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Benjamin Semwayo - Political Correspondent

Profoundly disturbing reports are being reported everyday in the Zimbabwean press. People are fleeing across the border from Nyanga to Mozambique in the wake of violence unleashed by ZanuPF-sposored thugs; scores of political activists including Job Sikala and Munyaradzi Gwisai have been jailed and are facing ridiculous treason charges; the Nyamandlovu Farmers’ hall has been turned into a ZanuPF campaign base despite the fact that MDC-T had booked it first; militia bases have been re-established in Buhera; in Gutu teachers are being forced to join ZanuPF by war vets led by notorious Jabulani Sibanda…the list is endless. The common denominator in all these cases is ZanuPF and its belligerent tendencies.    


The problem is that ZanuPF’s aggression, rather than declining, is in fact escalating as it is choreographed by top ZanuPF strategists. The actual perpetrators of the crimes are rewarded handsomely from state coffers when they should be punished, and in the few instances where they are convicted, are granted undeserved pardon by their corrupt patron, Mugabe. That fuels more and worse crimes against their defenceless compatriots, who are made to pay for failure to demonstrate allegiance to ZanuPF.     

These shameful actions are supposed to be a show of strength before the next elections, which ZanuPF wants as soon as possible before its reportedly ailing octogenarian leader becomes too weak to be fielded as a presidential candidate. These criminal acts, in ZanuPF’s warped mindset, have become even more necessary because of the current wave of protests against dictators in the Middle-East and North Africa, which ZanuPF fears may engulf Zimbabwe and send its much hated leaders packing.

ZanuPF is putting on a brave show to drive fear into people’s hearts by pretending to be a formidable party, but its bravado can backfire because mounting unprovoked attacks on the people can drive them against the wall and force them to make a riposte, igniting protests that otherwise would not happen without that provocation. What people have learnt from the protests in the north is that zizi harina nyanga, manhenga chete (An owl does not have horns, what look like scary horns are just feathers). If powerful regimes that were much stronger than ZanuPF fell, then ZanuPF can fall too.

Of all people, who would have thought that Gaddafi would be tossed around like a discarded toy found by a playful adolescent dog? Mugabe and his ZanuPF are no different. Behind the scenes the ZanuPF leadership is quaking with fear,

On His Way Out - Gaddafi

 and those who can read the writing on the wall have no doubt started packing their bags, but they will not make it obvious that this is what is happening; if anything, they will deny it vehemently while keeping their fingers crossed that Zimbabwe will not be plunged into the conundrum of protests that claimed the heads of some of the world’s longest serving dictators.

Newspaper reports maintain that some cabinet ministers have indicated that they are ready to abandon ship and cross the floor should Zimbabweans stage a protest against Mugabe. Some members of the armed forces have reportedly echoed the same sentiments. If these reports are anything to go by, the dreaded hour is beckoning for Mugabe, and Zimbabwe’s freedom has dispatched its harbinger. All that is needed is a final push. That is how close we are to the freedom of Zimbabwe. The big question is, are Zimbabweans ready to give that final push? We Zimbabweans do not realise that unified, we are just as terrifying as the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans, though Mugabe’s henchmen would have us believe otherwise.   

The fact that ZanuPF is ruthlessly terrorising Zimbabweans shows that its rule has clearly lost its legitimacy. If a ruling party has to stay in power by beating people into line then things have gone seriously wrong. One of the basic functions of any government is to offer protection to its people, not to turn violently against them like a hen that eats its own eggs. Unfortunately that is how low ZanuPF has sunk.

Zimbabweans must demonstrate that the time has come for true democracy, and that they are wise enough to tell the difference between a genuinely democratic election and a sham of an election. For too long ZanuPF has taken people for granted. The time for change has come.