ZANU PF will hold its annual conference in Mutare from December 15 to 18 and over the past few weeks we have witnessed a needless stampede by the party structures to endorse the octogenarian President Robert Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate in the harmonised elections he wants by June next year.
The rush is unnecessary because one of the reasons the conference has been convened is simply to rubber-stamp the current party first secretary as presidential candidate. No challenges to Mugabe’s throne will be permissible during the so-often choreographed talk shop. It’s all routine and utterly predictable!
There is no doubt that Zanu PF is currently in limbo and that is why Mugabe has roped in serving members of the army to restructure the party and campaign for it.
Zanu PF spin doctors have tried and failed to sell us the dummy that the party was united behind Mugabe when it is evidently clear that the majority of its members are opposed to the veteran leader’s demand for elections next year.
This is precisely because Mugabe wants elections for his own personal interest, not for the good of his party or that of the nation. Mugabe wants elections to resolve his differences with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and also to ensure he becomes life president. His indefatigable desire to remain in power is nothing short of astounding. A few years ago he unsuccessfully attempted to extend his rule to 2010 without facing an election through a constitutional amendment, but the move was blocked by his party. Now we see that some zealots have been mobilised to push for Mugabe to be life president.
As a nation we cannot afford to have elections merely to satisfy an individual’s personal interests. If Zanu PF hopes to salvage anything out of their morbid legacy they should have the guts at the conference to stop the 86-year-old leader from pursuing his unhelpful dream. Mugabe should never be allowed to turn the country into a personal fiefdom.
Zanu PF MPs oppose the elections, questioning why Mugabe should drag them to the next election before their terms are through. They rightly argue that it was Mugabe’s election that was disputed, not theirs. Senior members of the party have privately opposed the proposed elections and wondered why Mugabe was optimistic that he and Zanu PF will win given the shambolic state the party is in.
Besides Mugabe, Vice-President John Nkomo last week joined the election bandwagon and shockingly declared that Zanu PF had made a blunder by signing the GPA and forming an inclusive government with the two formations of the MDC.
That Nkomo has forgotten that Mugabe’s government had no legitimacy until February 13 last year when the inclusive government was incepted is very instructive. After the bloody June 27 2009 one-man presidential election run-off, Mugabe had legal, not political legitimacy. This is why the African Union summit in Egypt prompted Mugabe to form a government of national unity with Tsvangirai.
It is people like Nkomo who have not contested elections for the past 10 years who wrongly advise Mugabe that polls should be held next year. Nkomo has not contested an election in the guise that he was a national leader, but his co-Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Mugabe have contested elections since 1980. Are they not also national leaders?
We hope that if elections go ahead irrespective of logic and reason, Nkomo will this time around subject himself to an election and see if the electorate wants him!