The recent carefully orchestrated violent disruptions of the Constitutional conference by a rented ZANU PF rowdy mob in Harare should not be viewed as an isolated incident of thuggery. Instead, it is part of a comprehensive ZANU PF strategy that has been developed over time and has been deployed with reckless abandon coupled with a characteristic nauseating indifference to human suffering.
It fits neatly within the ZANU PF’s horrendous scheme of imposing its will on the people without any grain of remorse. History abounds with examples of the manner in which this Party has trampled upon the rights, hopes and aspirations of its people with impunity.
The realities of today’s onslaught on innocent civilians are just snippets of ZANU PF’s grand plan – to cow everyone into submission while positioning the Party as the supreme body in the day to day affairs of the state.
One Party state mantra
Such deluded warped logic was nurtured in the pre-independence era when Robert Mugabe steadfastly toiled around with the folly of one party state democracy. He was so obsessed with the one party state mantra to the point of intoxication. This explains the brutal manner in which the war against dissidents in Matebeleland was executed soon after the country attained independence in 1980. The plan is simple; deal ruthlessly with any potential opposition and eliminate their challenge to the political establishment.
To begin with, ZANU PF does not envisage a situation where another political Party will ever rule Zimbabwe other than itself. In fact, it has never entertained the idea of multi-party democracy. As a party, it is allergic to the idea of two competing political parties co-existing in harmony. That is why the only credible opposition party in post independent Zimbabwe, PF ZAPU, was later swallowed through the unity accord in 1987, bringing to an end, a sad chapter in the history of our beloved Zimbabwe.
Before the signing of the Unity Accord, ZANU PF had visited the people of Matebeleland with the notorious fifth brigade which embarked on a brutal military campaign against innocent civilians that left over 20 000 either dead or unaccounted for. Such merciless mass killings have prompted some human rights groups to call for the indictment of Mugabe for crimes against humanity.
Although Mugabe has regretted the pitiless killings, referring to the darkest post independent period in Zimbabwe’s history as a moment of madness, he has however, in trade mark hawkish fashion, never offered an apology or compensation to victims or surviving family members of those who perished. Not even a healing process through a truth and reconciliation commission is conceivable in ZANU PF’s scheme of things, preferring instead to hide behind the flimsy excuse that doing so will ‘open old wounds’. What hogwash? It is perfectly acceptable for the modern day politburo to constantly talk about the wounds caused by colonialism but it seems wounds created by our own people against each other are not to be mentioned at all!
Sadly, the Matebeleland massacres hardened Mugabe’s tenacity and such bloodshed has been used as the yardstick to define and redefine ZANU PF’s modus operandi in pursuance of its narrow selfish agenda vis-à-vis the national interest. ZANU PF brooks no impediments. Whatever stands in their way they uproot. In a nutshell, it is either you are with them, or against them. Pure and simple. It is on the basis of such an intolerant dogma that the anti-people crusade was wheeled into motion.
In developing this thesis, I will constantly replenish readers’ memories with a few illustrative examples from historical archives. Such cases clearly demonstrate that the disruptions that characterised the constitutional conference in Harare are not in any way, one-off skirmishes that can simply be attributed to the so-called remnants of the old regime who are failing to realise that the only constant thing in life is change itself. Such incidents fit neatly into ZANU PF’s long standing selfish, broad based anti-people crusade that has been deployed with alarming regularity by the unpardonable and morally bankrupt foot soldiers who have unashamedly declared their amenability to manipulation
More worryingly, the rowdy mob was led by youth minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, who constitute the young generation of trusted subservient apologists of the geriatric leader. Their deplorable complicity in the chaos that engulfed the constitutional conference venue is a harbinger of worse things to come especially, given their two allies’ special relationship with a leader who boasts of degrees in violence.
The 2000 Constitutional Process
In 2000, ZANU PF contemptuously subverted the will of the people by shamelessly foisting on the nation, a discredited constitution that was hijacked at the crafting stage, in pursuit of self-serving interests. We were told ad infinitum, that ‘the people had spoken’. But what the people actually said, inexplicably, got lost in translation.
Quite refreshingly though, the people’s response to such blatant manipulation of the constitutional reform process was unequivocal. En masse, the people resoundingly rejected the doctored version, by voting ‘NO’ in the referendum.
