Mugabe runs out of steam

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe risks losing the forthcoming elections as a result of poor election messages which have dominated his rallies thus far, analysts have warned.

Mugabe arriving for a Zanu PF rally in Chinhoyi.

President Robert Mugabe arriving for a Zanu PF rally in Chinhoyi. Pic: Annie Mpalume

Mugabe has been in power for 33 years and faces long-time rival — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai — on July 31 in watershed polls being compared to the 1980 plebiscite that brought Zimbabwe’s independence.
However, analysts say the 89-year-old Mugabe, weighed down by poor health and advanced age, has failed to hammer home key election messages on his campaign trail.

This is in contrast to the ebullient and gingerly Zanu PF leader of the past who could hold more than 30 star rallies at his peak.

In this election, Mugabe has reduced his rallies to 10 –— meaning one per province — provoking sharp responses that he has grown weary and is losing steam.

“There is no way the majority of Zimbabweans are going to vote for a 90-year-old. There is nothing new and the mystery still persists why an 89-year-old wants to remain in power. What is so indispensable about him?” political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, told the Daily News.

“His lack of a message puts him in a tight spot and I think Zanu PF must be regretting why they were not able to remove him as their presidential candidate. They tried to get him to step down in 2007 and they failed and lost the 2008 election.

“There was also a debate in 2002 that if they made him president they would lose. It is the same argument today, and therefore, they are likely to face the consequences,” said Mandaza.

Mugabe, at all his rallies has delved more into the past, skirting real issues which his party would implement if elected into government.

While he launched his party’s manifesto which critics say is lukewarm, the veteran politician has fallen short in delivering bread and butter messages.

Tsvangirai has exploited this, nailing him on key economic and developmental policies which are at variance with Zanu PF’s touted empowerment blueprint.

Analysts say Mugabe has rather chosen the land issue and others like indigenisation and empowerment which have featured on the party’s manifestos for decades.

There is general consensus that this year’s election is also about economic revival and lasting solutions to unemployment levels in the country. Mugabe has also chosen to insult Tsvangirai, whites and the West without telling the people what he wants to deliver for them which he has failed to do in 33 years.

Politicians’ messages should therefore centre on the issue of revival and re-engagement by the international community which will bring about the much-needed investment.

Director of Zimbabwe Institute of Democracy Pedzisayi Ruhanya says Mugabe’s wife Grace is also making the situation worse with her messages which portray arrogance and disrespect for the electorate.

Grace has centred her message on hate speech and vitriol mainly targeted at Tsvangirai whom she has addressed in disparaging terms.

She has openly stated that there is no vacancy at the state house.

“The message that Grace sent was that of arrogance and disrespect of the electorate and the electoral process. She was telling Zimbabweans that their votes do not matter because Mugabe will remain president irrespective of the legitimate and democratic will of the people,” said Ruhanya, in an article published in the media yesterday.

“Most critically, the arrogance, the lack of love, the hate language was very spiteful to the voters. She did not plead for the people’s votes, instead the millions who watched her public display of arrogance could hardly be forced to support her husband.”

Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife Elizabeth on the other hand has been pushing forward the MDC’s policies by focusing on issues addressed in their manifesto.

She has chosen to assist her husband by speaking on issues that affect women as a result of widespread poverty brought about by the current economic situation.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Shakespear Hamauswa said what was clear from Mugabe’s manifesto launch and subsequent rallies were a trend of insults.

“There is a trend of insults from Lindiwe Zulu to a number of political contenders. It is also reflected in the First Lady’s messages as she has also been insulting people, there is nothing that he is promising the people unlike his counterpart Tsvangirai,” Hamauswa said.

“The MDC has a policy document in terms of Agenda For Real Transformation (ART), and they also have a devolution agenda at least.”


Comments (21)

But Mugabe doesn't win by number of votes...?

Colin - 21 July 2013

Mugabe has nothing new to offer Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe is full of roads with very very large potholes and these potholes were last repaired when Smith was in power. Schools and hospitals were closed during Mugabes rule. The economy nose dived to the ground and crushed very loudly with a "bang ! ! !" Mugabe and his henchmen misruled Zimbabwe for 33 years and now ZANU PF wants to be voted into power to misrule Zimbabwe again and again and again. Tsvangirayi is now the favourate to win because he sympathises with the poor, the unemployed and the rest of other Zimbabweans who have experienced hardships during Mugabe's rule. All that ZANU PF's elite did was to become very very rich business men and women with money from their farms and mining deals and diamond mining deals that all ZANU PF elite are involved in. And Zimbabweans are not fools , they are watching all these very very rich politicians driving top of range cars and getting richer and richer than ever before and Zimbabweans feel let down by ZANU PF'S greed now Zimbabweans want a change. Tsvangirayi is their hope for change!!!!

