Zanu PF has gone to the dogs

HARARE - Italian philosopher, diplomat and historian Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli advised politicians that in pursuit of power, brutality should be the name of the game.

In Zimbabwe, we have witnessed such brutality as politicians use barbaric means to gain power.

But what we are witnessing in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has reached alarming levels and people maysoon start killing each other all in the name of fighting to succeed the 90-year-old leader. While we have always known that Zanu PF lives on deadly factional fights, deceit and naked lies, the latest public fights in the divided party is now scary.

The latest fight started when the State media fired sniper shots against Temba Mliswa and 11 other Zanu PF Members of Parliament, that they had links to the American spy agency, CIA. Within hours of the potshots, Mliswa the Hurungwe West legislator fiercely hit back, claiming that Moyo was orchestrating the accusations.

Mliswa yesterday accused Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Psychology Maziwisa among others of being gay gangsters in typical Mugabe language.

Mliswa would have been better served ignoring these issues. His return salvo has now escalated this crisis and perhaps prodded the targets of his barbs to start challenging the allegations legally. 

The acrimonious war of words between the two sides unfortunately strengthens the public perception that both Zanu PF factions have lost faith in the agendas spelled out in their party manifesto or ZimAsset and are resorting to personal attacks in desperation.

By reducing the level of the political discourse, it proves that even the party hawks feel that they cannot win the battle of ideas on the basis of the issues of good governance and inclusive development. This is not a good sign for a mature democracy.  Responsible political parties and their leaders, who put forward their contesting claims to form the current ruling government, must confine their debate to alternative models of governance.  They should rise above petty personal issues and convince Zimbabweans that they are not only committed to address the mounting challenges facing this country, but have the required capacity to deliver on their promises.

By resorting to mudslinging, they are diverting public attention from the burning issues that confront the nation. Mudslinging is bad for democracy. Where has civility in Zanu PF gone? Whatever happened to the time when political differences could be settled by debating the issues passionately and intelligently rather than suggesting or implying that your opponent is a liar, a crook, a spy or gay?

We have now exceeded our tolerance for political mudslinging, deceit, lies and half-truths, manipulation and shouting as the standard means of communication.

Please, gentleman, can we rise above this kind of politics?

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