“Zvatinoona muchidhadhaira taifunga kuti makarongeka!” This is what a senior official of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is reported to have told his Movement for Democratic Party counterpart when ZANU-PF started demanding that elections be held no later than 2011 and the MDC insisted that no date should be fixed until all the issues outstanding in the Global Political Agreement had been implemented.
During the first 15 months of the signing of the GPA the MDC, or perhaps the media speaking on behalf of the MDC, had been insisting that elections should be held within the first half of 2010 and complained that ZANU-PF was deliberately delaying the elections to buy time because the party was not ready after its defeat in the disputed 2008 elections.
This is what prompted the ZANU-PF official to say that he had thought that the MDC was ready for elections any time and was now surprised that they were not ready and were backtracking.
It is not clear whether ZANU-PF is ready for the elections or not but when the MDC started backtracking ZANU-PF started insisting that elections must be held as soon as possible because it was no longer able to work with the MDC
Though the drafting of the constitution and the referendum appeared to be the key factors that would determine when elections could be held, it now appears there is more on the table. And it appears that it is the MDC, which won more parliamentary seats in 2008 and whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round in the presidential elections, that is back-pedalling.
The MDC seems to have the support of an activist media that is not looking at all the issues in their proper perspective. According to the MDC the major outstanding issues in the GPA appear only to be the party’s demands that the governor of the central bank and attorney general be sacked.
The issue of sanctions has been trivialised yet the GPA clearly states that they must be lifted to pave way for the country’s recovery.
The GPA clearly states that: “Desirous and committed to bringing to an end the fall in the standards of living of our people, the Parties hereby agree:-
- (a) to endorse the SADC resolution on sanctions concerning Zimbabwe;
- (b) that all forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted in order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe; and
- (c) commit themselves to working together in re-engaging the international community with a view to bringing to an end the country’s international isolation.”
The lifting of sanctions is something that neither the MDC nor ZANU-PF has control over, yet it is one of the outstanding issues in the GPA. ZANU-PF has refused to yield any further ground on the other issues until the question of sanctions has been addressed.
The party is now focussing on elections and wants them this year. ZANU-PF demands have prompted British financial paper the Financial Times, to opine that the political situation in Zimbabwe is “getting uglier by the day”.
But it is the MDC and the West that is panicking, not ZANU-PF. If anything, ZANU-PF now seems to be back in control and is calling the shots. It is now behaving like the ruling party with the MDC in opposition.
But as the Financial Times said, ZANU-PF might only be trying to get concessions from the MDC and is not likely to defy the Southern African Development Community or South African President Jacob Zuma.
“In the short-term, however,” the British paper said. “political noise will dominate the scene, with ZNU-PF consumed with a political game to extract concessions. And Mugabe, as we all know, is a sporting man.”