Zanu-PF politburo bent on polls despite SADC concerns

2011-05-14 16:30

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has vowed to forge ahead with elections this year.

This is despite the misgivings of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) about whether any polls there could be free and fair.

At a lengthy and heated midweek meeting, the politburo, Zanu-PF’s supreme decision-making body, renewed calls for early elections.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “There is no change on the elections issue. We will have elections this year.

Zimbabwe cannot be ruled by SADC. We are a sovereign country and SADC can only help us where it can.”

Zanu-PF’s latest about-turn on elections has increased perceptions among observers that Mugabe has lost his grip on the party – which “unanimously” endorsed the 87-year-old leader as its election candidate during its yearly congress in Mutare last year – and given way to hardliners to run party affairs.

Mugabe, whose political fortunes are seen to be weakening, is faced with deep divisions and infighting in Zanu-PF, a firm stance by SADC against his violent crackdowns on opposition political figures and persistent rumours of ill-health.

And now a diplomatic source has warned of “an open war” with him at the next SADC meeting, scheduled to start on Friday in Namibia.

Because of the likelihood of a clash, indications are that the Windhoek meeting may be postponed.

Said the diplomat: “The insistence [of some party members] on going it alone appears blissfully oblivious to the fact that it is solely through the SADC-sponsored Global Political Agreement that Mugabe has the legitimacy to be Zimbabwe’s head of state.

If Zanu-PF does it, it would simply be to their detriment.”

It is likely that should elections take place at Zanu-PF’s insistence, Mugabe would rely on support from security forces to ensure his victory.

A survey by Freedom House says support for Zanu-PF now stands at 17% (up from 12%), making the party less keen on delaying the poll. 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.