Zimbabweans have reportedly expressed skepticism after President Robert Mugabe’s government stated it would accept the results of the upcoming election results if the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change wins. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is a member of Mugabe’s cabinet and the chief election agent of the ruling ZANU-PF party reportedly, said Mugabe would respect the wish of Zimbabweans if the opposition wins. But some political analysts say the government’s rhetoric does not match the escalating violence against those perceived as supporters of the opposition party.
The opposition MDC is calling for international peacekeepers to help stop the ongoing violence against its partisans ahead of the election run-off. The MDC accuses the Mugabe government of using violence to intimidate its supporters to ensure the government’s victory. John Makumbe is a political science professor at the university of Zimbabwe. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government is putting structures in place to ensure its success in the run-off.
“I think it is a clear sign that ZANU-PF intends to manipulate the election results. I think that is not really a greater statement at all. It is not a pragmatic statement because we can see that they are making all the plans for resisting whatever, which will help make Mugabe win,” Makumbe pointed out.
He said Zimbabweans are skeptical about the statement coming from the government that incumbent President Mugabe would accept defeat if the opposition wins the election run-off.
“Zimbabweans will never accept that statement, especially coming as it did from Emerson Mnangagwa, whom we know is canvassing for the position of Mugabe himself, and he basically depicts ZANU-PF in power. And so Zimbabweans will not take that statement with any substance at all. But they know that it is all about planning to win at all cost,” he said.
Makumbe said the opposition MDC stands a good chance of making a significant impact in next month’s presidential election run-off.
“People of Zimbabwe are very determined that they have to put an end to the Mugabe era and they are going to endure the hardships, the beatings, the torture and even imprisonment…and they will still vote for MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. They will not vote for people who beat them, they will not be easy to intimidate,” Makumbe noted.
He said the ruling party would have little option to refuse to hand over power to the opposition if President Mugabe is defeated.
“It would have to hand over power if it loses the election. The onus would be on the MDC, which could say, okay, we would like to form a government of national unity for the benefit of the nation. But they would have no choice than to hand over power. If they don’t, then it would become a military coup, and with the military coup, Zimbabwe would be further ostracized. In fact it would be kicked out of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the country would struggle even further for the next five years,” he pointed out.