Extra push needed to counter Zanu: activist

emmerson_mnangagwa2HARARE The MDC-T should adopt a confrontational approach as part of an extra push necessary to counter the threat of Zanu (PF) hardliners and force Zimbabwes former ruling party to relinquish power, a political activist said last week. (Pictured: Emmerson Mnanga

Former student leader Promise Mkwananzi said massive protests by Zimbabweans would be the only way to get rid of President Robert Mugabe and the cabal of army generals that have ensured he remained in power since 2000. He said peaceful means or the reliance on normative institutions alone would never deliver the much-needed political change in Zimbabwe.

From the look of things, winning an election will not be enough for one to govern. However, elections provide a very good basis to launch a mass uprising against Mugabe and drive him out of office for good. This is especially so if Mugabe would, despite his violent campaign still lose the election dismally, Mkwananzi said in a blog published last week. What was required was that extra push to be provided by the masses.

There is no alternative to this. This would include mass protests such as stayaways, boycotts, demonstrations etc compounded with the election defeat; such a situation will put Mugabe regime in a weaker position and will provide the international community with enough bases to pressure Mugabe to step down, Mkwananzi said.

He said the MDC-T should take advantage of disgruntlement among the rank and file of the security forces to mobilise ordinary Zimbabweans to shake the corridors of Zanu (PF) power. That is why it has become so imperative for the MDC to restore its relations with its grassroots-oriented alliances such as ZINASU (Zimbabwe National Students Union), NCA (National Constitutional Assembly), ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) and others who will be very crucial in this seemingly impossible task, he said.

Similar calls by the MDC-T for mass action have however been crashed by the security forces, with several MDC-T and civil society leaders arrested and tortured.

Wont accept defeat

Mkwananzis comments come less than a month after Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa told Zanu (PF) supporters that the party would not stand down if it loses elections many expect to be held next year. Long seen as a potential successor to Mugabe in Zanu (PF), Mnangagwa said allowing the MDC-T to rule would be the same as letting Zimbabwe slip back into the hands of neo-imperialists.

Similar remarks came in 2002 from the late army General Vitalis Zvinavashe and other security chiefs who vowed that they would not accept the results of the presidential election that year if MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai won it. Zimbabwe witnessed some of the worst political violence last year after a parliamentary election that was won by the MDC-T while Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a parallel presidential election but with fewer votes to avoid a second round poll.

In a bid to ensure Mugabe regained the upper hand in the second round vote, Zanu (PF) militia, war veterans and security agents unleashed an orgy of violence and terror across the country, especially in rural areas most of which became no-go zones for the opposition.The MDC-T leader later withdrew from the 27 June 2008 run-off poll because of the violence which was won by Mugabe unopposed.

The MDC-T has recently reported rising tensions in Masvingo, Manicaland and Midlands provinces in particular, and civic groups warn that the country is not ready for an election as the political parties have failed to embrace national healing.

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