Fear grips tense Zim

HARARE - There are growing fears that a panicking ruling Zanu PF — infamous for its leaders’ crass boasts that they have “degrees in violence” — has started unleashing its terror machinery to remain in power ahead of the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

This follows the worrying resurgence of violence across the country in recent weeks, including a savage crackdown on the opposition and pro-democracy activists by authorities as civil unrest continues to escalate in tandem with Zimbabwe’s dying economy.

Suspicious riots rocked Harare on Tuesday, as police fought running battles with supposed protesting street vendors in the capital’s central business district — amid stunning claims that the troublemakers in fact belonged to factions within the warring Zanu PF.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was” easy to connect the dots” and see that Zanu PF had launched its 2018 assault on the opposition and rights groups, all of whom have been at the forefront of agitating for the ruling party’s ouster from power.

“Zanu PF is going for broke and wants open confrontation, the kind of thing that we have always prayed would not happen. It is symptomatic of a state under siege, but we only hope we are not going to lose lives. We fear for the worst,” said prominent academic Ibbo Mandaza.

Prominent politics professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Eldred Masunungure, also said he feared that Zanu PF was already “rehearsing its 2018 strategy” using violence.

“We are witnessing the reincarnation of the Zanu PF modus operandi of unleashing violence against its critics ahead of elections.

“It could be argued that the ruling party wants the violence to be blamed on the opposition to justify an extension of the prohibition order against demonstrations that has been limited to Harare in terms of its geographical scope,” he said.

“They want to portray a picture that Harare and its confines remain a hot spot. Zanu PF realises that a state of emergency will be extremely damaging to its reputation in the eyes of the international community as it would be an admission of failure by the state to establish political stability.

“While it remains a possibility that they will do so, in my view it is very improbable. I maintain that this is Zanu PF’s default style to resort to violence. The party is basically in a violent early election mode,” Masunungure added.

Tuesday’s violence in Harare came as police came under pressure to arrest Zanu PF mobs who left for dead officials belonging to the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), during bloody skirmishes in Guruve on Sunday.

Then, seemingly deranged Zanu PF youths ran amok, embarking on an orgy of political violence targeted at four ZPF bigwigs — including a retired senior military official and former diplomat — and forcing a local school to close on Monday.

The barbaric attacks by the axe-wielding mobs also saw property worth tens of thousands of dollars, including two vehicles, being destroyed in the historically volatile Mashonaland Central province — as fears grew that this was a harbinger of worse violence to come in the next few months.

WomenforWomen, an organisation advocating for women’s rights, also said the violence of the past few days was clearly not consistent with the pro-democracy forces who had been emphasising non-violent actions to protest the current political and economic crisis.

“Tuesday’s violent clashes by their very nature are alien to us and have the character of everything we are against. The logical conclusion is that the malicious violent attacks were committed by other people.

“And if we follow the logic of history and trends, Zanu PF naturally becomes a major suspect. We are aware that the regime is desperately trying to craft a narrative of a violent citizens’ movement so as to justify a clampdown.

“The most unfortunate detail is that we have a partisan police force that cannot carry out investigations and make people account for their actions, and so impunity prevails,” the organisation’s co-ordinator Maureen Kademaunga said.

On its part, the MDC said Tuesday’s demonstrations were “clearly stage-managed by Zanu PF” to create conditions for the further harassment of the opposition and rights groups.

“The Zanu PF regime is a very seasoned dictatorship, an experienced tyranny.  The strategy is to cause alarm and despondency as a precursor and justification for the declaration of a state of emergency.

“Mugabe is going for broke. Never ever think that he will surrender power on a silver platter. There is going to be blood on the floor. As it is, the Zanu PF regime has almost completed the rigging process of Election 2018,” said its spokesman Obert Gutu.

“The regime will vigorously oppose the call for electoral reforms because the securocrats as well as the CIO have already advised Mugabe and his inner circle that Zanu PF will perish if a free and fair election is to be held in 2018.

“As such, opposition leaders and civil rights activists will be hunted down like rats. There will be arrests, abductions and even detentions. Don’t under-estimate the Zanu PF regime’s capacity for thuggery and brutality. Remember, Mugabe himself once boasted that he has got degrees in violence. He wasn’t joking,” Gutu added.

