Rough ride after polls

WHATEVER the outcome of Wednesday’s general elections, this was a formidable mission for President Robert Mugabe’s opponents who were up against a ruthless and experienced political machine.

The Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Firstly, we had Tobaiwa Mudede with his masterful impression of how to mismanage the electoral roll. His dexterity saw a number of Rhodesian Front ministers resuscitated, while more recent politicians were denied access to the electronic version of the roll.

Meanwhile, the military were giving us the benefit of their one-dimensional political views while the party they sought to promote declined to introduce the reforms envisaged in the elections roadmap.

Indeed, Zanu PF saw the constitution-making exercise as designed to block reforms of any significance. The result was a fudge instead of a fanfare.

On that basis, next Wednesday’s elections will be flawed from the outset. It is already disputed. Much that needed to be done has not been done, while many things that didn’t need to be done have been done.

If Mugabe wins, indigenisation which has done so much damage to the economy will be pursued with a vengeance, scaring off any possible investors. The proceeds of the forthcoming raid on the banks will be used to fund land depredations.

The president has even spoken of seizing wildlife conservancies to provide more available land. The consequences will be too ghastly to contemplate as events in the Save Conservancy show.

But more generally we will witness a further downturn in the economy if Zanu PF wins with a landslide. There could indeed be a landslide but maybe Mugabe will lie beneath it.

If he wins the current economic stability will be jeopardised. Instead there will be decline with the old guard back to inflict more damage.

Zanu PF is already proposing populist measures such as cancellation of municipal rates arrears and the consequences will come back to haunt us. This is misrule writ large, typical of Mugabe.

The public media, which was supposed to provide different parties a platform to air their views and explain their manifestos, has been turned into a Zanu PF propaganda mouthpiece in defence of a cabal of politicians with an alarming record of failure.

Economists have said the scale of the likely decline will take us back to the era before 1997. The situation is made worse by the incompetence of the MDC-T and their weak response to the challenge facing us. Morgan Tsvangirai woke up very late to the threat and has been trying to make up for lost time.

We need dynamic leadership but are unlikely to get it whoever wins. No matter what his shortcomings, Tsvangirai will at least take Zimbabwe forward one way or another.

The last thing Zimbabwe needs are failed rulers who don’t understand the need to get out of the way so a younger generation can take charge. Mugabe is a one-man disaster whose populist demagoguery has inflicted untold damage as we shall soon see if he wins.