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Makoni: friend or foe?


Former Zimbabwe Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni announced earlier in the week that he will run for presidency in the forthcoming Zimbabwe general elections and his move has rattled both the ruling Zanu PF party and the major opposition the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Since the start of the year there had been rumours that Makoni was going to start a new party drawing its leadership mostly from the ruling party but he will instead be standing as an independent candidate which is a very interesting scenario.

So I think both the ruling party and the opposition must be wondering whether Makoni is a friend or not. For a start I think Makoni will draw support from disgruntled Zanu PF supporters as well as dissatisfied MDC supporters but the question is how much will that support be and will that be enough to carry him over the line.

A lot of questions are flying already and one of them is how many people will be prepared to vote for an independent presidential candidate and then how independent will he be. Also is an independent president the way to go for Zimbabwe or is a party sponsored candidate a better one since he or she will be answerable at least to his party.

In his speech he suggested that he will form a government of national unity but what stops him from drawing most of his cabinet from the Zanu PF since he supposedly knows them better.

For the opposition MDC they have problems of their own after their split but I think they should fear that he will take most of his support from the urban areas because those are the people who are likely to know who Makoni is. That should be a worry for the MDC.

In the rural areas I doubt he will have much in-road especially as he doesn't have a party to rally around him but will be depending on his name to get through. I don't think Zanu PF will be very much worried about that.

But to me the big question remains: why did he leave it until so late? Will he be able to dissociate himself from the policies of a government he was so closely linked until this week?

I think we will see some of the answers when he goes on the campaign trail and start asking people to vote for him and not Robert Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai and tell them that he is the answer to Zimbabwe's mounting problems.

To finish off I think its a good thing that he has come out to challenge Zanu PF and I think that has taken a lot of bravery on his part but he has a lot of work to do if he is going to win the presidential election.


Tichawona
Simba's coming into the field of play of the Presidential game.It will test the level of tolerance on divergent views on both ZANU (PF) and MDC.

Already Simba is being criticised by his former party members as a puppet of the British and Americas.To people in Zanu PF,ANY ONE WHO OPPOSES THEM NOMATTER HOW CONSTRUCTIVE IS WORKING FOR THE British & Americans.

To the MDC camps Simba's coming into the field of play will show them that their split was a big let down to the people who had so much faith in them. However my personal observation is that Simba's coming into this game is a bit late and will only help to further split the opposition votes and this will work well for Mugabe.

He should have come a bit early in order to sell his ideas to the electorate. He already have a lot of support from the urbanites,but those in the rural areas needed more time to know him better.

Overally he is a good leader and if given due respect and recognition by the electorate ill deliver some positive results for the country.
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Wes
Thanks Tichawona for the comment. I also think he should have announced his intentions earlier on to give himself a fighting chance and establish his name especially among the rural electorate.
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Matt
I don't think Simba is a decoy, but neither can he save Zim! He is just too small to make any meaningful change. Any big guns should have come up immediately. To be flanked by Ibbo Mandaza and some unknown former major general is not a grand opening! Will see.
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Wes
I think Matt that some of the big guns if ever there was in the first place developed cold feet and Simba decided to go alone to start with. Its a big undertaking to tackle Mugabe but we will see if the other big guns emerge at some stage esp. before the elections.
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tyndale
I think Makoni's supporters will reveal themselves later after the nomination for MPs is finalised . Right now Bob is making frantic efforts to identify these rebels in ZPF and it is to the Makoni faction's advantage not to reveal themselves now .From what I heard the plan is to wrestle ZPF from Bob not to leave ZPF .
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Wes
Tyndale, I think that explains why he is saying he is not leaving the party. But wrestling Zanu PF from Mugabe's grip may not be that easy and I suppose he must have a lot of support to do that. It could well happen possibly.
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Todd
I think Makoni really wants to wrestle Zanu PF from Mugabe whether he wins or loses the election. His supporters in Zanu PF will not openly show their support for him until after the nomination process for MPs is complete. These will be the pro Makoni Zanu PF MPs.

Itís a dilemma for Mugabe, he wants to weed out the Makoni MPs but cant because they havenít declared themselves. At the same time the nomination closes in one week. Itís a game of poker going on in Zanu right now.

His last minute candidacy is most likely to take Bob off guard. The mistake that MDC made in 2000 was to challenge Bob too early. Remember, MDC formed a good year before the 2000 elections which gave Bob and the CIO ample time to dismantle them and wear them down using the CIO. So don't just discount the timing, he would have thought about it.


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Wes
Thanks Todd, hard to tell with the timing but you could be right, it could be well calculated.
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