Such an overwhelming response against the ZANU PF government’s preferred position sent shock waves within the rank and file of the Party. Mugabe in particular, was visibly stunned by such an open rejection and has never forgiven the people for such a basic lesson in humiliation. He masked his anger by sounding misleadingly magnanimous in defeat in a public address. It was a classic case of calm before the storm. Without warning, thugs that fondly refer to themselves as war veterans struck.
The war veterans’ response marked the beginning of farm invasions, chaos, the suspension of the rule of law and worse still, state sanctioned violence. There was a bloodbath and we are all aware of the shear extent of the madness. The ZANU PF propaganda was that the ‘NO’ vote was sponsored by white commercial farmers who opposed the provision in the new constitution which empowered the government to compulsorily acquire land, a stipulation that would leave the affected parties with no recourse to any legal challenge.
At one point vice president, Joseph Msika and the then minister of Home Affairs, Dumiso Ndabengwa, the two lone voices of reason, called for an end to the mayhem by acknowledging that as a demonstration, the farm invaders had underscored their point. It was now time for an orderly land reform programme, the two men argued.
This appeal was made in Mugabe’s absence, since he was away on one of his usual Vasco Dagaman trips. Unfortunately, the two gentlemen were not preaching the original ZANU PF ‘gospel’. This is understandable because the two gentlemen are not themselves original ZANU PF anyway.
And not surprisingly, when the ‘dear leader’ returned, he ordered the invaders to stay put, marking the beginning of the end of serious commercial agricultural productivity. In doing so, Zimbabwe has embarrassingly scored a first. It has earned itself the dishonourable reputation of being the former breadbasket of Southern Africa that made a remarkable overnight transformation into a miserable begging bowel. It sounds exaggerated but that is the sad reality.
We are now importers of maize from Zambia and South Africa, the two countries that have been sensible enough to welcome former Zimbabwe white farmers. To be honest, the two countries are reaping the rewards of their leaders’ prudence. In our case, we have of late been busy stock-pilling our harvest of thorns owing largely to our leader’s narrow-mindedness. I do not remember any period in our country’s history, ever importing food from Zambia. But, that is in the past now.
No fair minded person has ever been against the land reform programme. The bone of contention has always been about the manner in which the land has been distributed, which has left the country facing human induced famine. What started off as a vindictive war against white commercial farmers, degenerated into a senseless onslaught on the country’s food security. Food shortages, hunger and starvation are now common place. No sensible person can honestly say that the land snatch that we have witnessed by Mugabe’s henchmen was undertaken in the interests of the people or the country as a whole. Nor can we pretend that in doing so that the wounds of the past have been healed. The sad reality is that the greed of a few has only deepened the heartache and suffering of the masses in Zimbabwe.
Persecution of White Judges
Closely linked to the racially motivated war against white commercial farmers was the onslaught on white judges, accused of working against the land redistribution programme. One by one, the white judges were forced into early retirement including the then Chief Justice, Antony Gubbay who was hounded out of office.
This paved the way for Godfrey Chidyausiku, Mugabe’s preferred choice, to be appointed Chief Justice. According to critics, the partisan manner of Chidyausiku’s appointment left the judiciary heavily compromised. It exposed the once impartial judiciary to political manipulation, which threatened its long standing and cherished independence and neutrality. With Chidyausiku’s appointment, the judiciary was effectively Zanunised.
Elections in 2000 and 2002
By any stretch of imagination, both the parliamentary and presidential elections held in 2000 and 2002 respectively, could never have been conducted in peace, especially after the rejection of the ZANU PF sponsored constitution in an earlier referendum in 2000. ZANU PF was seething with anger and someone had to pay for such an open defiance.
The violent land invasions that were now in full swing had set the tone for a vicious campaign that was to follow. Unprecedented levels of pre-election and post-election violence drove many hapless individuals out of the country into foreign lands. The rural areas were declared no-go areas for the opposition MDC. Most of the MDC parliamentary candidates were virtually unknown to the electorate, for fear of persecution. This was a brutal campaign by a Party that is in the habit of negating the will of the people willy-nilly.
