'More independent candidates to emerge'

HARARE - The squabbling in the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC, is likely going to create a serious crisis that will result in many aspiring candidates contesting as independents, analysts have said.

There are currently serious fights in the ruling party and MDC as disgruntled candidates are planning to contest as independent candidates.

A number of Zanu PF MPs and Cabinet ministers lost in the ruling party’s primaries, hence failing to proceed to the eagerly-awaited general elections due either in July or August.

A variety of malpractices unravelled during the Zanu PF emotive polls, among them inordinate delays in supplying voting material to polling centres, vote rigging and violence, which forced the party to sanction re-runs in 14 constituencies.

On the other hand, long-serving Harare West MDC MP, Jessie Majome, this week announced that she will contest the impending national elections as an independent candidate after withdrawing from the MDC primary elections.

Political analysts canvassed by the Daily News on Sunday said both the opposition and the ruling party are going to face tough opponents in the parliamentary elections as most of their losing candidates will stand as independent candidates.

“The parliamentary contest is going to be littered by a hotchpotch of independent and other opposition candidates then Zanu PF and MDC candidates. It’s not going to be easy for either MDC Alliance or Zanu PF to claim easy victories,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said.

“With (former opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai and (former president Robert) Mugabe gone so is voting for parties. People will now vote for individuals at MP level. So we are likely to have a Zanu PF president after polls and a parliament with Zanu PF, MDC, other opposition and independent MPs.”

Saungweme added that the two major parties in Zimbabwe failed to follow the principal of free and fair elections.

“The dust around primaries in both parties is due to dearth of internal democracy in these institutions. Primary elections procedures and processes are left to be determined by the president or other leaders instead of the constitution of the party.

“Both MDC and Zanu PF are not democratic but dictatorial entities with power vested in party presidents who in both cases are de facto, more supreme than the Constitution or are the Constitution themselves.

“This dictatorship and arbitrariness in both parties is what breeds factionalism and birthed many political parties.

“It is also what’s causing chaos in both camps at primaries. And when main parties lack internal democracy the outcome is multiple splinter opposition parties and independent candidates,” Saungweme said.

Another political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the primary fiasco in the MDC and Zanu PF has exposed the leadership of the two parties.

“I think political parties are failing to be transparent and strategic on their candidates’ selection. Contestations remain on lack of democratic processes many of which appear to be crafted on the go.

“The second issue is will primaries necessarily produce the best candidate or the most popular person for whatever reasons. Parties therefore need a combination of transparent and democratic processes as well as strategic leadership development. Parties must avoid use of primaries for patronage and building political nests for friends, relatives, boyfriends and girlfriends.

“The current Parliament with its huge deficit on leadership demonstrates that it is far more about primaries but also about quality leadership hence the need for criteria for qualification into primaries.

“The primary fiasco in the mdc and Zanu PF has exposed the leadership and spawned violence which may spill over into the real election contest. Our parties are now vehicles for primitive accumulation and are not promoting democracy which could translate into national democratic culture.”

However, writing on his blog, the Big Saturday Read, political analyst Alex Magaisa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa can promise to carry allies who lost in the primaries in exchange for their continued loyalty and support in his presidential bid.

“Mnangagwa could turn the defeat of his allies into an opportunity for himself. There is no shortage of opportunities in the system of patronage that Mugabe built and Mnangagwa inherited. In any event, the Constitution allows him to appoint up to five ministers from outside Parliament.

“He can promise to carry allies who lost in the primaries in exchange for their continued loyalty and support in his presidential bid. In that case, such people will know that their political fortunes stand or fall with Mnangagwa’s fate.

“They will have every incentive to give everything to ensure that he wins. For Mnangagwa, it is the presidential election that matters and he is better off with close allies putting their undivided attention to his cause.

“They won’t have parliamentary seats to distract their attention and they will fight with and for him to the bitter end. And because their political fortunes are tied to Mnangagwa, they will forever be beholden to him.”

Comments (1)

Independent candidates is the true new dispensation for Zimbabwe. After 38 years Zimbabweans have now matured enough to vote for the individual rather than the party. NO MORE IMPOSED CANDIDATES!!

Jonso - 21 May 2018

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