A WELL-articulated indigenisation and economic empowerment drive spurred Zanu-PF to a crushing victory in last week’s harmonised election. Cde Mugabe , the revolutionary party’s President and First Secretary, put day light between himself and other presidential candidates, garnering a total of 2 110 434 votes or 61.09 percent of the ballots cast.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai polled 1 172 349 votes (33.94 percent) as he came a distant second with MDC president Professor Welshman Ncube third with 92 637 (2, 68 percent) ballots and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa getting 0.74 percent of the vote as 25 416 people backed his dream of becoming President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Development Party president Kisinoti Mukwazhi pulled out of the presidential race too late to have his name deleted from the ballot paper and went on to poll 9 931 votes (0.29 percent)of the total votes cast.
Cde Mugabe needed just 50 percent plus one vote to secure another term in Zimbabwe’s top office, but the best competitors in the world are known to be ruthless.
President Mugabe did what was required and more.
Statistics released by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau over the weekend show that the “grand coalition’’ that was mooted by Mr Tsvangirai and doomed by the reluctance of Prof Ncube, and Dr Dabengwa would not have been able to stop Cde Mugabe from being ushered back into office.
Between the four of them, Tsvangirai, Prof Ncube, Dabengwa and Mukwazhi shared 38, 91 percent of the vote, 11.09 percent plus a vote short of the margin their proposed coalition would have needed to wrestle the presidency away from Zanu-PF.
On the National Assembly front, Zanu-PF secured the two thirds majority it needs to effectively control business in the August House, securing 158 of the 210 seats contested for.
With such muscle, the revolutionary party is able to make amendments to the Constitution without the support of MDC-T and Mr Jonathan Samukange, the only independent candidate who managed to win a seat after unsuccessfully trying for the Zanu-PF ticket.
The signs of a massive Zanu-PF victory had long been there with several pollsters predicting President Mugabe and his party would sweep back to power months before July 31, 2013 was proclaimed as the plebiscite date.
However, after a close shave in 2008, Team Zanu-PF did not need reminders of what would befall them if they headed into the numbers game in a complacent mood.
President Mugabe and his cadres appreciated the need to put every shoulder to the wheel of a well oiled Zanu-PF juggernaut.
The revolutionary party, which went into the plebiscite with a People’s Manifesto themed “Taking Back the Economy: Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment” as well as the catch phrase “Bhora Mugedhi/ Ibhola Egedini”, could have won the election by anchoring its campaign on hammering the weaknesses of their competitors.
Team Zanu-PF could have triumphed too if they had decided to put their main man Cde Robert Mugabe at the centre of everything they did as none of the men he squared up against in the presidential race can be mentioned in the same breath as the icon that is revered across the continent without raising eyebrows.
Put simply, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe could have single handedly scored the goals that would have won Team Zanu-PF the game just in the same manner as the legendary Peter Ndlovu used to do for Highlanders and the Warriors, Knowledge Musona still does for the national team, Lionel Messi does for Barcelona but not Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo does effortlessly from Real Madrid and Portugal.
Zanu-PF could have chosen to go retro, something its critics have often accused it of doing.
However, a party that waged a protracted liberation struggle to deliver Zimbabwe has the right to ride on its proud record against the colonialists as it courts the electorate.
Who will speak, with authority, about the ultimate price paid for our Uhuru apart from Zanu-PF?
There could be a dozen more ways Zanu-PF could have gone about scoring in the just ended harmonised elections but the party showed it had its finger on the pulse by deciding to put some cents into its indigenisation and empowerment programme.
It’s difficult to argue against the notion that no other route would have yielded a victory as resounding as the one the party’s indigenisation and empowerment anchored manifesto delivered.
Prior to the launch of the People’s Manifesto at a packed Zimbabwe Grounds on July 5 the revolutionary party’s empowerment initiative made sense but not cents to the ordinary man.
One would have been forgiven for brushing off the empowerment talk as a campaign gimmick but by eloquently breaking down the puzzle Cde Mugabe and Zanu-PF scored goals long before ZEC, under the observation of nearly 20 000 observers and the scrutinising eyes of the international media, signalled for the match to start at 7 am on Wednesday last week.
In his foreword in the People’s Manifesto Cde Mugabe linked the past, present and the future and did not make a secret of what his party would seek to do if it won the elections — further improve the lives of Zimbabweans.
“The People’s Manifesto of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) for the 2013 harmonised elections comes against the background of the enduring and unforgettable fact that it is Zanu-PF which liberated Zimbabwe after prosecuting a heroic armed struggle,” he said.
“It was the people’s resort to the bullet that won Zimbabweans the right to the ballot that everyone enjoys today as a legacy of our liberation struggle.
That legacy permanently connects past, present and future generations of this nation with one another. It is a legacy that we all own as Zimbabweans.
“The essence of Zanu-PF’s ideology is to economically empower the indigenous people of Zimbabwe by enabling them to fully own their country’s God given natural resources and the means of production to unlock and create value from those resources.
“Through our deliberate socio-economic policies and achievements since our heroic independence, we have laid a firm foundation for the attainment of this strategic goal.”
With millions earning a better living on the back of hugely successful land reform programme Zanu-PF was always guaranteed of the vote of a man who never enjoyed the comfort of a pram as a baby but is now cruising in the latest wheels acquired using money generated from tobacco farming.
However, it was imperative for the party to demystify an indigenisation and empowerment programme, which had already seen thousands of Zimbabweans benefiting from the Community Share Ownerships Schemes, set up in all the country’s provinces, ahead of the elections.
Amid a pledge for its indigenisation and empowerment drive to become more transparent, accountable and tangible President Mugabe and Team Zanu-PF showed that they have the interests of the people at heart.
Now with its story well captured in the People’s Manifesto the Zanu-PF machinery got oiled with President Mugabe preaching the empowerment gospel at 10 well subscribed rallies while the party’s National Assembly candidates went to the cell level reading from the same verse as their leader.
So while others talked of friends with money, compared the electorate to people who walk without underwear in front of their in laws, took a dig at the age of its presidential candidate as well as seeking to sell devolution to an electorate that spurned it during the constitution-making process the revolutionary party stuck to its indigenisation and empowerment template.
“We want to better your lives,” Zanu-PF told the electorate. Clearly the electorate listened and gave the revolutionary party the nod into power and swung a lethal boot that condemned pretenders to joblessness and political obscurity.