Opposition slams 'desperate' Mugabe

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition yesterday slammed criticism by President Robert Mugabe that they were confused and splintered and vowed to press home efforts to remove the Zanu PF leader in 2018 amid a grim economic crisis.

Mugabe on Friday declared victory in the forthcoming elections propelled by what he called ideologically bankrupt opponents in sixes and sevens, facing splits.

His rant shows he is panicking as a push for his ouster gains traction with tired, frustrated Zimbabweans, opposition leaders said yesterday.

“Mugabe is out of his mind,” said MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu, adding Mugabe was losing support within his own bloc.

“If anything, it is his own party, Zanu PF that has virtually split into two extremely antagonistic factions. The MDC remains very strong and vibrant. We have structures in all the 1 958 wards of Zimbabwe. We have crafted sound and sustainable alternative policies on education, health, agriculture, industry etc. The desperate old man should simply step down and let Zimbabwe move forward on a new developmental trajectory.”

The opposition lost control of the National Assembly in a 2013 general election. But since that election, Mugabe has failed to steer the economy, with mounting anger propelled by cash and fuel shortages, annihilated salaries, and rampant prostitution and violent crime.

Mugabe has vowed he will gain another term in the next election, blasting opposition politicians as weak trouble-makers fomenting violence.

“However, the (ruling) party remains strong; there is no doubt about that. In fact very strong and formidable by any account,” Mugabe said confidently.

“We have had our opponents in sixes and sevens and we now have several useless parties emerging and going round in circles and sometimes inflicting death on themselves as they continuously split.

“You cannot make head or tail of what their ideology is, they have practically no idea or principle and therefore practically to thinking about how best the country can be economically transformed.”

Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said what Mugabe was saying was true to a certain extent.

“We have numerous opposition parties and splinter groups whose ideology and principles are opaque,” Saungweme said.

“They are very difficult to understand. This is also why it’s difficult for opposition parties to coalesce.

“It’s true none of the opposition parties have clearly spelt out their economic policies and how the economy can be transformed. To that extent, Mugabe is spot on.”

He added: “However, we are also not politically naive not to see Mugabe and his secret service had a hand in scattering and dividing the opposition. Mugabe strives in chaos and harvests from divisions.”

Obey Sithole, a global development scholar, said the emergence of many political parties signifies the growth of democracy in a country that Zanu PF tried so hard at some point to make a one-party state.

“Thus it is folly for the president to think that it’s a sign of obvious victory but rather a sign of growing defiance and rejection of his government,” he said.

“His sentiments are a desperate explanation aimed at boosting self confidence in the face of unprecedented demise of his party which has evidently been torn apart by prevalent factionalism in line with the succession race.”

UK-based Zimbabwean academic George Shire said he agreed with Mugabe 100 percent.

“A good example would be ‘People First’ which for all intents and purposes means Mai Mujuru, et al. A confused soirée of middle class, disgruntled and disgraced bureaucrats are not the nation, let alone the people,” Shire said.

“The last time Mai Majuru was in London, she ended up sounding more right-wing than Tsvangirai ever did.

“The MDC made the same mistake in thinking that lawyers could become the vanguard, and swallowed discourses of the West without ever paying attention to the local or never asking themselves what the economy is for.

“The country does need a credible opposition that brings our government to account. The sad thing is that I don’t see that on the horizon.”

He said he was saddened as an African and son of the soil that Tsvangirai was battling with colon cancer — “an awful thing.”

“I sincerely wish him well. Much as I disagree with him, his party is imploding partly because he hasn’t got the energy to hold it together and those second rate lawyers waiting for his demise haven’t got a clue about how to construct an alternative world,” Shire said.

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