THAT Zanu-PF is a behemoth that bestrides the Zimbabwean political scene is not in dispute which explains why the ruling party’s primary elections dominated all media space, particularly the ubiquitous social media platforms over the past three days.
Leading opposition figures temporarily shelved their crusade to deodorise Nelson Chamisa’s “bullet train” campaign gaffes to dwell on the goings-on in the Zanu-PF primaries.
Zanu-PF was trending so to speak.
Wasn’t it former US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld who quipped “democracy is messy”, as he tried to explain away US misadventures in Iraq?
The messy nature of electoral democracy was bound to manifest particularly where primary elections were being held in all 210 constituencies and involving over 6 000 contestants.
Glitches were bound to emerge.
And they did emerge as the Zanu-PF primaries were indeed a messy affair: What with logistical challenges, candidates’ names missing on ballots, prospective voters missing in registers, accusations and counter-accusations of rigging, but at the end of it all, as we report elsewhere in this issue, the primaries delivered a result.
And as anyone versed in electoral politics knows the test of the genuineness of a process lies in the unpredictability of its outcome.
On this score the Zanu-PF primaries delivered by the dozen. Several party heavies fell at the hands of newcomers, a result not many would have predicted, but itself a sign of a vibrant party renewing itself.
In spite of the apparent mess, in spite of the imperfections it is a result that speaks of a resurgent party as evidenced by the young men and women who vied to represent Zanu-PF in Parliament.
University of Zimbabwe academic Dr Eldred Masunungure sought to find a method to the madness, sensationally claiming that the Zanu-PF primary poll chaos may have been planned!
But it was one Patson Dzamara, a key member of the “Chamisa praise and worship” team who hit the nail on the head, so to speak.
Said Dzamara in a Facebook post: ‘‘Bar the chaos which surrounded ZANU-PF’s primary elections, we can’t dispute that people were allowed to choose what they want. Many bigwigs fell.
This sets the bar too high for the opposition. Some are too entitled in that camp & I shudder to imagine the embarrassment.”
Our friends in the private media were similarly befuddled, deriding the process on one hand while being euphoric about the result on the other!
They did not, however, tell their readers how a process they ridiculed had produced an outcome they embraced.
What this, however, proves is the inability of many, even in the proverbial ivory towers of learning, to read electoral politics.
This is a problem we have seen every election which explains why the quick believers in the opposition always cry foul when Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe reports in..