However, people refused to be intimidated though, and the MDC got 57 seats in parliament, a remarkable performance for a party that was barely six months old and unable to campaign due to state sponsored violence. In the 2002 presidential elections, the violence intensified since the stakes were high.
Nevertheless, Morgan Tsvangirai narrowly lost by a mere 400 000 votes. Independent observers were convinced Tsvangirai won the election but Mugabe’s men had again subverted the will of the people through rigging. The MDC leader declared the election result the biggest electoral fraud in history. Once again, Zimbabwe was stuck with an increasingly unpopular leader for another six long years.
Still smarting from a mauling in the urban areas which overwhelmingly voted for the MDC in both the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000 and 2002 respectively, Mugabe’s thugs launched a sting operation intended to intimidate the electorate into accepting the results of the stolen presidential election.
It was a pre-emptive attack in which soldiers laid siege on unsuspecting city dwellers in Chitungwiza and Harare’s poor suburbs. Such unprovoked brutality is beyond comprehension to say the least. An undeclared state of emergency was imposed against civilians whose only ‘crime’ was the exercise of what is indeed their inalienable right to vote for a leader of their choice in a purported democratic country.
As if that was not brutal enough, ZANU PF callously declared war on the people in urban areas through the indefensible operation Murambatsvina which left many homeless in the middle of the winter season. It prompted the UN special envoy, Mrs Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, to declare the operation grossly disproportionate and inhuman because of the heartless manner of its execution.
Lives were lost, property was destroyed and people were displaced. School-children, the sick and the elderly, suffered the most. The wanton destruction of people’s shelters and livelihood sources was akin to a scorched earth military style policy only conceivable in a war situation. And yet this was an ‘elected’ government unleashing mayhem against its own people.
Threat to De-register Humanitarian Aid Agencies
As hunger and starvation ravaged the countryside, the government saw it fit to suspend the activities of NGOs engaged in the distribution of food for humanitarian purposes. In its wisdom or the lack of it, the Mugabe government even had the audacity to threaten NGOs with deregistration if they continued handing out food to the starving masses.
These NGOs were accused of spreading opposition politics under the guise of food distribution. ZANU PF’s paranoia had hit new levels. As a Party, they failed to comprehend how the MDC had made inroads in the rural areas, once considered ZANU PF strongholds.
March 2008 Harmonised Elections
Still fresh in everybody’s mind is the manner in which ZANU PF once again subverted the will of the people in the March 2008 harmonised general elections. It took more than a month for the Electoral Commission to release the presidential election results which Mugabe clearly lost. It is believed that during that month long period the results were doctored in order to rob Tsvangirai of clear victory.
Tsvangirai refused to participate in a rerun, citing violence perpetrated against his supporters. Logically, Mugabe should have been deemed duly elected President of Zimbabwe since he was unopposed. Simple common sense! Anyway, common sense is something that is not normally associated with ZANU PF.
There is not a chance of such an association ever being remotely possible in the not-so-distant future, not even by mere coincidence. Mugabe pushed ahead with an unnecessary one man show and declared himself the winner, a result that should have been pretty obvious even before anybody had cast a single vote.
It is within the context of ZANU PF’s unashamed endemic disregard of the people’s will that the recent chaotic scenes at the launch of the constitutional reform process ought to be considered. ZANU PF has a notorious reputation for not respecting the will of the people.
Only ZANU PF supporters, including the myopic war veterans, are licensed to cause mayhem with calculated malice and never face the consequences of their heinous actions.
According to the ZANU PF violence manual, anyone who rapes, tortures, maims, injures or kills, in the name of the Party, is a ‘principled’ defender of the gains of the liberation struggle. That’s the ZANU PF way.
The scepticism with which the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has greeted the government led constitutional process has at last been vindicated. Within the context of last Monday’s ZANU PF sponsored chaos; the NCA’s parallel constitutional process is not only desirable, but justified. At least the civil society is on the side of history.
Ladies and gentlemen, least you forget, we have been on this treacherous path before, please, be warned: TRUST ZANU PF AT YOUR OWN PERIL! This deceitful Party is selling us another dummy. Beware! Forewarned is forearmed, goes the old wise saying. Extract of an article published by Kenneth Mawomo at Hat News.