By Nkosana Dlamini
SENIOR academic and publisher Ibbo Mandaza says continuous internal rifts have weakened Zanu PF and placed it at the most probable danger of defeat by the opposition in elections due this year.
In an address during an elections conference organised by the Election Resource Centre on Thursday, Mandaza said bad blood among the country’s security forces also planted mistrust within the pro-Zanu PF State institutions, making it the most ideal situation for a Zanu PF poll defeat.
“The party of liberation lost its mass base in the 90s and it has never been able to recover it and will not recover it,” he said.
“It’s a fair conclusion to make, that the party of liberation which is tattered, broken, fractured cannot win elections in 2018.”
Mandaza said the forthcoming elections were being staged against the backdrop of a “disintegrating Mugabe era” which he said was triggered by the once feared leader’s November ouster.
“The coup represents ironically a stage in the disintegration of the Zanu PF party and State; not restoration as is claimed by the coup leaders and therefore the current freedom that you are experiencing in the rural areas to the extent to which the opposition is able to have rallies in areas they have never been able to hold rallies before. It’s because the state has disintegrated. They are nolonger able to control events.
“The state is divided; army versus police, army versus CIO. It’s a fractured state. That might board well for the elections. That there would be more freedom of movement, freedom to campaign but it can also mean that sections of the state, desperate that they are becoming, can react and react violently.”
The outspoken former civil servant turned top civic leader said Zanu PF, under Mugabe, has never won any election since 2000 and has been relying on intimidation and poll fraud to retain power.
“The elections since 2000 in particularly have not been peaceful; they have been marked by disputes and one can say quite conclusively that Zanu PF had lost it by 2000. I remember very clearly that by 1990s, Zanu PF had lost the mass base and in my narrative, would say that from 1996 onwards Mugabe was not able to fill up a single stadium in the country.
“Mobilisation became regimentation to a point where especially the 2008 elections the population at large feared elections because they knew that election time was hell and it is no secret that the elections in 2013 were rigged outright and some of us stood up and said so. It was impossible for Mugabe to have received 2,2 million votes. Clearly Mugabe has not won any elections since 2002,” he said.