How long, oh Lord?
Perhaps this has been the most common question that I have been asked
recent weeks. People look at me anxiously and hope for an indication
things are not as bad as they seem and that there is some hope that
long nightmare might end.
That is a tough question - perhaps because there is no answer. The
the matter is that we might wake up tomorrow morning and find that
everything has changed. The reality is however, that change is not
come very soon and it is how we manage that bit of information that
Let's just review the overall situation that confronts us right now.
It is now certain that 2007 is going to be much worse than 2006.
is going to be higher, the economy will almost certainly shrink - for
9th year in a row and the flood of economic refugees into other
will, if anything get worse. Shortages will be more widespread and this
create additional problems for those of us who live here. I predict
coming agricultural season will be much worse than in the past year.
across the board will be lower - without exception.
Then there is the situation in Zanu PF. Mr. Mugabe is no longer
effectively as Head of State - he is working very short hours and for
whatever reason is already in a state of semi retirement. He has moved
his new home in Harare and goes into the office late in the morning
returning home before midday. Few people are seeing him and it is clear
government is confused and divided - no strong central direction is
apparent. Everybody is doing his or her own thing.
Then there is the succession debate. Rumors abound about Mugabe's
plans - they all point to him stepping down and it would appear from
sources that the debate on whether to allow him to remain President
2010 has been quashed. It would appear to us that he is now committed
retirement in March 2008, if not sooner. A recurrent Zanu PF nightmare
that he might become incapacitated sooner than March 2008, leaving Zanu
unprepared for the succession battles that will follow.
If we look at the four likely candidates right now they do not look
hopeful! Munangagwa is not well and probably could not take the strain
Presidential election and the aftermath. Vice President Mujuru is
as a bit of a lame duck - lacking the capacity to operate as President
win an election. Simba Makoni is a lightweight who does not command
support in the rank and file although he has the support of Mr. Mujuru
what that is worth. Mugabe does not trust him and probably would block
That leaves Gideon Gono - the one man goon show who has been running
Reserve Bank for the past few years and seems no closer to
anything other than his masters wishes. That could get him the job - he
the effective Prime Minister for Mugabe at present and clearly has his
and backing. However Gono does not have support within Zanu PF and I am
sure if that is a good or a bad thing. It probably makes little
it is Mugabe's mantle that matters.
And that brings us to the state of Zanu PF itself. I sometimes wonder
actually exists anymore - as a political party that is. The gravy train
certainly exists and is still puffing its way through our remaining
resources and capacity. The people who operate and live on the State,
overblown leeches, would call themselves Zanu PF but the day that Zanu
power and the gravy train is derailed, they will run so far from the
label that it will be difficult to identify their political origins
week or so. In my view if Zanu were to loose power tomorrow, they would
disintegrate and cease to exist as an effective political force within
Certainly the one thing we can all agree to is that this government
have absolutely no idea as to how to get out of the hole they have dug
themselves over the past 26 years. As Mugabe said yesterday - there are
certain things that are not open to negotiation to Zanu PF. These are
very things that are blocking progress and that will ultimately destroy
Then there is the opposition - still popular with the ordinary person
street, but unable to set in motion an effective campaign to unseat
and replace it with a new and effective government. It now seems
that mass action will be the instrument of change that was once hoped.
one will fund mass action and it cannot be mounted without resources.
same time the State has shown itself to be willing to crush any sign of
dissent. Since we will never take up arms again - that rules out those
options for regime change.
So we must now wait - either for Mr. Mugabe to become incapacitated for
reason or another (there are persistent reports of health problems) or
March 2008 when he might step down and a candidate for Zanu PF will
run for President.
Any election that does not include Mr. Mugabe will be a totally
one to an election that did incorporate him as a candidate. For a start
new candidate will have none of his stature as one of the 'strong men
Africa' and 'liberation war hero'. Secondly, Zanu PF has always
be a democratic institution and pretended to play the democratic game
elections here. This exposes them to the threat of an electoral loss
even if they do maintain the machinery that gave them victory in 2000,
and 2005, there is no guarantee that it will work again.
So we may have to just sit tight and wait - time is on our side in this
situation, Zanu PF has nowhere to hide at present - they created this
and must live in it and bear responsibility for it in full. For the
opposition - perhaps it is time we persuaded the Broad Alliance to put
single candidate and to begin now working on controlling the vote and
count in the forthcoming presidential election. If we play our cards
we could win that election and then treat the period up to the June
election as a transition with a new constitution and the restoration of
rule of law in the interim as principle objectives. Mugabe said this
that he sees no reason to change the constitution - well lets hoist him
that petard and see how he likes it under an Alliance President with
present powers in April 2008.
I think we can hold out until then.
Bulawayo, 28th October 2006