MDC still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship

The former MDC-T MP for Mazowe central on Wednesday admitted that his party is still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship and need to ‘up the ante’ to outwit ZANU PF in future elections.

Shephered Mushonga told SW Radio Africa’s weekly program, the Hidden Story, that the ruling party was skilled in manipulating people or events, so as to gain unfair advantage over its opponents.

‘ZANU PF has been in existence for 50 years and we are only 13 years old. The way they rigged the poll was not about legalese, it was a question of intelligence more than the law and politicking,’ Mushonga said.

The former legislator, a lawyer by profession, said the results of the elections, which ZANU PF’ won’ by more than a two thirds majority, underscores the limitations his party has in intelligence gathering.

‘ZANU PF’s win took everyone by surprise. But how could we as a party fail to see even a hint of the final result? ZANU PF used the referendum to do a dress rehearsal of how they were going to cheat.

‘We said it as a party, that figures from the referendum were spiced up by 10 percent but out of respect for the new leadership of ZEC, we decided to leave it there. That is where we lost the plot,’ explained Mushonga.

He continued: ‘Even when we were campaigning, my leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) was saying the peace prevailing is deliberate because they want to rig in a peaceful manner. But we didn’t interogate ourselves to say how.’

Mushonga said he was not in a position to blame anybody for the defeat but agreed they slept with both eyes shut in the run-up to the poll.

‘When you are dealing with a beast like ZANU PF, never go to sleep with both your eyes shut. Leave one open to see what they’re doing in the dead of the night. But let us be pragmatic as well.

‘We are amateurs in this game and we have to accept that. Our intelligence was non-existent, you need to have somebody highly trained to detect the way they devised their rigging strategy, which was simple,” said Mushonga.

He explained that the rigging involved bussing in people from outside their constituencies, allowing 60 percent of the voters to use fake registration slips to cast their ballots, as well as telling rural voters to ask for assistance during the voting.

In Mazowe central alone more than 6,000 people were assisted to vote, including a deputy headmistress from Kanukanwe school who said she could not read and write.

In 2008 Mushonga garnered over 5,500 votes, beating his ZANU PF rival who got about 3,500. In the July 31st poll, ZANU PF polled over 11,000 with the help of outside voters who were bussed from Matepatepa and Forrester estate in Mvurwi.

‘The million dollar question now is how did we miss all this. Its only coming out now as we are carrying out post mortems in wards and districts. We need to pull up our socks if ever we are going to dethrone ZANU PF from power,’ he added. – SW Radio Africa News

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