Zimbabwe Elections: A time-bomb
By Farai Mamina
Unless the faculties of one’s mental institution are ad idem with the ageing faculties of mere gap-fillers like Didymus Mutasa, there is no way one would see nothing wrong with the army being deployed to campaign for Zanu PF or any other party to survive election defeat. Whether one supports MDC, MDC-T, MDC 99, Zanu PF, MKD, Zapu, MLF, any other or are non-aligned; they are still bound to painfully bear the effects of a protracted and costly war. Close analysis can reveal that a catastrophic plethora of anguish and bloodshed due to some people’s failure to convince the electorate appears to be inevitably meandering its way into promulgation. A single person’s side-netting is about to see the nation descending into anarchy as if they were a demi-god or something.
Having read through the latest pages of Zimbabwe, one thing for certain is that when Zanu PF announces a strategy, they stick to its implementation. Any announcement from them is so important to their credibility, (whether good or bad) so much so that they celebrate any proposed barbaric execution thereto. Similarly, when Zanu PF hears an announcement from another party, they take it as serious threats needing perfected strategy to deal with rather than as cheap talk. In the news recently: “Our party is already in election mode” – Zanu PF Chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo was speaking on behalf of the party. How is “election mode” defined within Zanu PF’s sensitive confines? Well, based on empirical evidence from previous elections, when Zanu PF talks of election mode, they probably mean chaotic mode. During election time, historical accounts have proved that Zanu PF force marches people to rallies, introduce curfews and institute Jonathan Moyo’s draconian POSA act. It is a trend they are used to and each time they publicly announce their shifting into election gear, violence erupts everywhere in the country. The absence of the word “peaceful” in Moyo’s announcement and any assurances of calm thereto could mean their ‘normal’ abnormal election campaign business has gotten underway as usual.
The MDC-T’s own announcement promising to deal with the CIO is good, but not that vigilant. Douglas Mwonzora said that they are planning to “deal with the CIO” when they get into power, thus signifying some shortcomings in their planning strategy. If at all MDC-T needs to see Tsvangirai winning presidency and assuming office, then party strategists need to come out of their cacoons and start dealing with the central intelligence organisation now before missing the target then. MDC-T needs to realise that party demonization by Zanu PF, sitting in office and talking to people through Studio 7 and the papers are not going to be trump cards to winning this election. Party bigwigs and members of parliament are supposed to roll-out an effective campaign strategy that can see information reaching the first person on the grassroots. In this election it is time for MDC-T and any other party to go back to the basics and not formulate, prove and disapprove assumptions as if it were a normal election. The army, whose announced strategy is that of mounting a coup if Tsvangirai wins, have already started implementing their intended strategy by teaming up with Zanu PF to force-mobilise voters for Mugabe and the party. This is a sign that they mean business.
In Chitungwiza, bus termini have been turned into inspection tall-zones with Zanu PF youths reportedly terrorising motorists and demanding US$1 per motorist, most probably to get a packet of maize meal and some sewage watered vegetable. Under a democratic environment, where the smoke bears no fire, bus termini are supposed to be used for the purposes for which they were installed. However, given a much more liberalised society coupled with their evident lack of use, bus termini alongside stadia could also be allowed to be used by any political formation to address people peacefully and encouraging then to make election choices carefully. With such a scenario, literally everyone in the constituency would be interested in paying a visit to the bus termini to hear what the “better informed” amongst youth will have to say. Alas, such an ideology does not apply where Zanu PF is involved. This is what will start the fire if anyone tried to out-campaign them.
Under the Zanu PF scheme, highly mobile armoured soldiers shall be strategically located in all provinces, districts, at growth-points, schools, hospitals and churches and at every corner of urban and peri-urban streets. With such control, the army’s grand plan, which in this case is a bloody coup, is much easier to carry out when the time approaches. With this master of a plan in place, Mugabe is resting assured of a 2013 out and out victory over the MDCs and their presidents. But offcourse why not when there is no counter-action from other parties competing for power space? For their (Zanu PF and army’s) frightful strategy to be rendered ineffective, it takes another equally dreaded or even better strategy. Having said that, how about army for army? Since Tsvangira does not control any army in the nation, how about SADC and AU deploying their own special peace-keeping squads to derail the Zanu PF planned commotion. Is it still impossible or debatable when alarm bells are this loud ringing? If such a move is not considered, shall we then conclude that SADC is full of reactionaries who would rather act only when things have happened and not before? Tsvangirai and his other equally vulnerable colleagues must lobby SADC and AU intervention.
Adding spicing to the baboon meat: Should the impending blue fire begin to burn, the situation is likely to be further exacerbated by countries like China whose presence in Zimbabwe is of economic interest. China being Mugabe’s former ally has not completely cut-off ties with him. On the other end, they seem to be moving motions back in China to begin to support Tsvangirai who has since stricken a likeable chord in their anthem. Caught-up in such an ambiguous position, China is likely to double-play by supplying ammunition to both sides bearing in mind that whoever emerges victorious will remain their friend. In the midst of the chaos, Chinese companies like Anjin will have ample time to exploit the expensive diamonds unregulated – a war situation will make it even more difficult for treasury to monitor mining activities at Chiadzwa. It will be tough for an ordinary Zimbabwean who has for thirty-two years been told having a knife in the pocket is a crime punishable with a heavy sentence. Millions who no longer know how to cut bread with their own hands will have to learn using a gun in the midst of fire.
Whatever the case, the truth is when the Zimbabwean election bomb finally discharges; the whole region of SADC will breathe its hazardous toxins with long-lasting and permanent after-effects. Through a man-manufactured discourse, a Fukushima-kind of disaster is waiting to be deciphered in Zimbabwe with many bound to have their ample bodies deformed. The deliberate gobbledegooking over a new constitution is a ploy by some to derail future generational change processes from taking off on a firm foundation. Since 2000, the nation is in limbo because of autocratic beliefs of a few hotheads who ostensibly still believe they can win some grave accolades of brutality.
The future of Zimbabwe cannot continue to be like a construction project without an end. Today Zimbabweans are being ridiculed right-side-up as foolish academics that cannot make things right in their own backyard. Someone somewhere has to tell these politically doping athletes to be ready to accept and respect election results and learn to move on. Zimbabwe is bigger and much more of the essence than Mugabe, Tsvangirai and whoever else will be participating in the election race. SADC and AU must wake up and smell the coffee.
Author: Farai Mamina is an independent political analyst, information and PR expert based in Namibia. He has previously provided notable and documented commentary on VOA’s Studio7. For insightful political analysis, Farai can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com