HARARE – Events of the past week have demonstrated how deeply divided Zimbabweans are.
The voting patterns which emerged at just-ended harmonised polls mirrored the dichotomy between the rural folk and urbanites, whereby those who bore the brunt of the liberation war effort in the countryside voted for Zanu PF, with the latter rooted for the MDC Alliance, led by Nelson Chamisa.
Voting preferences between the young and middle class were also incompatible with those of the older generation, which largely voted for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party.
Instead of bringing the country together, the July 30 polls have exposed home truths that require an able leadership to deal with, and not to paper over the cracks.
Before the poll results were even announced, there were demonstrations in the capital that terribly went wrong when the army used live ammunition to disperse protesters, resulting in the needless loss of lives.
That police and army presence has since increased is indicative of the divisive nature of our winner-takes-all kind of politics.
A lot has been said about what needs to be done to get Zimbabwe’s economy working again. In our well-considered view, none of what has been suggested would work until the country’s citizens begin to work together.
It is therefore critical that Zimbabweans themselves find a solution to the current impasse between the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF.
The MDC Alliance has rejected the outcome of the polls and is currently weighing its options.
It doesn’t, however, appear like the MDC Alliance can reverse the poll result, never mind the severity of their concerns. To start with, the legal route is a dead end because the courts are not known to pass judgments that go against Zanu PF.
Also, the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), have since congratulated Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party for winning the elections, while advising those aggrieved by the poll result to seek recourse in the courts.
This is hardly surprising. Sadc and the AU are dominated by liberation war parties, and they operate like an old boys club, inclined towards shutting out anything that threatens their grip on power.
While the international community might kick and scream over the blemishes in the just-ended polls, they have no leverage at all over the Zimbabwean situation.
All this does not, however, remove the fact that the country is confronted by a crisis of gigantic proportions, which can only be resolved by Zimbabweans themselves.