By Elijah Chihota
Zanu-PF is like a sleeping giant which is often teased by smaller political parties which have no political ideology, but those parties remain teaser bulls, nothing more.
The party works in very mysterious ways to such an extent that when people think it is now finished, it wakes up and delivers a devastating blow to the opposition as it did during the 2013 harmonised elections when it won overwhelmingly, putting a final nail to the MDC’s short-lived stint in Government, thanks to the Global Political Agreement which ushered in the inclusive Government (GNU).
Prior to the 2013 elections, the overconfident and conceited MDC had adopted the “Let’s finish off ZANU-PF” mantra. This was based on the understanding that in 2008 elections, the MDC had got slightly more seats than ZANU-PF.
From that little understanding, they thought ZANU-PF was a walk-over, only to realise that while opposition officials in the GNU enjoyed their positions, the tables were turning on the ground.
This time around, ZANU-PF is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to get rid of anything that might taint its 2023 election victory. Like a phoenix, ZANU-PF is going through a renewal phase where it is shedding off its old feathers, claws and beak so that it becomes more effective in flying and hunting. Fighting corruption has formed the core of ZANU-PF’s renewing efforts. This unsettled the opposition and resulted in the likes of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono calling on the MDC to help in prosecuting alleged corrupt ZANU-PF senior members than defending them.
His advice was too late, given that MDC co-vice president, deputy national chairperson and secretary for education, Tendai Biti, Job Sikhala and Advocate Fadzai Mahere, respectively, were busy representing those accused of corruption.
Biti, Sikhala and Adv Mahere, represented former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Metbank in its case against the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), respectively.
On realising that ZANU-PF had taken the transformative move to deal with corruption, the MDC sought to snatch the victory from ZANU-PF through asking to help in the prosecution of cases of corruption.
Even MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu went to great lengths asking the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo to assist in the prosecution.
There is no goodwill in the request because the opposition has realised that ZANU-PF has made a head start on corruption and these lawyers want to take the wind out of ZANU-PF sails. It’s too late.
The whole world has started to appreciate what the Second Republic is doing.
Come 2023, ZANU-PF will be dusted and clean and will sweep to sweet victory. If the opposition camp is serious about fighting corruption, it should start with its corrupt councillors in the urban local authorities, which the party dominates, who are serving themselves more than the residents.
To show that Adv Mpofu just wanted to steal the limelight from ZANU-PF, he chose two cases dealing with Chiadzwa diamonds and Command Agriculture.
To an ordinary man, there should be nothing peculiar about these cases to the MDC, but on closer inspection, it is something to them. The MDC has taken Robert Mugabe’s sentiments that Government lost US$15 billion in diamond revenue hook, line and sinker. The MDC, of late, has started accusing Government of embezzlement of funds meant for the Command Agriculture Programme.
Biti, who also chairs the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been supplying this information, which the opposition party intends to use to nail ZANU-PF.
Its members are bent on weakening and bogging ZANU-PF down with these cases, but unfortunately, they will not be able to see their evil enterprise through, as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which handles prosecutions, is not likely to take Adv Mpofu on board because of his vested interests. To show his commitment in fighting corruption, President Mnangagwa called upon lawyers to be advocates of economic justice while officially opening the 20th SADC Lawyers Association Conference and General Meeting in Victoria Falls last week.
“My Government is accelerating efforts to consolidate constitutionalism, rule of law as well as strengthening institutions that support democracy. In the case of Zimbabwe, lawyers have an obligation to effectively assist in the national economic building and reconstruction,” said President Mnangagwa. All these lawyers who are defending corrupt people become accomplices and, by contrast, bring out the best in ZANU-PF in the process. The bottom line is that these lawyers would end up appearing as if they are the ones urging people to be corrupt so that they will also get a piece of the corruption cake. Judging by the previous by-elections since the 2018 harmonised elections, ZANU-PF has been sweeping to victory confirming that the party has “ka that,” in local modern lingo, which causes people to vote for it. “Inongodika so,” the youth would say. Since being elected as President in the 2018 elections, President Mnangagwa has not disappointed in his execution of duties.
The party made 242 promises during 2018 elections campaigns and after the elections. Of these, four have been achieved namely, appointing the 1 August Commission of Inquiry and availing the report to the public, expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), compensating businesses that had their properties and goods destroyed during the January 2019 demonstrations.
Meanwhile, 121 are being implemented covering fields such as agriculture, governance, social services, trade, international relations, economy, infrastructure, youth and women projects funding and fighting corruption, among others.
Various infrastructural development projects in the energy sector, roads, water are underway. In Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts which were hard hit by Cyclone Idai, reconstruction is already underway in a joint operation by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the South African National Defence Forces (SANDEF). Construction of bridges is now being done and very soon all the rivers in the area will be passable ahead of the rainy season.
Urbanites and the general commuting population were facing a perennial problem of ever rising bus fares. Government responded by introducing the ZUPCO scheme which saw people paying way cheaper and sustainable bus fares. The programme has been so successful to such an extent that it has now been extended to the inter-city routes.
Meanwhile, Chin’ono is always blaming Government for allegedly failing to implement political, economic and media reforms. Chin’ono is bitter after his not-so-straight-forward deal to secure funding for the training journalists was thrown out by Government.
“This is why we need State Media Reforms. Government asked me to help them with reforms. I managed to get US$20 million for them. CNN, BBC, ITV News and Channel 4 agreed to train ZBC journalists for free. It was blocked and Charamba (Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba) called me a Western pawn,” fumed Chin’ono on Twitter.
Apparently the deal was not clean because in the first place the money was not even in place. He also has another axe to grind with Government because he was not included on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) board despite his expectation. It then becomes clear that his bid to organise training for ZBC was driven by his anticipation to become a board member at the parastatal and wanted an accolade for himself for the initiative.
With this rich background of developments, ZANU-PF is endearing itself to the electorate, which will make its 2023 election a lot easier. On the other hand, the MDC is groping in the dark with no clear focus or direction and suffering from policy deficiency.