Sunday, 17 February 2008

Enter Simba Makoni: Is Zimbabwe heading towards a better future?

The entrance into the presidential race by Dr Simba Makoni is the most exciting thing that has happened to Zimbabwean Politics in the last 10 years. Politicians, civil society leaders and ordinary Zimbabweans have been asking themselves if he is the answer to a more than decade long crisis. Whatever the case, NYDT believes that the most positive thing that has resulted from Makoni’s entry into the Presidential race has been that most people and most notably the youths, have gone to register to vote in next month’s harmonized elections.

After years and years of preaching the message to the young to participate in the electoral game, finally, something has made them take their first step towards participation. This must tell us something. It in a way answers the questions as to why youths have been apathetic in previous elections. Maybe they did not realize the importance of voting then compared to now or they had not found anyone worthy of voting for.

However, a lot of mystery still surrounds this last minute action by Dr Makoni, a longtime ZANU PF member and Robert Mugabe loyal. While others believe he is the bridge between the nationalists and those calling for a democratic revolution since he understands ZANU PF operations and is generally acceptable to international, regional and local democratic forces, others believe that he is nothing more that a ZANU PF creation to cause confusion and divisions within the opposition movements in Zimbabwe.

They raise questions as to why he took so long to breakaway. If the ZANU PF congress produced and unworthy candidate why did he hang in there until the end of ZANU PF primaries and a realization that he won’t make it to parliament. Many have asked why he remained a loyal member of a politburo which presided over decisions which resulted in gross human rights violations. Such decisions include, the Gukurahundi massacres, land/ farm invasion, unleashing of green bombers on opposition politicians, Operation Murambatsvina, the Industrial invasions and many such events that he seems to have kept quiet about over the years.

Those who support him have been quick to defend him and argue that the decisions in the politburo are made by about 40 members and that it is possible that Dr Makoni has voted against most decisions that led to disastrous directives and policies such as the gukurahundi massacres, land reform and the invasion of factories. There are also arguments to the fact that, as a loyal member of ZANU PF, he could not publicly declare his opposition to the ZANU PF leadership at these occassions.

During his first press conference, Dr. Makoni announced that he is still a loyal member of ZANU PF and this means that he is loyal to ZANU PF ideologies, ZANU PF principles and ZANU PF policies yet it is such policies, principles and ideologies that have brought us to where we are today. Another eyebrow raising incident is that of him filing his papers to contest in the ZANU PF primaries for an MP’s seat in the Makoni District. The question is, if he originally wanted to be president in place of Mugabe today, why was he willing to sit in parliament being led by the same man he is now challenging. His defenders allege that his nomination papers for the ZANU PF primaries were filled by someone else and that Dr. Makoni was out of the country by then. What they have not said however is who instructed that person to complete the nomination for Makoni

Also suspicious is the secrecy surrounding those who are in ZANU PF and are said to be in full support of him. The only close associates that have been seen hanging around the rebel Dr. are Dr Ibbo Mandaza and Kudzai Mbuzi. Save from media speculation that General Solomon Mujuru, Retired Colonel Vitalis Zvinavashe, and former Zipra Intelligence Chief Dumiso Dabengwa are amongst some of his backers, we have not heard of any more and none of those mentioned above have come out to publicly support Makoni. Once again his loyalists have argued that it is a matter of strategy for his other backers not to come out publicly because that will make them targets of the regime.

With less than 40 days to go before the historic harmonized elections, Dr Makoni has a lot to prove to the nation about how genuine he is about altering the fortunes of ordinary Zimbabweans and how capable he is of delivering if he is to be given the chance to do so.

Youths, have your say on this issue. Do you think Dr Simba Makoni offers a better answer to Zimbabwe’s problems than President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai? Do you trust his intentions and why? Please also let us know if you are a registered voter, if you will go ahead and vote and if not why you will not do so?. When you vote will you be voting according to the candidate’s party or according to the candidate’s capabilities.

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