'Brace for more Zanu PF terror'

HARARE - Following the barbaric violence that was witnessed in Norton at the weekend, and which was widely blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF, there are growing fears that the keenly-anticipated 2018 national elections will be chaotic and bloody, as the “dying” former liberation movement fights to stay in power.

Respected University of Zimbabwe politics professor, Eldred Masunungure, was among those who warned in an interview with the Daily News yesterday that a seriously divided and desperate Zanu PF was likely to increasingly resort to using violence to thwart citizen dissent as 2018 beckoned.

“We fear that 2018 will witness the mother of all political violence, amid little doubt that Zanu PF will use violence. What we witnessed (in Norton on Saturday) is an indication of what is in store for the country. If you go back to Zimbabwe’s independence history, this violent tendency has been the pattern.

“With regional eyes off Zimbabwe, and the country largely no longer on the radar, Zanu PF is likely as we are witnessing now to unleash violence in 2018 … it’s not something new as far as Zanu PF is concerned. It’s not an aberration,” he said.

Masunungure’s observations come after bussed-in Zanu PF supporters ran amok in Norton on Saturday, battering supporters of prominent politician Temba Mliswa and engaging in running battles with police — in barbaric scenes which turned the dormitory town into a war zone.

The chaotic scenes left scores of people badly injured and requiring hospitalisation, in addition to forcing Mliswa to cancel his scheduled rally at Ngoni Stadium where thousands of his supporters had gathered ahead of this coming weekend’s by-election in the constituency — including MDC, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members.

The bloody scenes also came after Zanu PF held two undisturbed rallies in the same constituency on Wednesday and Thursday last week, which were addressed by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and ministers Prisca Mupfumira and Saviour Kasukuwere, among other ruling party heavyweights.

Before the weekend’s anarchy in Norton, seemingly deranged axe and knobkerrie-wielding Zanu PF supporters had left for dead four officials belonging to ZPF, who needed hospitalisation after the murderous attack in Guruve.

Commenting on Zanu PF’s worsening thuggery, former civic leader McDonald Lewanika said the violence in Guruve and last Saturday’s battering of opposition supporters were clear signs that Zanu PF would more and more use violence ahead  of the 2018 elections.

“The violence witnessed in Norton is an indicator of worse things to come and needs to be understood in the context of a party that has lost legitimacy because of its democratic deficits and poor economic stewardship.

“Secondly, everything that is happening needs to be understood in the context of a ruling party that has since 2013 been decimating its structures and tearing itself to shreds, leaving it with limited mobilisation capacity on the ground. This is why it is resorting to bloodletting and beating people into voting for it.

“At this point, not just the people of Norton but the whole country must scream out and fight these tendencies because if they are not stopped in their tracks, only God can save Zimbabwe from the disaster and violent campaign that will engulf the country ahead of 2018,” Lewanika told the Daily News.

However, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which had mobilised thousands of its supporters to attend Mliswa’s Norton rally, said yesterday that Zimbabweans would not be deterred by Zanu PF’s use of violence.

“Violence and thuggery are integral components of the Zanu PF political DNA. If they don’t use overt violence as part of their political mobilisation, the Zanu PF regime invariably resorts to electoral-rigging and brazen vote-buying, including dishing out residential stands, farming inputs and food rations.

“The Zanu PF regime is like a wounded but dying buffalo. It is at its most dangerous and brutal stage. The regime will not go down without a lethal and concerted fight. These people are used to a life of looting and obviously they will not let go easily,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

Mliswa himself revealed yesterday that his rally had been cleared by the High Court, further taking a swipe at police for working to bar his supporters from entering the stadium where it was to take place.

“Despite being armed with a court order from the High Court giving us permission for the rally to take place, the ZRP, in total disregard of the legal document and in clear contempt of court, failed and neglected to remove the misbehaving Zanu PF supporters, instead turning their brutality on our people,” he said.

“The disruption created by the Zanu PF supporters, whilst barbaric in its very nature is not surprising and can only be equated to the behaviour of a cornered wild animal fighting for survival or the last kicks of a dying horse.

“It is sad to note the total disregard they have for the already suffering people. Many were injured as a result of the ensuing chaos caused by the teargas, with a young boy critically hurt,” Mliswa added.

The former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson is standing as an independent candidate in next Saturday’s by-election in the constituency which fell vacant following the expulsion of war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa from the warring Zanu PF.

Analysts say stakes are very high in the by-election which is in Mugabe’s home province. In addition, Mliswa has the backing of disgruntled war veterans and opposition parties, and is also seeking to avenge his contentious expulsion from Zanu PF two years ago.

The war veterans were for a long time one of the pillars of Mugabe’s power as they waged brutal campaigns against the opposition.

But they ended their long relationship with Mugabe which dated to the days of the liberation struggle last July, when they served him with divorce papers after growing frustrated by their patron’s misrule.

Comments (5)

Zanu yave zuru rakapinda nyoka hapachina zviripo, vakasadaro havawane kana vote.even its candidate will vote for Themba cz anoziva kt havalume kana chawunga chakajamuka.

Baba Mabearer - 18 October 2016

Zanu yave zuru rakapinda nyoka hapachina zviripo, vakasadaro havawane kana vote.even its candidate will vote for Themba cz anoziva kt havalume kana chawunga chakajamuka.

Baba Mabearer - 18 October 2016

Zanu Pf hooligans must taste their own medicine.Why not fight back.If the opposition remain docile and think that Mugabe will stop violence then we are in dream land.Come 2018 Zanu PF will win through hook and crook and condemn the rest of the country into another long period of suffering before we go into another election.Mugabe is not going anywhere soon and as long as he is in the picture we will suffer. I think its time we call a spade a spade and if they throw stones at us why can't we throw back as well.Its time we do something rather than be tormented by unarmed idiots.Hapana asingagone kukanda tsvimbo.If we do that then SADC and AU might intervene.

chimuti - 18 October 2016

The Robbers and Muggers'dogs......

Clemence Tashaya - 18 October 2016

When is Zimbabwe going to do something about this horrible state of affairs?

Ingwe - 18 October 2016

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