By Wilbert Mukori| The contemptuous arrogance of President Mnangagwa is soaring to new dizzying heights!
“Mnangagwa says Zanu-PF is the only demo
cratic party!” screamed the headline.
“PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday thousands of ruling party supporters at a Zanu-PF youth convention in Gweru that Zanu-PF was the only democratic party in the country that allowed people to freely choose their candidates without any form of coercion,” said the report.
How many “democratic” parties in history does President Mnangagwa know of that have to resort to “a military assisted transition”, known to everyone else other that the Zanu PF coup plotters simply as a military coup, to remove its leader?
Zanu PF is using coercion to win these elections. The party has paid the Chiefs their bribe, a new twin cab truck each, and the other traditional leaders to coerce rural voters to attend Zanu PF rallies and, ultimately, vote for the party. It has deployed Chris Mutsvangwa’s rogue war veterans backed up by 5 000 Army personal to campaign for the party, reminding the populous that the violence that swept the nations in 2008 will return if Zanu PF should lose these elections.
Zanu PF is not using blatant violence this year, preferring to rely on its reputation as a party of ruthless thugs. This is operation harvest fear! “Kurova imbwa wakaviga mupini!” as the Shona would say.
President Mnangagwa and his coup putsch know their regime is illegitimate by virtue of having seized power unconstitutionally. They had no choice but to promise to hold free, fair and credible elections (promising is one thing delivering is another) just to take the sting out of those who were going to demand action to be taken again the regime. Using blatant violence would have been a dead give-away for one claiming the elections are free and fair.
There five basic reasons why Zanu PF has decided to put its thugs on even shorter leashes this year than in 2013:
1) The people were very pleased to see the back of Robert Mugabe and to be saved from the nightmare of having his erratic and scatter brain wife’s taking over; they hugged and kissed the coup plotters for the deliverance. President Mnangagwa and his junta have milked their new found heroism for all its worth and hope this will propel them to electoral victory. The truth is the people have a very short and selective memory; a serious fault with equally serious disastrous consequences.
Mnangagwa and his junta are the individuals who are responsible for imposing Zanu PF and Mugabe on the nation for the 37 years of the tyrant’s long stay in power. It was Mnangagwa and his junta thugs who have carried out the bulk of the vote rigging, looting and wanton violence to establish and retain the Zanu PF dictatorship. It is common knowledge that it was the junta who forced Mugabe to stay in power after his heavy defeat in the 2008 elections and they then carried out all the blatant cheating and violence that followed.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Perence Shiri, Constantino Chiwenga and all the other Zanu PF thugs have shed the blood of the over 30 000 innocent Zimbabweans murdered in Zanu PF’s 38 years reign of terror. Shine the light of justice on them and they will glow like scorpions under ultra-violet light!
Contrary to junta’s propaganda spin portraying the November coup as a fight to save the nation from “state capture and to remove criminal elements” from Zanu PF. The coup was about wrestling political power from Mugabe and giving it back to the junta, who are the heart and soul of the Joint Operation Command, the shadowy junta and the real power behind Mugabe all these years!
In their myopic “Mugabe must go!” fixation the people have mistaken the demise of the dictator as the end of both the dictator and the Zanu PF dictatorship. Mnangagwa and the junta are only too glad for the chance to masquerade as “new dispensation”, even “the only democratic party”. When the people finally open their eyes and see that the corruption, the vote rigging, etc. has not ended and the party’s new-found popularity start to wane the junta will revert to its tried and tested ways to retain power.
The removal of Mugabe was no more than a black mamba shedding its old skin. Just because Zanu PF has not used it hallmark wanton violence does not mean it has lost its black mamba fangs and venom!
2) The junta has inherited the Zanu PF dictatorship complete with its control of State institutions such as ZEC and the security services and therefore the carte blanche powers to rig elections. In the 2013 elections, Zanu PF showed that the party could use other subtle vote rigging schemes, other than using violence, and had the great fortune of have the unfettered access to public resources and the billions of dollars of looted public wealth to bankroll its schemes.
