Purges show Zanu PF rigs elections — Analysts

HARARE - The ruthless removal from their positions of  former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies is a tale-tell sign that the ruling party does not win elections democratically, analysts say.

With the brutal decimation of the surprisingly popular Mujuru and her sympathisers now in full swing, observers say no political party with a strong grassroots base would make such an unnecessary and “unpopular move.”

Among a coterie of prominent Zanu PF figures who have been removed from office on trumped-up charges of fanning factionalism and plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe from power are the likes of Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche, Rugare Gumbo and Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.

But with the past achievements of these Zanu PF big-hitters conveniently swept under carpet and their “transgressions” trumpeted up with astonishing relish, analysts told the Daily News that the systematic purges were a reminder that the road to power in Zanu PF was not the people, but Mugabe.

Alex Magaisa, a Kent University law lecturer in the United Kingdom, said Mugabe had, by mercilessly removing all perceived Mujuru loyalists, inadvertently revealed that the party had little regard for popular will.

“The purges are obviously designed to remove people with a remote connection to Joice Mujuru. As for their previous landslide victories (in legislative elections), Mugabe probably knows it was not their doing but because of electoral manipulation.

“So Zanu PF will just have a new set of people and still manipulate elections like before,” Magaisa said.

Since the year 2000, when a then well-organised MDC emerged to challenge Zanu PF's iron grip on power, Mugabe has been accused of rigging his way to power. Recently, a judgment that had been kept under locks by the South African government revealed that the 2002 polls were neither free nor fair.

“The fact of the matter is Zanu PF uses you when it wants and dumps you as it pleases. These guys are just the latest in a long line of those who have met this fate before. It merely strengthens Mugabe by having pliant loyalists around him,” Magaisa said.

Maxwell Saungweme, a Harare-based political analyst, concurred with Magaisa, saying Mugabe and Zanu PF’s political power rested in the manipulation of the electoral system.

“It is on public record that Zanu PF’s electoral victories, even victories of individual MPs, were questionable. No Zanu PF MP could really win free and fair elections under the current circumstances.

“So booting out these people, some of whom were implicated in violence against opposition supporters in the past may weaken Zanu PF. All these people who are being booted out, including Mujuru, represented Zanu PF, a violent and undemocratic party,” Saungweme said.

Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher with the Human Rights Watch, said, “Zanu PF is a shell that operates through State machinery, especially security forces. The question is, after this will the State infrastructure remain loyal to Mugabe if he goes on to create a family dynasty by appointing his wife deputy”.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) said although Zanu PF was now structurally weak after removing crucial cogs from the party, Mugabe through control of key institutions still wields significant power.


Comments (1)

Ndokupera kwazvo. Gurwe rinoramwa zvokudambura gumbo rosara risina chokufambisa. Mudhara aenda uyu.

Candid - 10 December 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.