Zimbabwe’s incumbent President Robert Mugabe is expected to chair the ruling ZANU-PF party’s politburo meeting today ahead of a possible presidential election run-off. The ruling party reportedly says it will focus on the party’s performance in last Saturday’s general elections, which the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai claims to have won decisively.
The electoral commission is constitutionally required to release the rest of the presidential results and announce a winner today, six days after Saturday’s general elections. Some political analysts say there are visible divisions with ZANU-PF, with one faction calling on President Mugabe to step down, while the other faction is reportedly urging the president to fight to the end.
From the capital Harare, University of Zimbabwe political science Professor John Makumbe tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Mugabe will not hand over power easily.
“They actually said they will be reviewing the performance of their party in this election, and I’m sure that they will be licking their wounds and say why is this happening? How did it happen? What went wrong, and so forth? But I’m hoping they will also discuss the presidential results, and try to find out why some people in Zimbabwe were voting for a ZANU-PF MP, but voted for Morgan Tsvangirai as the president,” Makumbe pointed out.
He concurs that a discussion of a possible handover would be entertained at the politburo meeting.
“I think so. I think after this devastating loss, there would be some of them with enough courage to say look isn’t it time you stepped down? Isn’t it time you allowed the party to return to its former glory by stepping down and allowing new leadership to take over and lead the party? There would be others who will still think Robert Mugabe is the godfather of ZANU-PF, who will say no, there was probably some British money and American money which were used to influence the voters, and we must fight imperialism, and the usual rhetoric,” he said.
Makumbe said there could be two schools of thought that might come up in today’s meeting.
“I think there would be some who would say we can do it, and urge President Mugabe to stand for the run-off. And there would be others, who will say there is enough egg in our face now, and there is even more on Mugabe’s face, and it would be unwise to agree to a run-off. It is probably better to just wait to fight another day,” Makumbe noted.
He said Zimbabweans are expecting the electoral commission to release the rest of the presidential results as stipulated in the constitution.
“With today, we are really six days from the voting. And by the constitution, the ZEC, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, is supposed to disclose all the other results today. And that essentially means that if they don’t, they would have violated the law. The mood in the country is very expectant of a result which would say there wouldn’t’ be a need for even a run-off. Robert Mugabe has lost the election. The nation is ready to celebrate, especially after ZANU-PF lost the majority in the lower house of parliament,” he said.