The junta has promised free and fair elections but has pointedly refused to implement any meaningful democratic reforms designed to end the party’s influence and control of ZEC, Army, public media, etc. The junta has certainly toned down on the use of blatant violence and it is hoping the nation and the international elections observers will consider this sufficient for the elections to be judged free and fair.
3) President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business!” call was a welcome reassurance. With the country’s economy is such a mess that unemployment had soared to 90%, ¾ of the people lived on US$1.00 or less a day, etc.; it was wonderful to hear a political leader putting economic recovery firmly on his national agenda. Many Zimbabwean voters are willing to vote for the junta just to give “ED a chance!” But once again, the people’s short and selective memory is playing tricks on them.
The people are forgetting that Mnangagwa and his whole team have been senior members of the Zanu PF governments all these last 38 years; why did they do nothing to stop the country going to the dogs, if they are as competent as they now claim to be. Worse still, the junta’s “Zimbabwe is open for business!” has already failed to attract the flood of foreign investors.
Investors are shrewd lot, they have looked ED in the eyes and they saw the same old Zanu PF thug of yesteryears who is claiming to be a democrat, to con the naïve and gullible! Zimbabwe is still a pariah state ruled by corrupt and vote rigging thugs; investors do not do business with thugs!
4) Zanu PF has suffered greatly from the time the party booting out of former VP Joice Mujuru and her supporters to the dramatic events of last year’s coup throwing out Robert Mugabe and the G40 members. The party has fractured and imploded. The only reason the party is still here is that it is a party of thugs whose only true allegiance is to whoever is in a position to give them power and wealth. For the time being, Mnangagwa and his junta has emerged as the powerful faction and as long as the junta is able to feed the insatiable appetite for power and wealth of the party members – an impossible task given the ever worsen economic situation – there will be peace in the party.
The junta is hoping the truce in the party last throughout the elections and not result in another 2008 “Bhora musango!” in which Mujuru supporters voted for Zanu PF parliamentary candidates but voted for MDC presidential candidate.
5) Ever since the GNU, Zanu PF has never been more susceptible to pressure to abandon its dictatorial powers than it is now. The party has just imploded, members know the truce following the coup will not last long, the air is heavy with mistrust and intrigue. The junta promised free, fair and credible elections with no intention of keeping that promise, even with the present favourable political environment the junta was not going to risk losing power by holding free and fair elections.
Lucky for the junta, the opposition is fractured and there is confusion and pandemonium in their camp. The opposition is not only unable to take advantage of Zanu PF’s vulnerability, but they are so disorganised and incompetent the opposition presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, is making Emmerson Mnangagwa look “mature, responsible and wise,” as the BBC HardTalk presenter aptly put it.
Ever since this nation started talking of the need for democratic change in the late 1990s the nation’s priority was to dismantle the de facto one-party, Zanu PF, dictatorship. By refusing to implement any democratic reforms, President Mnangagwa has just proven beyond all reasonable doubt that although the dictator, Mugabe, has gone the obnoxious dictatorship itself is still very much alive and continues to rule the roast! These elections must therefore be about rejecting Zanu PF and thus finally deliver the democratic changes the nation has been dying for all these years!
The people should not be fooled by this year’s relatively peaceful elections into believing Zanu PF is now a democratic party, it would have implemented the reforms and given up its dictatorial powers if it was. Many of the things that made it easy for the junta to tone down on the need for blatant violence to win the elections this year will not be there in future elections and the regime will revert back using violence.
As long as we have done nothing to dismantle the dictatorship the will be no hope of holding free, fair and credible elections!
Compared to the nightmare elections of 2008, all the junta has done is rollback on the naked violence; and for that we, the electorate, are expected be impressed and show our gratitude by voting for President Mnangagwa and his junta on 30 July. But just to be absolutely certain Zanu PF wins with the usual landslide victory the party has retained all its other vote rigging powers – no public media, no verified voters’ roll, etc.
“Zanu PF is the only democratic party!” roared President Mnangagwa. Yeah right! The only democratic party yet to hold free, fair and credible elections after 38 years of rigged elections!