Former civic leader, McDonald Lewanika, said Tuesday’s violence was indicative of a party that was bent on achieving “multiple victories by using smoke and mirrors” tactics.

“Zanu PF’s use of agent provocateurs may be calculated to achieve two things. First, it is likely to be calculated to create a premise for a further clampdown on civic groups and opposition parties on the premise that they are disturbing the peace and destroying property.

“Secondly, it could also be calculated to remove sympathy for the protestors from business and ordinary people who were deliberately targeted in yesterday’s violence.

“For if they believe that these were the actions of Navuz vendors, #Tajamuka or opposition parties, the indiscriminate destruction of property and violence which ordinary citizens got caught up in loses them support,” Lewanika told the Daily News.

“Fear can make such a regime unreasonable, placing the possibility of formal and informal curfews and state of emergencies firmly on the table,” added the former Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition executive director.

Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April 1980, is battling to save his long political career as citizen unrest escalates over the ever-deteriorating quality of life locally, which they blame squarely on his misrule.

But the increasingly frail nonagenarian has not taken lightly to the challenge to his power, unleashing the country’s security apparatus on the restive populace with devastating consequences — amid fears that the government may effect a State of Emergency to foil further protests.

Two weeks ago, police and soldiers ran amok in many of Harare’s high density suburbs where they indiscriminately beat up nightclub revellers, before they also ordered the early closure of shops in Chitungwiza.

Authorities also savaged and arrested scores of pro-democracy activists and opposition members coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), who were holding nationwide protests to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

This was despite the fact that demonstrations outside central Harare had not been included in the current police ban on mass action of any kind.

Comments (18)

When faced by brutal and blood thirsty Boer govt in the 60s, the hitherto peaceful ANC leader Nelson Mandela questioned the wisdom of advocating for non-violent struggle whn his people were being slaughtered daily. Eventually the ANC mobilised for an armed struggle and retaliated because in all cases a dictatorship is not going to back down unless matched with the same tactics they use.

Jairosi - 29 September 2016

Jairos, you have spoken all. The rigime has to be confranted with immediate effect.

Chemical Solution - 29 September 2016

We need dialogue,seriouse dialogue an d negotiations.Violence is not the answer at all.Ngwena and Save have to sit dwn now,for the economy to rise and give all these idle men n women jobs.If yu go everywhr ,its idle men,in parks,rurals ,townships,idleness.This is a danger to our country.Let dialogue start at that level,vp ngwena n pm save.PLEASE.we are a dying nation now.

viola gwena - 29 September 2016

Televised town hall meetings and public debates with the government!!!

Young Zimbo - 29 September 2016

Nigeria's president has declared war on national "indiscipline",creating a task force that will ensure orderly queues, clean streets, and punctual meetings across the country. In Zimbabwe we have a different type of indiscipline in actual fact it is a crime, where people engage in socio-economic sabotage. President Mugabe should declare war against people undermining the indigenization and economic empowerment of black people, by working with/aiding the enemy (the slave and colonial masters). Africans including Zimbabweans fought wars against white enslavers and colonialists, today sellouts are trying to bring them back, they know their crime that is why they are gripped with fear. Mugabe should now set up a task force of patriotic professional and technocrats representatives across all socio-economic sectors and declare the war against socio-economic sabotage.

ADF - 29 September 2016

ADF if you get out of your own way for just a minute you will realise that it is your dear President Mugabe who has in fact undermined indigenisation and economic empowerment of black people, it is he and his minions suc as you ADF, who has engaged in socio economic sabotage and become the defacto enemy/slave master, the black-on-black type which knows no limits in terms of cruel excess and repression. Its all Bob, so wake up and smell the coffee ADF sha I pity you

Fadzie for President - 29 September 2016

@ADF. Take a few minutes to reflect on this: Mugabe is opening our country to foreign intervention by suppressing voices of dessent. Why ? Because he has no plan to extricate himself from the mess he landed our country. Take it the way you like but what I can tell you is there is no reverse of the push by people. Mugabe knows that - he read a lot of history. Liberation war credentials with which he prides hiself are now viewed as a badge to opress fellow Zimbabweans with an aim to loot the country. Beating and killing people is not the answer. It only help to make matters worse for him. Infact these are crimes him and his cronies will have to answer for. People will die but he( or his posterity) will have to answer for that no matter which country they have designated as their safe haven. There is nobody in Zimbabwe greater than the country itself. if you do not believe me you will learn it in a couple of months(not years) to come.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 29 September 2016

