FAR from genuinely committing to reforms to usher in a democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has been using the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to regroup and recover from an all-time low culminating in President Robert Mugabe’s March 2008 first round electoral defeat by the MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Herbert Moyo/Elias Mambo
Brian Raftopolous, a senior research mentor at the University of the Western Cape, told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview last Friday Zanu PF had benefitted immensely from the coalition government, disunity between the MDC formations as well as allegations of corruption levelled against MDC officials.
Raftopolous said the MDC formations had also benefitted by gaining experience in government and understanding statecraft, although they faced challenges of dealing with their own structures as well as corruption within their ranks.
“Their biggest challenge was that they failed to work together from the beginning and even allowed themselves to be divided by Zanu PF, especially on the (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara issue,” said Raftopolous.
“Their lack of co-ordination weakened them. On the whole, Zanu PF has benefitted the most because, having lost the 2008 elections, they got a second chance to regroup, rebuild and start trying to deal with issues of their legitimacy.”
Zanu PF, Raftopolous said, has never sought genuine reforms towards a democratic dispensation but only agreed to form a coalition government with the intention of regrouping and consolidating after plunging to the nadir of legitimacy after the 2008 electoral defeat.
Raftopoulos also said Zanu PF has profited from its close connection with the security sector while in a coalition government with the MDC parties and has continued to use systematic violence, among other measures, to reassert its dominance in government and on the political landscape.
“In the framework of as highly contested political framework like the GPA, the deployment of security forces, intimidation and punishment have remained key resources in Zanu PF’s battle to retain state power,” Raftopoulos said.
Apart from violence, he said Zanu PF had capitalised on its patronage system based on the exploitation of diamonds from Marange as well as rolling out an election plan based on the controversial indigenisation programme.