ZIMBABWE – Observers say former Vice President Joice Mujuru and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have a good chance of ending President Robert Mugabe’s 35 years in power in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections if they work together.
Black empowerment activist and former football administrator Paddington Japajapa told the Daily News yesterday that with Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF, having failed dismally to keep Zimbabwe afloat, the electorate could look for hope and redemption in the Mujuru and Tsvangirai combination.
He added that such a coalition could not be underestimated and could defeat Zanu PF, possibly with Mujuru as president while Tsvangirai becomes an executive prime minister in a democratic power-sharing arrangement.
Japajapa also said Mujuru’s “second coming, in a different political jacket” was likely to reinvigorate Zimbabwean politics after decades of voter apathy because of a skewed electoral playing field.
However, the former president of the Zimbabwe Centre for Business Opportunities warned that the post-congress Zanu PF would not give up its power easily, with violence and electoral malpractices likely to be a major feature of the 2018 elections.
“There will be pockets of resistance from hardliners who have been enjoying power since 1980, but God will scatter them. He will not allow them to reverse what is in accordance with His will and plan,” Japajapa said.
Analyst Prince Ndlovu agreed, saying both the political and economic fundamentals obtaining in the country suggested that Zimbabweans were unlikely to entrust their faith in Zanu PF if there were “viable options”.
“There is no doubt that things are bad in Zimbabwe and that life in the country for ordinary citizens is very hard. In that sense, it is irrational to expect such long-suffering citizens to return Zanu PF to power willingly, if there are viable options.
“All the indications are that many people have warmed up to the idea of Tsvangirai teaming up with Mujuru to take on Mugabe, and if this mooted coalition does happen, it therefore stands a very good chance of gaining power,” Ndlovu said.
These predictions come at a time that former Zanu PF stalwarts and war veterans, including Mujuru and former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, are putting final touches to the rival “original” Zanu PF party — that uses the slogan People First — which is expected to form a coalition with the MDC and other parties.