Mnangagwa to benefit most from early poll says SA think tank


Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is likely to benefit most from an early poll because an immediate election would allow the reconfiguration of parliament which could elevate him to the post of deputy vice-president, a South African based think-tank, Idasa, says. 

Idasa, which used to stand for Institute for Democracy in South Africa but has been changed to Institute for Democracy in Africa, says in its report entitled: Zimbabwe: Risk analysis and scenario mapping for 2011, Mnangagwa is widely believed to be the only person who has the ability to guarantee the security and interests of the state military and security apparatus; a key factor in understanding the military’s influential meddling in the country’s electoral process.

His main rival vice-President Joyce Mujuru and her husband Solomon prefer delayed elections and are exploiting close links with members of the business community, many of whom are Mujuru loyalists, Idasa says.

“It is in their interests to maintain the inclusive government and not hold elections,” Idasa says. “They may also gain the support of many MPs who also do not want elections in 2011 as their terms would be cut short.”

President Robert Mugabe had called for elections by June this year saying he is fed up with the petty squabbles with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with whom he entered into an inclusive government in February 2009.

Chief mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, while working on a “road map” for elections, is under pressure to ensure that this time Zimbabwe has free, fair and credible elections.

Already a referendum on the new constitution which should be drafted before any elections will not be held any time before September.

Idasa says although he constitutional committee held more than 4 000 meetings with 700 000 Zimbabweans the final version of the constitution may be a negotiated document between the key political parties the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front “with the concerns of the people taking a back seat”.

It says the main concern is that the police and military seem to have taken over.

“Zimbabwe is embroiled in a low-intensity conflict. The current power-sharing dispensation is untenable and has failed to achieve the desired and necessary institutional transformation that would ensure democratisation of the state,” Idasa says.

“South Africa is the guarantor of the GPA. Through shuttle diplomacy and pressure on the three principal parties, the Zuma presidency has kept the inclusive government from collapse. South Africa is pushing the principal parties to agree to an election “road map” that will pave the way for credible elections. Reforms to be included are the drafting and ratification of a new constitution and a revised and updated voters’ roll, amongst others. Yet, major “unknowns” could derail the process, including an irascible President Robert Mugabe and an increasingly empowered and emboldened security sector.”

President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara signed a Global Political Agreement in September 2008 paving the way for the inclusive government.

Idasa says human rights defenders and political opposition continue to be threatened by arbitrary arrest and detention, disappearances and state-sponsored violence.

“Police generally employ considerable force and engage in torture. Increasing militarisation of public and private space is a worrying trend. Despite greater MDC oversight and international pressure, ZANU-PF and the security sector have embarked on campaigns of intimidation and violence, targeting the general population, to entrench constant fear and uncertainty ahead of the imminent elections.”

It says the key threats to democracy and human rights include:

  • • State repression of political and economic opposition;
  • • Increasing militarisation of public and private space;
  • • Threats of political violence and intimidation;
  • • Insufficient electoral reforms;
  • • A prejudiced and ineffective judiciary and disregard for the rule of law;
  • • The inability of civil society to advocate for human rights;
  • • A lack of regional and international pressure and oversight to ensure compliance with the GPA

“The political environment will remain fragile and highly susceptible to both internal and external forces and pressures, making it difficult to strategise. Concerted regional and international pressure on the principal parties offers the best chance to keep the parties on a path toward greater stability and democratisation, however this has not happened. What can be stated with certainty is that Zimbabwe’s current power-sharing paradigm is no longer able to carry the transition forward and is unlikely to last beyond 2011,” Idasa concludes.

Zimbabwe: Risk analysis and scenario mapping for 20011 [complete report]


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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