By Sibanengi Dube
The election equation in Zimbabwe is a quadratic one. Everything is equals to zero just like a quadratic equation. None of the people entrusted with running, participating and conducting elections are interested in having them this year or in the near future.
I doubt if there is anyone who expects elections to be held in 2013 despite pronouncements by Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Arthur Mutambara.
Whatever the political principals announced recently, what is clear is that their utterances are at variance with reality. The reality is that Mugabe is not interested in elections.
For the obvious reason that he understands clearly that he will lose the elections to Tsvangirai. It is in his best interest to infinitely postpone or delay elections. He has the legitimate power, capacity and shenanigans to delay elections.
He is however supposed to make the correct noise by pretending to be preparing for elections. It is politically correct for him to be mouthing about elections at every corner, turn and event even though he might not have any interest in whatever he spews.
Mugabe is not that stupid to surrender power to his counter adversary. He is well informed by his goons that Tsvangirai will beat him hands down if elections were to be held anytime soon.
Mugabe would not be waylaid in a rush to his own political graveyard by embracing early elections. Only a fool would look forward to a trip to hell. Bob would rather hang-on to the residual legitimacy which was thrown at him by the government of national unity.
Chances are high that Baba VaChatunga would rather opt for another government of national unity with Tsvangirai without going for elections. Mugabe’s lieutenants like Emmerson Mnangagwa have abandoned all pretence and are openly threatening to usurp power if Tsvangirai wins the elections.
So under such circumstances, why will Zanu PF catalyse its own demise by accepting to be led to a slaughter house which is visibly packed with sharpened butcher knives? Polling stations are slaughter houses for Zanu PF.
The former ruling party would rather be dragged to polling stations in a comatose state. Their only option is to delay elections by disrupting any process that might lead them to end up in a ballot box.
And they are doing exactly that. The referendum process is an exercise in futility. This process is likely to drag on indefinitely as Zanu PF throws in spanners in the works.
Soldiers clutching rifles are already roaming the countryside in Zimbabwe. The MDC boss Tsvangirai might be the darling of the masses but he knows very well that his fate is unknown during and after elections.
There is a high possibility that he might win elections but fail to take over power like before. And worse-still he might not even get the premiership.
So it is clear that Tsvangirai might be comfortable with the current status quo than venturing into election processes that are decorated with uncertainties and unknowns.
In a game of politics one does not off-set the balances of power which he is part of. Tsvangirai knows that Zanu PF is more dangerous and effective than before because of liquid cash sourced from diamonds.
The MDC leadership is very much aware that they might not wholly survive honey-traps which Zanu PF has been snaring them with from the inception of the government of national unity.
Welshman Ncube knows very well that the number of his MPs will dwindle to zero in the next coming elections. Professor Ncube is aware that he might not be lucky again to sneak back into Parliament through a back-door like before.
Ncube bounced back into parliament through a GNU constitutional provision which made it possible for election losers to be admitted as MPs.
So such kind of a Principal who is standing on a slippery ground would not embrace elections whose results are destined to spell doom for his political career. There is no doubt that he was one of the architects of the constitutional provision.
So embracing elections will be tantamount to early acceptance of his own political coffin.
Arthur Mutambara is worse. He is in a catch 22 situation. Who will vote for Mutambara anyway? Whose interests is Mutambara representing in the GNU? The masses? No. MDC-N? No. Mugabe? Most probably. So why will the Robotics Professor go for elections?
The masses are scared of elections. Election time means death, torture and arrests to the masses of Zimbabwe. Zanu PF’s only practical means of survival is to cow the electorate into line.
They are not about to drop their only means of survival. It would be absurd for anyone to expect Zanu PF to spare the rod. Nothing has changed on the ground.
Zanu PF still has the capacity to mobilise and arm its thugs. Members of the electorate would rather enjoy relative peace than to be subjected to thorough beatings.
Sibanengi Dube is a former student leader who later became a journalist in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has also previously served as MDC-T spokesman in South Africa.