They must be doing something right

You heard that the "Acting First Lady" has been very noisily trying to purge her new constituency of MDC supporters, saying they should be denied food relief and assistance with farm inputs, which in itself is a crime against humanity.

Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa

It doesn't matter that we have grown so used to this kind of treatment that few people can get excited about these actions now, but they are still crimes against humanity.

Then the level of violence is also, not unexpectedly, rising in areas that Zanu (PF) claim to have won in the recent by-elections. Her husband, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was quoted this week as saying that MDC supporters do not deserve to live and if he was God, he'd deny them oxygen. Denying them food and drinkable water isn't enough, it seems.

But haven't you noticed something strange here? All this verbal and actual violence is not being aimed at to the parties which stood against Zanu (PF) in the by-elections. The victims didn't vote against the party. In fact, they didn't vote at all.

And that is what really irritates Zanu (PF). That shows, after all the criticism we have heard of their weakness and blindness in accepting the GNU without adequate guarantees that the agreements involved would be observed by the other party, of their naïvety in taking part in the 2013 elections and their shilly-shallying, indecisiveness and divisions since then, that MDC-T must be doing something right at last.

Zanu (PF) have no complaint against NCA, the Ncube MDC and the other Mickey Mouse parties that stood in the recent by-elections, because they lend a semblance of credibility to Zimbabwe's electoral process, at least in the eyes of those who are looking for excuses for getting into bed with the ruling party, and especially those overseas who want to see nothing in our country but their own investment opportunities.

MDC -T, on the other hand, are now refusing to lend any credibility to the farce our elections have become. That makes Zanu (PF) feel uneasy. That is a sign that boycotting an election is more effective than grovelling for the few scraps of votes that may fall from the fat people's table.

That doesn't mean things will get any easier for us immediately. We can expect that "the darkest hour comes just before the dawn." This shouting shows that Zanu (PF), or the currently dominant faction at least, are running scared. Their leader had been trying to persuade the West that he can keep order, stop corruption and generally make the country safe for their investments, “even if rough methods are needed” as his Western friends and apologists say.

His foreign friends don't mind his ruthlessness; rather it makes them see him as a strong man and they like strong men as allies. His mastery of carefully calibrated violence is a virtue in their eyes. His preferred method was to use no more violence than it takes to keep people frightened into submission.

Now that may expose the weakness of his position. If protests continue in spite of the disappearance of activists like Itai Dzamara and those headmen in Hurungwe who dared to bite the hand that fed them, presumably because they listened to their people, he will face a dilemma.

His favourite methods, equivalent to the quiet dagger in the ribs or the poisoning of opponents, will be shown to be ineffective. He is shouting the sort of things that lead to a lot of "collateral damage" and a lot of blood all over the walls. Those things make his Western backers worry about the safety of their investments. It might even give some of them qualms about the morality of doing business with anyone who has so much blood on their hands.

And then? I can only see storms ahead. There's no guarantee, even if he persuades foreign investors to support him, that he has anyone in his team who can deliver the goods they expect. And that would mean more storms.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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