@Viola Gwena. What diologue are you talking about ? Since when have you seen/heard Mugabe listening to Zimbabweans ? He says we are his people, his people whom he can treat as he wishes for his own ends. He thinks he is the one and only one who liberated us from colonialism. His ultimate aim: The day he dies Zimbabwe should be embroilled in chaos so that it would appear without him we can not function peacefully as a country. Its no coincidence that people are now saying his foreign roots is the reason why he has an unfounded grudge against us. There is no leader of a country who value the citizens and, at the same time , treat them the way he treats us. Enough is enough, he has to go.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 29 September 2016

All dictators have done all these mugabe dirty tricks, and they collapsed with them. No matter pain endured dictators always emerge as losers with nothing to show off on their tombstones. Mugabe does not have imagination this country have been in existences for years and it shall continue to do so. Some generations to come will take it forward.

X-MAN IV - 29 September 2016

Dialogue gave victory to Mandela.Dialogue gave Mozambique peece.Dialogue gave us GNU.We need dialogue now ,not violence.Our children have suffered enuf.Men cant provide for their families.There is no worse situation for any men than failing to feed family.Men have no jobs.Leadership is now needed to get us out of this mess.ngwena and save must start talking n brief president mugabe on way forward.Our economy must provide our men n children jobs.Plse.Its not too much to ask,JOBS.

viola gwena - 29 September 2016

Setting up 'task forces'... thats exactly what Zimbabwe needs lol. We are running out of medicine, money and our recources are inefficiently being used(they're being stolen and ill exploited by zanu pf cronies) but still, none of this is the current governments fault? 15 billion dollars worth of diamonds were stolen! even the president admitted. but nooo you still want to blame the west. even the potholes,i guess it's their fault aswell. The goverment needs to take some bloody responsibility!

Young Zimbo - 29 September 2016

It is surprising that people can choose to life in fear forever in their country . Why not stand up and end fear using the same method that zanu uses . We are many we can easily over run those who are causing fear in our nation with easy . This thing of morning and morning will never bring peace in this country . Just muuru the idiots they are just fewer than us the oppressed . kumele ku citheke izishebo kudabuke amabhulugwa and then peace will come att last .

Diibulaanyika - 30 September 2016

Hatichatya

starvonic - 30 September 2016

Gwendo guno hazvikoni majaira those rotten guys should taste their own medicine ZIMBAMBWE ARISE

starvonic - 30 September 2016

arise zimbabwe, we cannot continue seeing our country going down the drain with him, EVEN IF U MAKE MUGABE HERD CATTLE DZORASIKA DZOSE WHY GIVE HIM A COUNTRY. WE HAVE YOUNG STARS WITH NEW IDEAS FOR DEVELOPMENT. ZIMBABWE ARISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ZVIKUHLE - 30 September 2016

@Fadzie for President, I have problems with you when you address President Mugabe as my president, so he is not your president that means that Zimbabwe is not your country. So leave us Zimbabweans to strategize and plan to deal with those who do not subscribe to the Zimbabwean or African agenda.

ADF - 30 September 2016

@ Masamba Akareyo-Tanganda, foreign intervention in Zimbabwe or Africa did not start with Mugabe or Kwame Nkruma, it started with the crafting of the UN Charter in 1945 to exploit Africans and their resources under a very complex system of deception including human rights, that is beyond the comprehension simple minded Zimbabweans who would rather watch soccer than read African, European and American history. So when we talk about criminal relationships with the former slave and colonial master people react/respond from a position of ignorance.

ADF - 30 September 2016

This nonsense of foreigners mingling in zim affairs does not exist it only exist to fools and those who went to Border Gezi camps to be pumped with zanu shirt in their brains . The only problem in our country is Mugabe finish and klaa . Mugabe has brought untold suffering to this country 36 years of his rule has condemned this country back to stone age period .Zim was not the only country which was once ruled by whites why make a lot of this nonsense about colonizers when other countries who were colonised like us are making wonderful progress economic wise . Mugabe his followers those causing fear must be halted by us citizens even if it means driving them out of this country for the sake of peace and prosperity lets do that now now now time is not on our side every one sane stand up fight zanu terror with anything that you can lay your hands on demity!!!!!!

Diibulaanyika - 30 September 2016

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