Firstly, one would ask: when did ZANU PF admit that they were not as popular with the Zimbabwe masses, and that they would lose any truly democratic, free and fair election?
Well, the answer is quite clear: actions speak louder than words.
A cheating husband does not need to verbally admit to his wife of what he is doing – there are clear and unequivocal signs to that effect.
Possibly, the husband would never allow his wife near his phone, or whenever he receives in calls her presence, he answers them privately and in a whisper.
Other signs, might be his sudden lack of interest in his wife, and spending more time away from home on flimsy excuses.
The lists goes on.
The same goes for ZANU PF.
They may never have verbally expressed their fear of losing free and fair elections to the opposition, but all their actions point to the fact.
For starters, the party’s dawdling in reforming electoral laws to be aligned with the country’s constitution is the biggest pointer.
ZANU PF may boast of finally introducing biometric voter registration (BVR) to reform the long-discredited voters roll – that still contained names of deceased people.
However, that is where ZANU PF’s confidence in a fair and free election starts and ends.
Needless to say, Section 155(2)(d) of the constitution, which guarantees the provision to ‘all political parties and candidates contesting an election or participating in a referendum with fair and equal access to electronic and print media, both public and private’, has never been fully complied with by the ZANU PF government.
True to ZANU PF nature, the opposition has never been accorded any publicity in the state broadcaster for months now, in spite of numerous rallies, meetings, and other developments.
In fact, that provision of the constitution – on its own – betrays a fearful government, as there is no reason for political parties to be guaranteed free and equal access to the media only as participants in an election or referendum.
What about at every other time?
Why not guarantee every political party – whether contesting in an election or referendum or not – that same right?
This fear by the ruling party is the greatest betrayal of its admission that it believes that it would lose an election if voters were made fully aware of the opposition’s policies.
If, for example, a husband has nothing to fear and hide from allegations of infidelity, why would he make every effort that as little information about the issue reaches his wife?
If he is confident that his wife trusts him, and he has nothing to hide, he would be more than prepared for her to have as much access to any information as she so desires.
However, the guilty husband will do everything to cover up his tracks.
This could also mean that – even if he is innocent – he believes that his wife is a big bafoon, who would believe anything she heard.
Thus, if ZANU PF’s denial in complying with a constitutional provision for free and equal access to the media for the opposition, is not due to a massive fear of losing an election – then the issue is even more serious than I initially thought, as it would insinuate that our government believes the people of Zimbabwe are a bunch of ignorant, foolish morons, who would gullibly accept whatever they are told.
Secondly, ZANU PF has been clear about its fear of losing a democratic, free and fair election, by their continued resorting to political violence and persecution against the opposition – a violation of section 155(1)(a) of the constitution, which guarantees a ‘peaceful, free and fair’ election.
ZANU PF’s history – even during the colonial days – has always been littered by violence, even against fellow liberation struggle partners as ZAPU.
After independence in 1980, violence has continued being its hallmark, including a shameful genocide, and other subsequent atrocities against the opposition – the climax being in 2008, after the party’s long-held nightmare finally came to pass in a humiliating defeat by the MDC.
Today, after the military intervention in November 2017, which ushered in a new president – under military rule – the violence has not ceased.
In spite of unbelieved assurances by the new president that it was no longer business as usual in Zimbabwe, and that he would insure a democratic, free and fair election this year, the facts on the ground point to a completely different picture – it is still largely business as usual in this country, especially as far as violence is concerned.
The military might have taken power fairly peacefully, as their move to oust the then president was overally welcomed by the population.
It would have been a totally different affair if the people had resisted the military’s actions – as was witnessed only a few weeks later with reports of the army beating up people in some areas in the country for various reasons – as it had taken over all policing functions.
Recently, the government threatened to unleash the army to forcibly remove vendors from the streets – people who are just trying to make an honest living, albeit illegally, but pose no security threat.
Furthermore, there have been numerous reports by the opposition that they were still being beaten up by ZANU PF members, the latest being the leader of one of the parties.
Additionally, members of ZANU PF have allegedly been forcing people to divulge their election registration serial numbers, under the pretext that, as the voting process had now been computerised, they would be able to ascertain who voted for whom.
This primitive means of intimidation is nothing new to the party, as it has been know to threaten voters that they could use binoculars to see who one was voting for.
Other means of intimidation have been, and are still being used, such as using traditional leaders to force villagers into not only attending – or not attending – certain political party meetings, but also whom to vote for.
So, why is ZANU PF so fearful of losing the elections?
Yet, they tell all and sundry that they are popular and will win any election.
Could it be that they know that their economic policies have been disastrous, and that they are still clueless as to how to revive the country’s fortunes, despite their faked confidence in a fancied ‘new dispensation’?
It is quite clear from the state media’s obsession with sprucing up the government’s image in its apparent efforts to revive the economy, that all is not well.
Again, a simple example will get my point across.
Whenever anyone seems to be going out of their way in convincing me of something, red flags go up and I immediately become suspicious.
The same goes for this government and its media – things are not going as planned in this not-so-new dispensation, and all hands have been called on deck.
Without effectively turning around the economy, ZANU PF is all but doomed – and they know that very well.
They know that the misguided euphoria of removing the former president has since waned off, and ZANU PF is quickly reclaiming its long-time pariah status, especially inside the country, where the economic situation is not promising at all.
No wonder it was reported that the new vice president had to resort to ZANU PF’s tried and tested old habits of threats when he was meeting captains of business, in order to force them into reducing prices – begging the question as to what happened to the promises of doing things differently?
ZANU PF has failed in the past 38 years, and with the same team still in charge of the nation, nothing is evidently going to change any time soon, as these people are as clueless as ever.
They know very well that they will never resolve the real issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe, and that their honeymoon of November 2017 is over and the people demand results – as they have had to endure endless unfulfilled promises over the past 38 years, and they can not take anymore.
It is now or never for ZANU PF to deliver, but as sure as the sun rising and setting, so is ZANU PF’s inability to deliver.
The 100 day plans have come and will soon go, and already it is evident that nothing much will be fulfilled – another disappointing episode for the people of Zimbabwe, just like unending miscarriages for a couple desperate for a baby.
After which, typical of the ruling party, it will be back to excuses, finger-pointing, and more oppression.
ZANU PF is aware of the pending defeat, even at the hands of a seemingly disjointed opposition, no wonder its admission of this fact, as shown by its continued fear to adhere to basic constitutional electoral provisions.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director of the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.Post published in: Featured