Zimbabwe: It’s Now Sink or Swim

By Kingstone Jambawo.

POLITICS in Zimbabwe has become a means to an end, devoid of an inability by those in power to correctly represent people’s preferences, besides protecting their interests. Political parties are self centred to an extent that genuine democratic consolidation remains a pipe dream.

Furthermore, there now appears to be no opposition party that is politically equipped to take head on the formidable Zanu PF party. The Opposition knows that they must unite but don’t seem to know how. The fragmented power hungry opposition groupings are still trying to combine forces in order to mount an effective electoral challenge against Zanu PF.

Intimidation and coercive devises being visited on people by the Zanu PF government have, indeed, shaped Zimbabweans’ response mechanisms. Political disintegration, curiously, has become one of the consequences of political repression, with citizens now almost incapable of thinking independently.

Repression has now come to include even legal and quasi-legal measures such as: restrictions on freedom of assembly and speech, restrictions also on the kind of protests and activities that opposition are permitted to exercise.

Zanu PF has graduated and has become even more repressive, now resorting to such draconian measures as systematic torture and disappearances as well as imprisonment and exiling of opposition political elements.

Although State repression has intensified, the current opposition are failures. They have been made to believe that policy compromises are possible, with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on its part selling them a dummy that policy compromises on electoral issues were taking place.

Hence, a lot of time has been wasted in chasing the wind. In the process, opposition are failing to make hay while the sun shines and engage rural communities whose overwhelming political participation still hangs in the balance unless a conceited campaign effort is employed and, indeed, it is so for many diasporians who seem disengaged from the political realities of Zimbabwe.

It’s has now been months of coalition negotiations by the opposition. This complicated political arena has halted any feasible prospects of liberal democracy. Zimbabwe, so far, has failed to promote a multi-party democracy. Unless more effort is channelled towards real campaigning, current opposition forces may not be able to build a winning coalition capable, at least, of garnering a two thirds majority.

Citizens who suffer directly from repression end up readjusting their opinions and especially change how they relate to the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) of police, military, and other such security agencies for fear of political reprisals.

Oppressors can only exercise complete control in an environment where democracy is either weak, stifled, and or absent. Indeed, one might reasonably expect repression by government, intended as it may to curtail or manage citizens’ behaviour, to suppress participation and restrain expressions of support for democracy.

But for many Zimbabweans, it has now become sink or swim as the incumbent regime can now only increase in ruthlessness, a route whose end scenario could lead to popular uprisings after 2018 if ever election results are tampered with. The seemingly realistic approach for the country now would seem to be a well coordinated and sustained revolution after announcement of the 2018 election results if they are rigged.

It would, however, be folly on the part of Zimbabweans to imagine that the incumbent regime will leave everything to chance and not activate violence and intimidation tactics, to foil any likely political change.

On the part of President Robert Mugabe, elections have became mere rituals meant only as a facade to hoodwink observers – both local and international – into believing that there is democracy in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF has also created pseudo political parties meant to lent credence to skewed electoral processes in case real opposition parties boycotted elections to press for far reaching electoral reforms

Another strategy by Zanu PF has been to create a false impression of infighting within its ranks so that the opposition become complacent, only for the ruling party to rally towards election time, but by then it would be too late for the opposition to re-strategize.

Zimbabwe, however, now faces the risk of being engulfed by stokes of political flames as a consequence of its failure o properly address electoral processes to the satisfaction of all concerned parties.

Obsession with political power at all costs by the revolutionary party, Zanu PF, is likely to boomerang in the near future, with dire consequences expected for the country, though.

In Zimbabwe, nothing seems to be working any more.

The use of social media platforms as a way to topple the undemocratic Mugabe regime has become a tired mantra, in addition to control mechanisms that have been put in place. This includes the promulgation of the Cyber terrorism law, to deal with any threats to power that could emanate from both corporates and or individuals.

Although there seems to be no end in sight for Zimbabwe’s multitude of troubles, signs of a near demise of the Mugabe era due to certain weighted possibilities is encouraging, even just for the mere prospect such an end game could bring.

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