BY Ben T Semwayo – Political Analyst
Zanu-PF is not Zanu-PF if its modus operandi is not characterised by violence, use of state machinery to terrorize the electorate and blatant violations of every law in the rule book. Recent developments attest to the veracity of this assertion. The media is awash with credible reports of how the party has sunk to a new low by unashamedly implementing its gasp-inducing atrocious methods of silencing the opposition. Below is a snapshot of the outrageous events that have happened in the last couple of weeks.
MDC-T rallies that were scheduled to be held in Lupane, Binga and Victoria Falls, addressed by non other than the Prime Minister himself, Morgan Tsvangirai, were violently stopped by the overzealous riot police armed to the teeth, ostensibly and ironically because the police did not have enough manpower to man the events, although magistrates Gwazemba and Ndluvu had handed out court orders permitting the holding of the rallies.
The riot police, brazenly singing Zanu-PF songs, attempted to stop the Prime Minister’s tour of St. Paul’s Hospital in Lupane. This is unutterably shocking. Just what sort of country is this? The MDC-T MP for Mkoba was arrested on false charges. The terror group Chipangano in Harare is recurrently making headlines for unleashing a reign of terror against MDC supporters, with the support of the police.
Solomon Madzore and multitudes of other MDC supporters in Bulawayo were recently arrested on trumped-up charges. Zanu-PF activists attacked MDC officials at Harvest house. Bussed-in Zanu-PF youths, supported by the police, barred Theresa Makone from addressing an MDC rally in Hatcliffe. Zanu-PF youths stopped an MDC rally at the Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza.
These are only a few of the events that show that Zanu-PF is trying to win by hook and crook, while the police are demonstrating an outrageous level of partisanship. Many other cases have been reported in the press; while even more go unreported as such behaviour has become endemic. The police, for all practical purposes, have become Mugabe’s personal bunch of criminals, the instrument by which he ensures perpetual grip on power in Zimbabwe, which might as well be on Zanu-PF’s payroll.
What is abundantly clear from these events is that Zanu-PF’s brutality, complemented by the police’s bias, is here to stay if the opposition does not take decisive action. For too long, Zanu-PF has vehemently denied stoking the fires of violence but the evidence on the ground tells a different story. The pattern of the events shows beyond any shadow of doubt that these events are sanctioned at the highest level of the Zanu-PF leadership. Recent press reports have exposed Zanu-PF’s strategy in the 2008 election, where its election candidates, including ministers, were allocated thugs to ratchet up an orgy of violence in a futile attempt to ensure a bogus win by Zanu-PF.
It is now common knowledge that Zanu-PF can never win a fair election in Zimbabwe, which is why they are resorting to the worst kind of villainy in their campaigning approach.
It is the MDC that invariably is on the receiving end of the Zanu-PF-cum-police brutality, and never Zanu-PF. The MDC has the reputation of being a peaceful party, to a weakness, according to some analysts. The party is accused of being too docile, considering the profundity of the provocation that it endures. Zanu-PF, however, knows that without violence it has not a dog’s chance of survival, and it also knows that in the event of a physical showdown with the MDC it always ends up as a proxy battle with the army and police joining the fray with guns blazing on its behalf.
The recent clash between Zanu-PF and MDC supporters in Hatcliffe is a case in point. For that reason violence is an indispensable ingredient of its scheme for staying in power at all costs.
It is unmistakable that the police force, the army and the judiciary favour Zanu-PF. To begin with, the utterances of the civil servants in the top echelons of these arms of government declare in no uncertain terms that is their chosen way of dealing with the politics of Zimbabwe.
Next, the MDC officials fall victim to harassment even for the most innocuous actions they take and utterances they make. Known perpetrators of crime are not prosecuted, and in the unlikely event that they are prosecuted and convicted, they are the benefactors of ludicrous presidential pardons.
These are serious setbacks caused by a rogue political party, but unfortunately the problem caused by Zanu-PF’s intransigence cannot be wished away. Difficult decisions have to be made and drastic measures taken. Tunisia, Egypt and Libya made difficult decisions and took drastic measure; now they are free. Zimbabwe needs to make difficult decisions and take decisive action. What will Zimbabwe do? When will we say enough is enough?