FOLLOWING the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s endorsement of ZANU-PF’s electoral victory at the weekend, the question of whether the party would deliver on its election promises has taken centre stage.
President Robert Mugabe, the ZANU-PF leader, will be sworn in today for a new five-year term as attempts by his main rival, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) to push for a poll re-run are now dead in the water.
Tsvangirai withdrew his petition before the Constitutional Court, citing the failure by the Electoral Court to furnish him with election materials pertaining to the July 31 poll that he insists was rigged.
The court case and an appeal to SADC were meant to reverse his crushing poll defeat, the worst since he ventured into politics in 1999.
The turn of events has been a bitter pill to swallow for the MDC-T family.
But there are others in the MDC-T who believe the party might stand a good chance in the 2018 election. This group wants the party to quickly move on for the sake of fighting another day.
In terms of the priorities for this group, the MDC-T should mobilise its support base; this time without the trappings of power that soiled the party’s image during its days in the inclusive government. The MDC-T was particularly bruised by corruption which was rampant in local authorities that were under its dominion.
ZANU-PF is basking in glory following its convincing victory.
Unlike in the previous elections when its leadership suffered headaches of forming a new government with the question of legitimacy hovering over their heads, the July 31 election has been endorsed by SADC and the African Union (AU), the guarantors of the inclusive government.
It was ZANU-PF’s contested legitimacy that followed the 2008 presidential run-off which forced President Mugabe to enter into a unity government with MDC formations.
This week, political analysts said SADC’s endorsement of ZANU-PF’s victory, without doubt gives President Mugabe and his party legitimacy, particularly in Africa as the AU is mainly guided by the regional body on matters concerning southern Africa.
Political analyst, Ricky Mukonza, said SADC’s endorsement of the poll puts the MDC-T in a tricky situation. The pronouncements by SADC that the elections were peaceful and free, and represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe, are of significance as SADC had observers on the ground.
“This puts MDC-T in a catch 22 situation as the only way out is working with the European Union and the United States, thus confirming the ZANU PF propagated view that they are agents of the West,” said Mukonza.
But with ZANU-PF having a full mandate derived from its landslide victory, what does the future hold for Zimbabwe?
President Mugabe has said his party’s election promises would be delivered.
In its election manifesto, ZANU-PF promised to scale up the indigenisation programme, consolidate the participation of locals in agriculture, roll out massive housing and social projects, among other initiatives.
The party said it would inject US$2 billion in agriculture in addition to committing a further US$3 billion into public infrastructure rehabilitation.
ZANU-PF said its new government would channel US$300 million into small enterprises and sell off non performing State firms to unlock US$7,6 billion.
To pacify restive youths, the party said it would create 2, 5 million jobs within five years.
ZANU-PF’s election trump card, the indigenisation drive, is expected to unlock US$1, 8 trillion into locals’ coffers and drive annual Gross Domestic Product growth close to 10 percent by 2018, from the current 4, 4 percent.
Rashweat Mukundu, a political analyst, said ZANU-PF might falter on its promises.
“ZANU- PF has set itself a tall order in its manifesto, and as we can see, citizens are increasingly drawn to deliverables and ZANU-PF will struggle to fulfill what it promised. ZANU-PF is going to make mistakes along the way,” said Mukundu.
Renowned human rights lawyer, Arnold Tsunga who won the Chikanga-Dangamvura seat on the MDC-T ticket, said Zimbabweans have to brace themselves for misgovernance that he said would go on for another five years.
Tsunga said ZANU-PF was incapable of suddenly introducing good governance and respecting the principle of separation of powers.
During the life of the inclusive government, ZANU-PF sabotaged efforts aimed at granting Zimbabweans more civil liberties by opposing the amendment of restrictive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act; the entrenchment of media reforms as well as granting Zimbabweans domiciled in foreign countries the right to vote among others.
“It (ZANU-PF) is likely to stick to its culture and policy of corruption and patronage, discrimination and expropriation of assets of disliked people without compensation, hatred and violence, arbitrary arrests, detentions and torture,” said Tsunga.
“Undermining of the institutions of protection (the police, the army, the intelligence, the judiciary and constitutional commissions), siphoning of wealth arising from strategic national assets including diamonds and precious metals with the assistance of foreign mainly eastern governments that don’t care about the grassroots Zimbabweans but are cozy to the ZANU-PF leadership whom they use as instruments for primitive extraction of our wealth and resources.”
The top human rights lawyer said such a policy and culture of governance would make it difficult for ZANU-PF to have a peaceful five year run to 2018 and predictably they might look for scapegoats and terrorise the opposition and all those who will stand up to defend the country’s economic and real sovereignty.
“It will be a difficult five years ironically for ZANU-PF and all of us,” added Tsunga.
But ZANU-PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, dismissed skeptics adding that the issue of reforms would be addressed if the need arises.
“If there are any reforms that are needed the party will look into it and make the reforms that are necessary,” said Gumbo.