One of Zimbabwe’s most prominent political affairs commentators could be sidelined in the months ahead, having announced his intentions to run for a seat in parliament in the forthcoming but as yet unscheduled elections. But Professor John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe said he felt it was time for him to "walk the talk."
Makumbe, long an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe and his former ruling ZANU-PF party, will be running for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in national elections expected next year.
He declared his candidacy at a September 10 MDC celebration of its 12th anniversary. Makumbe will contest the Buhera West seat of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, who has said wants to return to private law practice.
Makumbe told VOA reporter Violet Gonda that Zimbabwe has been ruined and turned into ashes by ZANU-PF and he believes the MDC-T can only do better.
“The way this country has been misgoverned, any idiot can do better if they take over from ZANU-PF”, Makumbe declared.
Critics said the move proves Makumbe was always partisan in his analysis – but the professor said he makes no apologies for having opinions.
“It is fiction to think that academics are neutral politically. There is always a preferred side particularly in a country like Zimbabwe where you actually have a highly polarized society. Whether people admit it or not everyone is either ZANU PF or MDC-T.”
Political commentator Psychology Maziwisa said now that Makumbe has declared his intentions, he can no longer be regarded as an unbiased commentator.