Mugabe Pushing Hard For Early Election

But his plan seem to be facing resistance from members who are too ashamed of what appears an obvious defeat.

“President Mugabe is vying for an early election as early as next year but many people are opposed to his idea because it can change the balance of power and leave the party without any scape-goat this time,” said a Zanu PF source.  “Mugabe is not comfortable with a situation where the MDC is given time to introduce most of the reforms it wants such as the security sector and electoral reforms.”
“He would rather … go to an early election with half backed reforms which leaves room for him to manoeuvre and tilt any election in his favour,” added the source.

Mugabe, 86 and hoping to lead his party into another election, is said to have launched a serious campaign for the endorsement of his plan. However his peers feel the party is better off in its current position where Mugabe is in power.

Mugabe and his long time foe former opposition leader now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, last month put up brave faces telling the world that an early election should be called to break a long standing political dispute.

The two parties together with Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC party, signed a political agreement in 2008 leading to the formation of a coalition government with a promise to democratise the country.

But since then they have been haggling over executive political power with Tsvangirai, accusing Mugabe of blocking the implementation of neccessary reforms which includes reversing unilateral appointments of senior public servants and appointment of his party’s senior officials into government.

On his part Mugabe has stuck to his guns saying there will be no movement until sanctions imposed on him and his officials are removed as well as the closure of so-called pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from foreign countries. All this, he wants done by the MDC.

With the rift between the two parties seemingly permanent despite weekend reports of partial agreements being reached on some of the outstanding issues, the possibility of an early election can not be ruled out.

However rights groups and some civil groups working in the field of election monitoring are saying it’s too early for the country to talk of another election. Their arguement is that the country needs time to heal from a terrible electoral past as well as allow for the gradually democratisation of the country’s institutions before a new election can be called.

Despite such sensible arguments from these rights groups, SADC appointed mediator and South African President Jacob Zuma, seems to be buying into the idea that a fresh election is the answer.

He recently made it clear that Zimbabwe must be helped to overcome its problems with the aim of calling for a new election as soon as possible which will hopeful produce an uncontested result.

And this line of thought seems to be getting the backing of many in Zimbabwe and beyond as the  only way out of the political impasse.