Monday, October 03, 2005

Here we go...again

Mugabe & Co. this weekend announced that they will hold Senate elections at the end of next month.

So here we are again at the same place we were right before the March polls; only a few months, a drastic cleanup operation, and untold suffering removed from the last elections.

Sadly, only one of Zimbabwe's political parties has evolved any since March. Yessir, it is clear beyond a doubt that ZANU-PF's dominance of Zimbabwean politics is not over quite yet. You see they gleaned something from their election experience. They know it's more important to be ZANU-PF in the polls than anything else.

It is no secret that ZANU-PF has suffered a threatening split from within around the last polls. One only has to look at the debris left in the aftermath of the parliamentary polls to realise this. A former minister dead and several high ranking party officials arrested (including Mugabe's nephew) arrested. Many people including ministers and former henchmen sacked from either the government or party or both. This debacle has indeed afforded the Zimbabwean people, and certainly anyone who cares to look, a rare glance at the infant bickering that bedevils the party behind the tough front they put up.

But they learnt a lesson. ZANU-PF strategists decided that while they remain a "democratic" and even more importantly a "patriotic" party, they don't have to embrace all of democracy's mechanisms. This time around ZANU-PF will not hold primaries. The official reason given, "As we are only dealing with 50 people, there is no need to involve the whole country in primary elections. We would rather seek consensus."

The 66 seat senate will have 50 elected members. Of the remaining 16, 10 will come from the traditional chiefs electoral college, and six "special" interest appointments will be made the president himself.

So in reality, the pragmatic ZANU-PF realized that they need to become essentially a party of one man's wishes because they are too many other competing interests. Mugabe is single handedly nominating all 66 candidates to the senate. Those nominations may all well be appointmentments, if the MDC befuddled in the same indecision they had prior to the parliamentaries ever decides not to contest the elections.

The MDC on the other hand, is the same stunted growth party they were a few months back. After failing to out maneuver ZANU at the polls and in parliament, they've self relagated to playing ZANU-PF's second fiddle. If and when ZANU says there are going to be elections, they show and take their drenching. When ZANU-PF shows up in parliament, that's the only time the MDC exerts its futile influence on governance in Zimbabwe. And when ZANU-PF "cleans out" trash, the MDC is there to comment, but only after ZANU-PF has taken the first shot.

MDC cannot make any moves of their own. They have no fresh outlook on the country's problems for themselves or their longsuffering supporters. This is a party that's stuck in limbo because they cannot self transform beyond the scope of their initial propensities. They have become the barren half of Zimbabwe's political union.

Beware! The ides of November are nigh.

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