Political analyst and academic, Alexander Rusero, says the continued incarceration of firebrand Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Job Sikhala is a ploy by Zanu-PF to instil fear on dissent ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
Rusero was speaking during a press briefing on organised violence and torture convened by the Research and Advocacy Unity (RAU) in Mutare on Tuesday.
His remarks come at a time legislators Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and other CCC activists have locked up four months in pre-trial detention.
Rusero said this was unimaginable, blaming the ruling party for lacking democracy.
“In some way Job’s spirit is being broken. That is violence; imagine being separated from your family for more than 90 days without being tried,” Rusero said.
He said the message being communicated is that, in politics, one cannot survive without any backup.
“Zanu-PF is a competitive authoritarian regime which strikes a balance between certain things that are very progressive. There are certain progressive things that Zanu-PF does that one can envy but you cannot take the bush out of them,” he said.
“The bush will always be in them, hence they are striking fear. Competitive authoritarian regimes strike a balance between what is acceptable and what is not; hence that balance retains some minimum degree of legitimacy that they want.
“You can not separate Zanu-PF from organised violence and torture because that was the modus operandi of liberation movement connotations which viewed people in binary characteristics, you either with us and you are Patriot or against us and you are an enemy.
Rusero said the “problematic aspect” of treating citizens as enemies and others as patriots has resulted in organised violence and torture.
“When you hear Zanu-PF saying asingazive ngaadzidziswe (those who don’t know must be educated), what is it they want to teach you and what is the methodology of such a teaching.
“It is not like they will take you to the classroom, the approach is actually organised violence and torture. Looking at organised violence and torture in Zimbabwe precisely with regards to elections, Zanu-PF has been to a larger extent very complicity in being the culprit.”
The Nyatsime16 were arrested four months ago for allegedly inciting the violence which erupted during a memorial service for slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
Sikhala was representing Ali’s family following her gruesome murder and was on the forefront demanding justice.
Ali’s family vowed not to bury her decapitated body until Sikhala is freed.