Home » Governance » It’s Aantage Zanu-PF, but . . .

The expulsion of 21 MDC rebels from Parliament for crossing the floor from the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai to the newly-created outfit called United MDC is significant in a number of ways.

The first thing is that it tells us who the legitimate MDC are, not that it matters much, after a tussle between Tendai Biti, erstwhile secretary-general, and Tsvangirai.

It will be recalled that there were actions and counter-actions in Parliament and in the courts to settle this question.

At one point Tendai Biti was so confident of winning the custodianship of the party that he is alleged to have said that he would rather be christened Morgan Mugabe before he saw the recall by Tsvangirai of anyone that had crossed the floor to his Renewal project.

It remains to be seen whether he will honour his challenge.

That question of ownership settled, it is a morale and political boost for Tsvangirai and his faction who now have all the bragging rights.

For Biti, shorn of the halo of the “original” MDC, he now has his work cut out to project a brand to compete with Tsvangirai’s MDC.

It is rather surprising that Biti did not see his expulsion coming on the heels of the formal birth of UMDC, a clear and unambiguous negation of his entitlement to belong to the party on whose card he was elected, for his part, winning marginally in Harare East constituency.

Perhaps he thought Zanu-PF would aid him in his fight with Tsvangirai by shielding them in Parliament, all to spite Tsvangirai?

Secondly, and connected to the fact that Biti now has to project himself differently, is the reality that any prospects of unity between and among opposition forces, especially those cut from the old MDC cloth, are now next to naught.

Before examining what this implies, it is instructive to gauge the reactions to Tuesday’s news.

While Tsvangirai’s supporters jubilated and mocked Biti, the latter’s supporters and sympathisers felt slighted.

They felt Tsvangirai had behaved like the proverbial spiteful snake that kills that which it cannot eat.

This because Tsvangirai’s MDC has indicated that his party will not contest any elections without necessary “reforms” — although that now remains to be seen in light of recent developments.

It is neither fair nor reasonable to have expected Tsvangirai to fold his hands as Biti and his supporters went away and even called him an idiot – enjoying along the way perks that come with the offices of MP, which Tsvangirai himself would have envied.

This is politics and Tsvangirai would not have been expected to behave as a saint.

The bad blood between Tsvangirai and Biti is now as bad as it could get.

Biti might have refused to go back to Tsvangirai’s “big tent” but it will be noted that during an address at a discussion forum two months ago, he hinted that while he was not open to a coalition with Tsvangirai, he was ready to form alliances around certain “broad” issues.

These would include service delivery protests.

He also hinted that ahead of elections, he would be open to a coalition like the Rainbow Coalition in Kenya.

Now, it is safe to say that such prospects have dried on the vine with the recent recall of the MPs and what is apparently a personality clash between Tsvangirai on one side and Biti and Professor Welshman Ncube on the other.

Given the fact that the unity among opposition forces has for some time been considered the sine qua non for the defeat of the ruling party, this essentially means that it is aantage for Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF, instructively, won a whopping majority of 160 seats against MDC-T’s 49 in the House of Assembly.

If indeed Tsvangirai has donated 21 seats to Zanu-PF, as has been remarked, it makes little difference on the more than two-thirds majority that the ruling party enjoyed.

But it gives Zanu-PF the aantage of recapturing lost seats and enjoyment of incumbency in the same come election time in 2018.

What to do, Zanu-PF?

But that is rather a banal point to make.

The question is, what is Zanu-PF going to do with its unassailable majority, a majority that it has had for close to two years now?

This question is necessitated by the fact that for all its crushing majority and overwhelming mandate given by the electorate, the party in Government does not seem confident, sure-footed, enough.

Only last year the party, during its congress, promised “Accelerated Implementation of Zim-Asset”, the economic blueprint that was informed by the winning Zanu-PF manifesto.

Is Zimbabwe under the leadership of Zanu-PF moving with the speed necessary to be seen as increasing the speedy implementation of the blueprint?

Zim-Asset is a results-based programme targeting four strategic clusters namely:

l Food Security and Nutrition

l Social Services and Poverty Eradication

l Infrastructure and Utilities

l Value Addition and Beneficiation.

How has Zimbabwe done in respect of these four clusters and what are the prospects and challenges ahead, that is with two-and-half years left?

Very briefly one can answer these questions.

Regarding Food Security and Nutrition, one can actually point to the recent “food riot” at Chikurubi to understand that we are not entirely food secure and the rains that have refused to fall this year, in comparison to last year, can only complicate matters.

Zimbabwe relies on rain-fed agriculture and the now all-too-frequent droughts will not help matters.

Some statistics say that 2 million Zimbabweans will need food assistance.

Short term measures will include grain importation and allowing more and more actors to import grain.

At the same time, Government would do well to boost strategic grain reserves not only to timely feed the people but also stabilise prices.

Run-away food and grain prices will fuel inflation and a grain reserve could avert a scenario as occurred in 20078.

On the other hand, and for long term purposes, deliberate infrastructure development will have to be instituted in the area of farming by way of dams and irrigation systems.

See full article on www.herald.co.zw

There are a lot of irrigation projects that are long dead that need revival.

The flurry of mega deals that Zimbabwe is signing, and hopefully implement, should be deliberate in this regard.

On social services and poverty eradication, one of the imperatives is the provision of jobs.

People like to stick the two million job promise that Zanu-PF made.

They point to the graveyards of industrial areas.

The Zanu-PF government needs to find ways to breathe life into the valleys of death that are industrial areas and, in the absence of local finances, it will make a lot of good to see some of our foreign friends pouring money to revive sleeping giants such as Cold Storage Company, Lion Match, David Whitehead, Merlin, WMMI, and so on.

But then, Zimbabwe needs to clean up its act on partnerships, too, because the way the Essar deal has been handled leaves a lot to be desired.

On the other hand, small and medium scale industries – the new economy – should be fully embraced.

People need to be kept off the streets and out of poverty.

While infrastructural projects such as roads and air transport which are currently impressively rolling, more needs to be done to extend the projects countrywide and in other sectors such as energy and water.

The good thing is that the setting up of these ventures will not only spur development but also create the much-needed employment.

We are now being told that diamonds in Chiadzwa are “finished”.

Is it not ironic that they fell into that state when Zimbabwe had not shown any value-addition skills or products?

That reflects the deficit of value addition and beneficiation in Zimbabwe at the moment, and it has come with huge losses of potential.

It now stands to reason that the Zanu-PF Government be in the driving seat and consider itself on the home stretch of its mandate.

It would not want a tiny minority that makes the opposition to set an agenda away from its legitimate domain.

Source : The Herald