
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) plying in Zimbabwe believe Mnangagwa was on track to return power.
Addressing journalists at the country’s second largest city of Bulawayo, Women Institute Leaders for Development (WILD) director Ms Samukeliso Khumalo, said Zanu-PF was the only party visible on the ground while opposition parties were yet to campaign.
Khumalo made the announcement at the Bulawayo Press Club when she briefed journalists about the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise that has to date recorded 5.2 million eligible voters.
“The opposition political players seem to be concerned about their party problems, the alliance, the coalition which up to now they are yet to agree on candidates,” Khumalo said.
Speaking at the same event was Elections Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini, who expressed concern over the mobilisation of voters in major cities Bulawayo and Harare. Majority voters in Zimbabwe are in rural areas, who over the years voted ZANU PF for giving them land from white.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo (retired) briefed foreign embassies in Harare saying the country was ready for free, fair and credible elections this year.
“Since his inauguration last year, President Mnangagwa has committed himself to free, fair and credible elections in an environment of peace and security,” Moyo told diplomats.
On the contrary, opposition alliance has been thrown into chaos since leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been admitted in hospital in neighbouring South Africa for cancer of colon leaving his three deputies jostling for the top position.
The trio are Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe, who last weekend brew a shocker when they verbally fought on who should address the MDC Alliance rally at Huruyadzo shopping centre in Chitungwiza in place of ailing Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe has more than 70 political parties, but mainly the governing ZANU PF, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), National People’s Party (NPP), ZAPU, People’s Democratic Party (PDD), Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, ZANU Ndonga, United Parties National Alliance for Good Governance, among others.
– CAJ News