Zanu PF firmly holds the keys to Zimbabwe`s economic freedom. But first things first, the comrades gotta eat.
That Zimbabwe`s current state, economic or otherwise is directly linked to the state of affairs at the political top goes without saying. President Mugabe`s government has presided over Zimbabwe`s declining economic fortunes, and that is just the fact. Zanu PF sympathisers will lay the blame squarely on sanctions imposed by the western bloc of countries at the turn of the new millennium. On the other hand, backers of the opposition will point to misrule, corruption and lack of clear strategic policy direction as being the root causes of the country`s.
What is clear however, regardless of one`s personal political persuasion is that, how Zimbabwe`s economy is going to turn out in the coming years, is down to how Zanu PF will handle its internal party politics. It would be utterly naïve, to think that the economy will be top of mind for policy makers read (Zanu PF brains trust) before their personal interests are cemented in the ongoing party power struggles. This unfortunately is the curse of political liberation movements in Africa; current events in South Africa`s African National Congress (ANC) being a case in point.
But why is this so?
Will the real opposition please stand up!
For all intents and purposes, Zimbabwe currently has no opposition which can match Zanu PF pound for pound. This is rather unfortunate given the precarious situation Zanu PF finds itself in, with power fights giving birth to factions, which would in theory have given opportunity for a switched-on and organized opposition party, room to outmaneuver the ruling party. The main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) is in a rut of sorts, with its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been the leading light of the party since its formation ailing as he battles colon cancer. It is difficult to try to imagine someone rising from his party, and garnering the support that he himself has enjoyed over the years. For far too long, the MDC has been associated with Tsvangirai to the point that as a way of differentiating itself from the other MDC party offshoots, it is officially known as MDC-T (Tsvangirai), and herein lies the broader problem besieging Zimbabwe.
The political landscape in Zimbabwe has been personalized so much so, that it is unfathomable to picture a Zanu PF without Robert Mugabe, or a Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn party without Dr. Simba Makoni for instance. Such is the unbridled extent of this unfortunate practice that in the ruling Zanu PF for example, any talk of succession is considered treasonous and anyone who dares talk about that subject is branded a terrorist notwithstanding that the man at the helm is 92, and is staring his own immortality right in the eyeball. Be that as it may, whatever happens to Morgan Tsvangirai, he has effectively endorsed his successor, in Nelson Chamisa, a vibrant and charismatic emerging gun, who has evidently held his own in the political ring from his time as a minister during Government of National Unity. His position is not all that secure though, given that the MDC-T has three Vice Presidents all of whom will be angling to secure the party`s top seat in the post Morgan Tsvangirai era. Chamisa`s age may make it a difficult for the vast majority of opposition party supporters to rally behind him, although general consensus holds that he indeed is the future of the party. This might leave the door open for Elias Mudzuri, a respected opposition official who has previously served as Harare mayor to take the driver`s seat of the MDC going forward. Prospects for Thokozani Khupe do not look all that great, and asserting that she commands grassroots support is a fallacy that is wobbly at best.
Finding a well-respected suitable candidate is the least of the MDC-T`s worries however. Beyond that, the party has to reconsider its strategic pitch to the nation`s electorate. If history has taught us anything, it is that regardless from which vantage point you look at it from, Zanu PF has consistently outwitted the MDC-T even in 2008, when the opposition had a more than realistic chance of getting into power. For a while now, the MDC-T has lost relevancy in the broader national context, and this is something they will have to change forthwith. If the suits at Harvest House – the MDC-T`s national party headquarters where to have a forthright introspection of the state of their party, it would be very apparent that as is, they stand absolutely no chance in the 2018 national elections. Even with talk of a National Transitional Authority heading into the 2017-18 election-cycle, to the sober minded observer, it is difficult to picture Zanu PF losing the next general elections. Fact!
Effectively, this means Zimbabwe`s hope for economic salvation lies in Zanu PF itself and whether it can promptly reform itself, and focus all its efforts of halting the economic free-fall the country has been witnessing. Now whether this can indeed happen (Zanu PF reforming itself) is anybody`s guess at the moment. But what is irrefutable is that, objectively looking at the facts on the ground, none but Zanu PF holds the keys to Zimbabwe`s economic freedom. It is not the International Monetary Fund/World Bank, African Development Bank or any such other like institution, neither is it in the hands of any local opposition party nor Zanu PF`s peers like the ANC to hold it to account and force it to reform.
This is the first in a series of essays on Zimbabwe`s current political and economic state and is intended for anyone seeking a deeper understanding into the forces at play in the country. The writer is affiliated to no political party in Zimbabwe and did not receive any sponsorship from any institution to carry out this work.