Mugabe Confirmed To Run Again For President
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe, seen here in Rome, has been endorsed by nine of Zimbabwe's ten provinces to run again for president of ZANU PF and the country. The one province that has not nominated him is Midlands, which has postponed its elections because of "irregularities". With every other province having nominated Mugabe, Midlands is sure to follow their lead and fall in line behind Mugabe. It effectively means that Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters, who had hoodwinked themselves into believing that this is Mugabe last term as president and that we are in a "transitional period", will get another unfair drubbing from him at the next polls. The only hope left now is Simba Makoni and his new party
Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 November 2009
He's 85 years old and clearly in the "sunset" of his life, to use Ronald Reagan's words, but members of ZANU PF clearly think that there is nobody more qualified to be president of their party and the country than Robert Mugabe.
"The Solution", as Mugabe is referred to by Morgan Tsvangirai, has been nominated for the post of president by nine of Zimbabwe's ten provinces, which effectively means that he will be swept back into power within the long-ruling ZANU PF.
All that will be left is for his party to unleash its customary violence and he will be back in power as President of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe routinely tries to give the impression of not seeking the nomination for president of his party, saying that if they ask him to stand, he will and if they put up somebody else, then he would step aside.
In his recent interview with Christianne Amanpour of CNN, Mugabe was asked point-black whether he would run again for president and he refused to answer saying he was not going to give away such "strategic" information.
Now we know that nobody else is going to stand against the man. In the urban areas and large swathes of rural Zimbabwe, Mugabe is hugely unpopular because of the destruction of the economy under his watch.
So, is ZANU PF suicidal in nominating again?
The party is well aware that, without Mugabe, their party is finished.
Mugabe is a bad man, no doubt about that, but this is also his salvation.
The psychology of Zimbabweans is one that glorifies the badness of such people as Mugabe. You will recall that I told of an incident around the run-off, after Tsvangirai had pulled out of the race and Mugabe had become president, flying off to an African Summit soon thereafter. A guard at a premium banking hall at Miekles Hotel was in conversation with a customer and bluntly said that he now had huge respect for Mugabe.
The words he used were: "Munhu wanda bigga ndimudhara uyu manje." This was coming at the end of a conversation in which it was clear to everyone that the guard was not a Mugabe supporter.
Yet his ruthlessness in clawing his way back into power impressed this man.
It has been said over and over again by wishful-thinking MDC-Tsvangirai supporters that there is no way Mugabe is going to run again, that this was his last stand as president of the country and so on...
It is the greatest failing of the MDC-T leadership that they listen to such nonsense from desperate supporters. In the process, they fail to strategise around Mugabe and ZANU PF. The opposition party of the Prime Minister had now essentially rested on its laurels, since Morgan Tsvangirai himself has now decided that it is impossible to beat Mugabe in an election. Yes, getting power through elections is not an option that the Prime Minister now considers viable.
The question is: can he survive another drubbing by Mugabe, no matter how unfair and skewed that drubbing is?
To end, I must go back to last year's election. Since ZANU PF started ruling Zimbabwe, the party has never been shaken the way it was shaken by Simba Makoni in March. Mugabe's party was in disarray, with large numbers of their own candidates supporting Makoni against Mugabe.
If it were not for Makoni, Tsvangirai would not have done as well as he did in March. The former Finance Minister, who now has his own party, achieved what no other politician in opposition politics has managed to achieve: split ZANU PF significantly and emboldened those who opposed Mugabe to come out in droves to try and rid the country of Mugabe.
If he had not run, what we saw in June would have happened in March anyway and the result would have been the same.
With Makoni building a formidable organisation across Zimbabwe with his new party, Tsvangirai is unlikely to repeat the performance of March 2009.
Yet, like Mugabe, he is also refusing to engage the issue of leadership renewal. He clings onto power and onto the office of President of the MDC-Tsvangirai. This will be the undoing of his party.
Hope now basically lies in Makoni. As more and more people get disenchanted with an MDC that does not have what it takes to deliver a killer blow to Mugabe, Makoni's new party is emerging as the only one that is capable of significantly eroding Mugabe's support base. As a non-violent and non-confrontational man, he remains the one person who can neutralise the army effect in ZANU PF.
The future, as far as I can see, belongs not with Tsvangirai or with Mugabe, but with the former Finance Minister. Time, yet again, will prove me right.