By Dumisani Nkomo
It is shocking that 31 years after independence Zanu PF is unable and unwilling to provide an alternative candidate to contest for the leadership of Zimbabwe.
This is one of the reasons why Zanu PF will be defeated in the next harmonised elections. Some of the reasons why it will lose are as follows:
Lack of a viable candidate
The fact that President Mugabe should make way for younger leaders has become obvious even in Zanu PF itself as evidenced by the WikiLeaks exposures in which various party officials confided in American diplomats that Mugabe needed to go if the country was to move forward.
For most Zimbabweans and the international community Mugabe has come to personify and symbolise the Zimbabwean crisis and given free choice Zimbabweans will vote Mugabe out.
The 2008 experience
The March 2008 elections gave Zimbabweans the confidence that Zanu PF and President Mugabe can indeed be defeated in elections after he was walloped by Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential elections.
For decades people had come to believe that Mugabe and Zanu PF were invincible. The people had, of course, tasted victory in the 2000 referendum.
The fact that Mugabe was beaten comprehensively even in Zanu PF traditional strongholds such as Masvingo, Manicaland and parts of Mashonaland East has given people the hope that, indeed, Zanu PF can be defeated. The March 2008 result may thus inspire people to complete the process of change.
The never-again syndrome
Zimbabweans do not want to go back to the pre-2009 period when Zanu PF single-handedly presided over the demise, cremation and burial of the economy which saw hardworking citizens scrounging around for the most basic commodities such as bread, milk and maize meal.
Zimbabweans do not want to go through the trauma of shortages of fuel, water and even money which they underwent especially during the 2006 — 2008 period when most of the population was pauperised by Zanu PF’s populist policies.
Sanctions mantra failure
Zanu PF’s sanctions propaganda will backfire badly because people may want to vote for political parties or leaders who can navigate the country out of the so-called “illegal sanctions”.
Whether the sanctions are legal or not, or whether they are targetted measures or not or whether they exist or not, may become immaterial because the electorate will want a government which is able to solve their problems not a government which blames the West or sanctions for its failures.
It is like a parent who comes home every day without bread and other daily provisions blaming the neighbours or unemployment for the plight of the children. The sanctions mantra will thus be suicidal for Zanu PF in the next elections.
Zanu PF will lose because of other reasons such as the boomerang effect of violence and repression which the people will reject through the secrecy of the vote.
State control of the public media will have minimal effect as most Zimbabweans no longer watch or listen to the ZBC which has become an appendage of the former ruling party. Most people watch South African television and listen to short wave radio even in the most remote rural areas.
The Zanu PF regime also authored and engineered record-breaking economic inflation, the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar, mass unemployment and the demise of the productive sector. What could they possibly offer now?
Zanu PF should start preparing for a future as an opposition party and at best strategise how they can win the 2018 elections after losing the 2013 elections.