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Analyst Says Fractured Opposition Paves Election Victory for Zimbabwe's Ruling Party

President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has been in power for more than 35 years.
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has been in power for more than 35 years.

Despite complaints from many Zimbabweans about the state of the country’s economy, which most people blame on the ruling Zanu-PF party, director Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said they would still likely vote for the party in an election than any of the opposition parties because of their state of disunity and disarray.

Speaking in a recent panel discussion with chairman of the United Kingdom Zanu-PF branch, Nick Mangwana, Dr. Ruhanya, said it’s not that the ruling party itself is any better, but it holds up better than the opposition.

“I don’t think that the failures of Zanu [PF] necessarily mean that the opposition will gain,” said Dr. Ruhanya.

“Zanu can be torn apart, they can run into factions, but I can say that a faction in Zanu [PF] given the complexity between party and state, and how they hold the state through the military, they can still win the election because the opposition is not organized. The opposition is in disarray.”

Dr. Ruhanya said as long as the opposition remains this way, splintering like the once united Movement for Democratic Change, there can be no hope of a strong opposition to Zanu-PF which could force the ruling party into any kind of compromise, for the benefit of the people.

“Look at Zanu [PF] and Zapu [Zimbabwe African People’s Union]. There was a time when they formed the Patriotic Front, to confront a common enemy in Rhodesia, and they won independence, and these guys [opposition] to be frank, if they continue in their disorganizing manner and their mediocrity state as it is, Zanu [PF] can be torn apart, they can differ, but they can still win the elections because of the problems of the opposition.”

Mangwana agreed that there is more his Zanu-PF party can do to improve the standard of living in the country. He also noted his party’s objectives this year.

“We have to deliver good outcomes for our people, we have to focus not on power gains, we actually have to focus on delivering good economics to our people. That as a party is a running call that any well-meaning Zimbabwean should make.”

ZDI Director Pedzisai Ruhanya and Chair of Zanu-PF UK Branch Nick Mangwana
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Stressing his party’s various policies to improve people’s livelihoods, such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zimasset), Mangwana said though its progress may be slow, it is yielding results.

He said there are more stringent needs that as a country every citizen should be concerned about and help the party address, rather than fighting it.

“This year there is going to be very devastating drought. We need everybody focused on making sure that not even a single person would starve, and not even a single person would go hungry. We have to make sure that the jobs that are there are retained, and more are created,” Mangwana said.

“If people have got a single-mindedness of focusing on those particular goals, we’ll achieve everything we need, and 2016 can be better.”

But with the World Food Program reporting that close to 2 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid, and the appeal that it has put out for assistance, Dr. Ruhanya said Mangwana and his Zanu-PF party’s concerns are late.

“I don’t know why he [Mangwana] is saying that we will not have anyone starving, people are starving, people have no food, we already have a drought. I think that they’ve told him [Mangwana] from Harare, that the country has a huge food deficit,” said Dr. Ruhanya.

To adequately address the problem, Dr. Ruhanya said Zanu-PF and all the parties in the country should prioritize people rather than their own person needs.

“The problem we have as a country is that we have a problem of the will to power, versus the will to transformation. Everything that is happening here is about grabbing, it’s about capturing power, but transforming our institutions, transforming our economy, transforming our democratic culture, is not part of the discourse, not only in Zanu [PF] but also in the opposition,” Dr. Ruhanya said.

But aside from that Dr. Ruhanya continued, change in the country is a long stretch given the age of President Robert Mugabe, whom he said is not inspiring confidence in investors wanting to invest in the country, and not showing the leadership needed to steer the country out of its current abyss.

“President Mugabe is turning 92 in 7 weeks time,” he stressed. “Surely you cannot have international or domestic economic confidence in a 92-year-old, to do deals with a 92-year-old,” Dr. Ruhanya concluded with a laugh.

But Mangwana said he and his party have confidence in President Mugabe, whom they recently endorsed as the candidate for the 2018 elections, in which he will contest for the country’s presidency, at the age of 94.