A cross section of Zimbabweans have reportedly lost confidence in the country’s electoral commission after both the opposition and the ruling party filed law suits challenging the results of the March 29 parliamentary election. The ruling ZANU-PF party says it is dissatisfied with the results, which led to ZANU-PF losing its parliamentary majority for the first time since the country’s independence. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is also challenging the parliamentary results. Some political analysts say the controversy surrounding the results of the parliamentary elections favor incumbent President Robert Mugabe since it enables him to continue with his 28-year rule.
John Makumbe is a political science professor with the University of Zimbabwe. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition is dancing to the tune of the ruling party.
“I think this is really unfortunate because while the MDC has a case in the sense that the figures released do not really tally with the figures that were displaced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) throughout the country, there is a case where they should challenge results. But we know the way the court system works in Zimbabwe it is going to take forever for the court to settle that matter. And until the court settles the matter, Robert Mugabe will be running the country or running it down,” Makumbe noted.
He said the chances of the opposition MDC winning a run-off election would be a Herculean task.
“It will be very difficult for them to win the run-off because the people have been thoroughly intimidated, a lot of people have been displaced, they would not be in their constituencies, the political field is grossly uneven, and ZANU-PF is using all this extra time to rig the elections because now it knows if MDC agrees to run, it knows the names of the people who would be on the ballot box. And so they are already marking their ballot papers for Mugabe. And so they are likely to rig this election in over drive really. So, MDC has little chance winning this run-off,” he said.
Makumbe said President Mugabe would not listen to envoys sent by regional leaders to try and mediate the political impasse that ensued after the March 29 disputed elections.
“Mugabe will not pay much attention to these people. He will give them a lecture on liberation politics. He will talk for something like three to four hours about his contribution to liberating this country, and he would ran on and on about British and American imperialism, a lot of rubbish. Nothing of what they would say would make him change his course of action,” Makumbe pointed out.
He said the woes of ordinary Zimbabweans would significantly get worse if there is no change in the country’s leadership.
“Definitely if Mugabe would still be in charge of this country the economic malaise will continue. The meltdown will get worse and unemployment reach almost 100 percent, and we are already looking at a situation where the rate of inflation is approaching 200,000 percent. And while Mugabe is in office, nothing is going to improve. There will be no economic turnaround,” he said.