Dollar - 21 July 2013

it will be difficult too manipulate numbers and figures if we vote him out in numbers

Wezhira - 21 July 2013

Not only steam is lost, but also oil, fuel, grease and water, the engine is dry. A WISE DELIVERS IN 5 YEARS WHAT A FOOL FAILS TO DELIVER IN 33 YEARS.

Educated Fools - 21 July 2013

Not only steam is lost, but also oil, fuel, grease and water, the engine is dry. A WISE DELIVERS IN 5 YEARS WHAT A FOOL FAILS TO DELIVER IN 33 YEARS.

Educated Fools - 21 July 2013

The absence of violence in this election makes it somehow free. Im not sure about the fair part but this is the only opportunuty to show the old man the exit door. anyone voting ZPF will do it out of free will. No further excuses. We have lived too much in oppression to give thumbs up to this old man and forget the hunger of the past

Razaro - 21 July 2013

ZANU (PF) will win the elections as this is obvious. Vana Baba Jukwa can smear campaign ZANU PF and Mugabe but that will not influence my vote or how people are going to vote. The majority of Baba Jukwa followers are not voters and do not reside in Zimbabwe and the 200 000 +/- people on Baba Jukwa facebook page do not translate to all voters who will vote for the MDC. People are not Baba Jukwa's page out of curiousity and many love rumours. If Baba Jukwa was a true hero who stand for the people of Zimbabwe, with that courage then he must dilvulge his identity. This is a sindicate of journalits and other people who are being sponsred by the American to cuase unrest in Zimbabwe. Baba Jukwa was and is never a ZANU (PF) member thats a blunt lie meant to mislead people. He is a product of the MDCT, and the CIA. MDC T must top being cry babies, if they see that ZANU (PF) is rigging the elections why can they also not rigg, they must not pretend to be saints and yet they are the most cruel party. One would ask, who has forced the MDC T to participate in the Elections?. Bulawayo is not Zimbabwe so there is nothing on huge crowds as they do not mean anything.

Wonder Manasa - 21 July 2013

@wonder manasa. Fool what are you talking about. Pambotaurwa nezvababa jukwa here apa. Uchenjere kupenga nekuhumana seharahwa yaurikutsigira iyo.

Ngwerume - 21 July 2013

@Wonder Manasa , washaya here zvekunyora ? Enda unovhiya mbudzi , which means ( @Wonder Manasa go and slay a goat ) . In Shona culture poeople who talk nonsense ( at a gathering of people who are talking serious talk), are usually sent away from the talks by being asked to go away and slay a goat , then the goat would be cooked for people to eat at the gathering. So that is why people who talk or write nonsense at a gathering, are told by elders to, "Enda uno vhiya mbudzi." ( Which means ," go and slay a goat " if you have nothing good to say)

Dollar - 21 July 2013

chingoma kana choririsa chinenge choda kuparuka!!!

Engineer - 21 July 2013

It was Mugabe who brought democracy to Zimbabwe, but it was a democracy only if you voted for him. Voting for anyone else is called "Toppling the government".

vortex - 21 July 2013


goreraza - 21 July 2013

The manipulation master plan will be orchestrated by opening the polling stations at 07:00 and nothing will be happening until 12:00 and when the voting stars it will be very slow so that the majority won't vote. Wait and see tichaona chaos yatisati tamboona pama polling stations very few people especially in urban areas will be hard heat...

Virus Detected - 21 July 2013

It really boggles the mind how Zanu PF came up with the idea of offering a 90 year old man as a candidate in a national election!!! Isn't there anyone within the party who could have done the job??? Can we then trust a group of men and women who were involved in this terrible set???

Micheal - 21 July 2013

Vakomana neVasikana, chokwadi ndeichi: Mugabe must go, whether its Zvimba, Hell, Hague where ever. He simply has to go. Ndatenda!

Tambainegidi - 22 July 2013

Kusvika rini tichinzvenga mimvuri yedu vana veZimbabwe? For 33 years we were being told we are a free people yet when you hold different views from those in power you are labeled mutengesi western puppet and many other derogatory names. Can we for once and for all claim our INDEPENDENCE and FREEDOM from these blood suckers! Tanet.

Vimbotee - 22 July 2013


T-SHIRT - 22 July 2013

Manasa, your opinion is noted. however it lacks some objectivity. look at both sides of the coin. think of your sons and daughters if u hev. look at wat zimbabwe is lyk today and compare it with other countries esp neighbouring ones. look at the resource base in Zim. think of the futur. aah bambo kana amai tangai mafunga musati mazviexposer njere dzenyu kuvanhu.

amos makudo - 22 July 2013

Insults are part of the culture in MDC-T and Gukurahundi ZANU PF - there is nothing new here!!!

Phunyukabemphethe - 23 July 2013

zanu had 33yrs to grant the people of zimbabwe meaningful which they failed to deliver and what new thing are they offering besides old failed policies

tkz - 23 July 2013

zanu had 33yrs to grant the people of zimbabwe meaningful change which they failed to deliver and what new thing are they offering besides old failed policies

tkz - 23 July 2013

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