The Sunday Mail
Ranga Mataire and Kuda Bwititi
A United States-based strategic think-tank, which has strong links to MDC-Alliance vice president Mr Tendai Biti, has tipped President Emmerson Mnangagwa to “resoundingly win the 2023 elections” in a revealing report released on Thursday.
The report forecasts a Zanu-PF victory in the 2023 plebiscite will be predicated on a “rebound of the economy”, which is presently being held back by the El Nino-induced drought and the strangling effects of the illegal US-led Western sanctions against Zimbabwe.
It further claims that regime change agents can only dislodge the ruling party from power by torpedoing its reform agenda.
Titled “A New Zimbabwe: Assessing Continuity and Change After Mugabe”, the report was published by the Rand Corporation on February 6, 2020.
The author, Alex Noyes, is a member of the US-funded Zimbabwe Working Group that comprises former American diplomats who previously served at various missions in Africa.
Curiously, Mr Biti is understood to be a member of this working group, despite not being an American diplomat.
Throughout the report, Mr Biti prominently stands out as its source and the chief architect of the anti-Zimbabwe strategy that the US is signposting to roll out in cooperation with its allies in pursuit of regime change in Zimbabwe. Quite revealing of Mr Biti’s reasonous role, in December 2018, former Republican Senator Jeff Flake publicly stated that Mr Biti was a close friend of the US.
It goes on to say that unless direct measures are taken to disrupt the ongoing reforms, President Mnangagwa “will remain in power and also be the favourite to win the 2023 elections”.
The report, therefore, proceeds to recommend a raft of measures in cooperation with the MDC-Alliance and its affiliates to derail this positive trajectory in pursuit of regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
The mooted interventions include deployment of concerted and coordinated efforts to subvert Zimbabwe’s security forces, withholding debt relief, new lendings, development support and investment into Zimbabwe, as well as brazenly meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal politics through so-called “professionalisation of opposition political parties”.
Under the guise of “professionalisation of opposition politics”, the report exposes the MDC-A’s declared intention to use food handouts as the mainstay of its rural penetration strategy during its campaign for the 2023 elections, which it has already started.
Last week, MDC-A leader Nelson Chamisa inadvertently disclosed his puppet-master relationship with the US when he told his party’s Mashonaland West provincial assembly that he had already secured funding for his rural outreach projects.
However, the report also exposes the rift within the MDC-A leadership as Washington appears to be backing Mr Biti ahead of Mr Chamisa.
It further tears into the Chamisa-led MDC-Alliance, claiming it has no capacity to hold countrywide demonstrations.
“The MDC is likely to continue to stage demonstrations in urban strongholds but, under current conditions, will likely remain unable to mobilise countrywide protests that could put significant pressure on the Government.”
Insiders in the MDC-A told The Sunday Mail that the US is actively supporting a “palace coup” that would elevate Mr Biti, who is deemed to be more radical than Mr Chamisa.
“It does not require a rocket scientist to unpack why the US government is putting its full support behind Biti’s ongoing palace coup, which seeks to overthrow Chamisa at Morgan Tsvangirai House. They want a more radical approach to the regime change agenda, which Chamisa is accused by his colleagues for failing to deliver in favour of dialogue. The Biti faction has characters such as Job Sikhala who are deemed to be more radical in confronting Government,” said a source within the MDC-A, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation.
Political commentator Mr Richard Mahomva, said Washington was alive to Zanu-PF’s capacity and ability to win the next polls and its only hope is to sabotage the economy in the fervent hope that the electorate will become disaffected with the ruling party.
“There is a clear asymmetrical economic warfare that the West is fighting to effect regime change. However, the West is not detached to Zimbabwe’s political interests and its perennial meddling in Zimbabwe politics is grounded on the need to pursue the post-land reform agenda.
“The West is acknowledging the prominence of Zanu-PF, but it is also being exposed in terms of its wastage of resources in fighting against the spirit of economic decolonisation, which has determined the country’s voting patterns. from Independence and into th long-term future”
The Rand Corporation is a self-declared subsidiary of the Todd Moss Centre for Global Development, a well-known US government think-tank.
This report is being relesed in preparation for Congressional debate in the coming spring, which intends to review the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA). The research was sponsored by the James Harmon Foundation and conducted with the International Security and Defence Policy Centre of the Rand Nationl Security Research Division (NSRD).
NSRD conducts rsearch and analysis for the Office of the Secretry of Defence, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatants Command, the Defence Agencies, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the US Coastguard, the US Intelligence Community, allied foreign governments and foundations