Sunday Mail Reporter
WITH a month remaining before Zimbabwe holds its sixth
general election, the ruling Zanu-PF is tipped to win the
polls with relative ease while the main opposition MDC is
expected to lose "more ground", according to political
Analysts say the ruling party’s victory will largely hinge on
its representation of the people’s interests as shown by the
introduction of measures that have improved their standards
of living in the past five years.
A dependence on foreign powers such as Britain and general
neglect of the electorate, on the other hand, is probably
going to hand the MDC a heavy defeat when the polls set in on
"Zanu-PF, as the sitting Government, could have the chance of
retaining the majority of votes in the forthcoming elections
or will go the other route if it did not meet the
electorate’s requirements," says one analyst.
"But as it appears, the party has managed to steer the
affairs of the Zimbabwean State in a positive direction as
seen by the prevailing peace in the country and the general
uplifting of people’s standards of living.
"Conversely, the MDC has not been in touch with the
electorate, the same electorate that it wants to propel it to
power. Instead of representing Zimbabweans’ rights,
requirements and general social upkeep, the party has been up
and about, seeking support from foreign countries like
Last Friday, parties intending to contest in the impending
general election submitted their papers to the nomination
courts that sat in different parts of the country to confirm
their participation in the polls.
Although several little-known parties have turned up at the
starting line, the polls are widely expected to be a two-
horse race between the ruling party and the main opposition.
However, the balance has already been tilted in Zanu-PF’s
favour owing to its deliberate efforts to develop the country
through initiatives such as the successful land reform
programme that has benefited thousands of previously
The Government embarked on the land reform programme some
five years ago, at a time when most indigenous people were
not fully benefiting from their land.
A minority of the population intended to maintain its hold on
the economy and resources, sidelining the indigenous people
in the process.
Since the programme’s inception, the Government has acquired
some 12,5 million hectares of land from 6 796 farms gazetted
About 816 more farms comprising 1,4 million hectares of land
were acquired through the Administrative Court and consent
from the previous owners.
A total of 140 00 people have benefited under the A1 scheme
covering 2 611 farms with a 4,1 million-hectare size. An
additional 14 500 beneficiaries were resettled on 2 331 under
the A2 resettlement model.
Plans are also afoot to resettle 400 000 more people under
the A1 and A2 resettlement schemes within the next five
"This is the kind of national governance that is in place,"
says another political analyst, Mr Augustine Timbe.
"Zimbabweans now have land and this is enough to ensure that
the people are able to develop their country on their own.
From land stems various attributes such as commerce, tourism
and agriculture itself, just to mention but a few.
"Since the people of Zimbabwe have benefited from this and
other initiatives, they are likely to next month reward Zanu-
PF for its foresighted initiatives."
Apart from the land redistribution exercise, which is
expected to see Zimbabwe becoming self-reliant, the
Government initiated programmes that have relatively improved
Since 2000, the country had experienced serious economic
challenges owing to the successive droughts experienced
locally. The economic sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe by its
detractors in the West also had a bearing on the country’s
economic performance in recent years.
However, the situation has relatively improved as Government
steps up efforts to resuscitate development in the country.
Inflation, which was expected to reach four-figure digits,
fell from an all-time high of 622 percent in January last
year to 209 percent in October of the same year. The rate is
now pegged at 133,6 percent.
This reining in of inflation, among other factors, has
resulted in price stability across different sectors of the
Basic commodities, whose supply had become intermittent, are
also now readily available.
In addition, the Government increased consumers’ disposable
income when it last year adjusted the tax bands from $200 000
to $750 000.
The bands were further adjusted to $1 million with effect
from last month.
Foreign currency inflows continued to improve last year —
rising from a paltry US$301 million in 2003 to a staggering
US$1,7 billion by December last year.
"On the economic front, Government has opened up opportunities
for the majority as seen by the indigenisation thrust. More
jobs have also been created through the deliberate
development and support of small- to medium-scale
enterprises," says Mr Timbe.
He adds that the Government had done well in initiating moves
to deal with corruption, which had contributed to the demise
of the country’s economy, subsequently bringing suffering to
"Although the election will see numerous other parties
participating, it is set to be a duel between Zanu-PF and the
MDC," says Mr Timbe.
"The MDC is exercising its constitutional right by contesting
the elections, but its operations in the last five years are
likely to affect its performance in the polls. (British Prime
Minister Tony) Blair himself admitted to working with the
opposition in its bid to effect ‘regime change’ in Zimbabwe.
"This, in itself, shows the party’s reliance on international
support and, in the process, detaches it from the electorate
back home. This tends to confuse the people as they would not
know were such a party stands."
Apart from working with the country’s former colonisers, the
British, the MDC is responsible for calling for the
imposition of economic sanctions on the country.
This has boggled many Zimbabweans’ minds as the party intends
to woo support from the same people that it wanted to bring
Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu-PF recently launched its
manifesto, aimed at consolidating Zimbabwe’s gains and
introducing more measures to stimulate development.
The MDC is expected to launch its manifesto in Masvingo