Zimbabwe’s opposition political parties are reportedly planning to form an alliance against incumbent President Robert Mugabe if Saturday’s general election is forced into a run-off. There is a reported general understanding among the opposition parties to come together and present a united front if the elections turn into a run-off. But supporters of the Mugabe-led ZANU-PF party dismissed the opposition’s plan as weak, promising a first round landslide victory. Some political analysts say the opposition’s move to form an alliance might be too little too late, since, they claim the rigging machinery of the ruling party is overwhelming.
Hernon Hanekom is a current affairs political analyst. From Cape Town in South Africa he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition would find it tough in Saturday’s elections.
“Personally, I think they should have formed that alliance long time ago. Noting plays more in the hands of the Mugabe regime than to have a divided opposition. I’m not saying that it will materialize that a second presidential round might be called for. That is, if the winning candidate does not poll more than 50% of the votes, in the second round, then of course, I’m quite sure that Makoni (former Finance minister) and Tsvangirai (main opposition leader) will throw their forces together. They will make a compromise and one of the two will be the candidate, should such a second round take place,” Hanekom noted.
He said, however, it would be fascinating to note what the political atmosphere would be if the opposition party wins this Saturday’s elections.
“When such second round takes place and the opposition wins the position of president, it would be interesting to see what will take place because I do have a very strong feeling that ZANU-PF will still be the majority in parliament. And I also have a feeling that there may be a low voter turnout,” he said.
Hanekom said allegations of the government’s rigging machinery are no news.
“What has happened in past elections as well that rigging of the election, like overprinting of ballot papers, those things have all happened in the past and it’s nothing new now. The big thing is where the opposition do feel that there are strong cases, and they have the evidence to prove it to go to court to have the particular constituency election annulled and call for a re-election. But we also know that the courts in Zimbabwe, like the defense force, like the police, have become an apparatus of the ruling party, and not of the state,” Hanekom pointed out.
He urged election observers to be fair in their assessment on Saturday’s elections.
Well they only have a choice of one of two roles. They can play an honest role and give an honest assessment and not a partisan assessment like many of them did during the last elections. Or they must pack up and leave and say under these circumstances, there is no level ground. There cannot be free and fair elections, which I doubt will happen,” he said.