Zanu PF dreads losing 2018 polls

HARARE - With Zimbabwe’s 2018 national elections fast-approaching, Zanu PF looks decidedly fearful of a repeat of the party’s stunning 2008 election defeat, and has started working to eliminate all its perceived threats that could lead to another unexpected election outcome in three years’ time.

Analysts say it was in this light that President Robert Mugabe himself threatened to kick out of Zimbabwe Western diplomats who he accuses of sponsoring dissent in the country, including supporting hundreds of thousands of street vendors who are eking out a difficult living in urban areas as a result of the country’s worsening economic woes.

The Daily News reported last month that paranoid authorities also fear that the street traders are a potential security threat, as life gets harder in the country, while political tensions continue to mount nationally — particularly within Mugabe’s warring ruling party.

After initially threatening to unleash the country’s feared military on the hapless vendors, the government then somersaulted on that decision and ordered local councils to take on the difficult responsibility of cleaning up the cities — a brutal exercise that has since seen thousands of hawkers being removed from the streets and scores of their leaders being thrown in prison.

“We do not need the British and American ambassadors here. We do not do what they do when we go to their countries, so we are saying behave and you will be in peace with us, misbehave and we will kick you right from the bottom,” Mugabe thundered as he excoriated the West.

He said vendors had no right to resist eviction from the country’s various CBDs.

“If you had your place selling your wares and you are not caught, then when we get you we say we want to relocate you and you say no, dzinenge dzave nharo (that’s defiance). We then see British and American Ambassadors giving you money we will kick them out of the country,” Mugabe said, adding that “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never, ever!”

With more than 90 percent of the country’s population unemployed, many, desperate to earn a living in any way possible, are now into hawking. Disappointingly for many of them, the new places designated for their use by the Harare City Council are far away from the buying public and therefore not conducive to operate from.

And while Mugabe and his administration argue expediently that the vendors are a menace, critics say the ruling party is wholly to blame for the reasons that have created street hawking as a profession, and should thus first address the push factors that are forced hundreds of thousands of people into the streets.

The critics also say that another factor worrying the authorities is the group of leaders at the helm of some of the vendors unions — which has links to the country’s opposition.

For example, former MDC youth secretary Promise Mkwananzi heads the Zimbabwe Information Sector Organisation — and Stanley Zvorwadza, who lost his bid to represent the MDC in the 2013 elections, heads another militant vendors union Navuz.

But Mkwananzi says emphatically that his outfit has no relationship with the British and the Americans.

“The president’s assertions, with all due respect, are not only unfounded but also shocking. The vendors don’t even know where the British and the Americans are found.

“Vendors are actually crying out to president Mugabe to ensure that his government delivers the two million jobs it promised, in order to ease pressure on vending. President Mugabe is also called upon to rein in his ministers to ensure that they embark on a human rights-based approach in resolving this matter.

“The process must be consultative and inclusive of the vendors. The issue of the abuse of women and children by municipal authorities is a great cause for concern,” Mkwananzi said.

In the meantime, Zvorwadza and Navuz director Samuel Wadzai, were arrested on July 14, along with 14 vendors who had made peaceful inquiries with authorities about their wares.

The 16, were last week granted $50 bail each, and ordered to report to their nearest police station once every two weeks, in addition to surrendering their passports and being asked to reside at their given addresses.

Human Rights Watch Southern Africa senior researcher Dewa Mavhinga said Zanu PF was “typically scared of elections”.

“It is quite obvious that no-one, including Mugabe and his government, genuinely believes that the Americans and the British are involved in sponsoring vendors in a country where 72 percent of the people live in abject poverty.

“This is a diversion, typical of mediocre leadership under this government which is forever looking for someone to blame for its glaring governance failures.

“Instead of insulting struggling vendors and coming up with such tall tales, the authorities should acknowledge the problem and immediately find ways to address it in ways that ensure respect and protection of the rights of all citizens, including street vendors and the activists who represent them.

“What the government needs to do is to work with the vendors to find a way for them to work freely and safely.

“Zanu PF is perpetually in a shadow-chasing mode, afraid of everything, afraid of elections because of bad governance which fuels disgruntlement in the electorate which, if able to vote freely without coercion would reject Zanu PF outright,” Mavhinga said.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme weighed in saying there was nothing amiss in vendors’ unions receiving donations.

“Civil society has three main functions: being voices of the voiceless, advocating for respect of human rights and dignity, and extending life-serving programmes where the government and the private sector’s interventions fall short.

“It’s not illegal in Zimbabwe for civil society organisations to get foreign support. I think Mugabe is realising that the high-handed response of his regime to vendors’ plight will backfire in the next elections.

“As you know, the political economy in Zimbabwe is key in determining who wins elections. Vendors have emerged as a key constituency that will have a huge influence in the next elections, hence Mugabe’s discomfort,” Saungweme said.

Comments (7)

..who will loose 2018 elections,maybe opposition.coz we at zpf have won in advance,with our nikivu,forget 2018 elections.

jare - 5 August 2015

Jare, while what you are saying has some elements of the truth; I have a strong feeling that in your comment you are just playing the devil's advocate- you are setting the agenda.

nelson ndlovu - 6 August 2015

The stage has been set for a motherly figure to lead . The end is nigh for the tyrant . The other 'mother' shall gracefully surrender into obscurity.

My Prophecy - 6 August 2015

History repeat itself we all know that and without mincing my words zanu will be defeated by MDC in 2018 election and the defeat will be bigger than that suffered in 2008 .

Diibulaanyika - 6 August 2015

If I was ZPF I would also dread losing elections come 2018. No one has wanted them since 2000 and they know it! They have dug a very big hole and they have fallen into it. It is called judgment! And yet they refuse to repent!

TruthBTold - 6 August 2015

If the electorate comprised of only people on these pages, MDC-T would win. But the reality is that people who dont waste their time on such pages in Mutoko, Murehwa, Muzarabi, Rushinga, chiredzi etc will bring victory to ZANU PF. So dont fool yourself pliz

godfrey gudo - 6 August 2015

godfrey gudo unfunga nekushure zanu haina kwaichadiwa.Vanhu kunyarara zvavo kwese kwawataura.

chitsiga - 7 August 2015

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