Zanu PF already rigging: MDC

HARARE - After a humiliating defeat at the hands of independent candidate Temba Mliswa, Zanu PF is now allegedly sharpening its rigging tools and has ring fenced rural areas ahead of the 2018 elections, the main opposition MDC has said.

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which is credited with helping Mliswa win the Norton by-election yesterday said rural areas will soon be sealed off by Zanu PF where people will be intimidated to vote for the faction-riddled party.

In a statement yesterday, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Zanu PF plans to raid certain rural areas and use partisan distribution of food to curry favour with potential voters.

“We are also aware of the fact that the crumbling regime has decided to ring fence all rural areas as they strategise to rig the forthcoming harmonised elections. Villagers are being forced to attend Zanu PF meetings throughout the rural areas and traditional leaders have been ordered to draw up lists of all known and suspected opposition political party supporters,” Gutu claimed.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo’s mobile phone was not available yesterday, while the party’s political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere did not respond to questions sent to his mobile phone.

However, United Kingdom-based law professor Alex Magaisa, who is also a former top aide of Tsvangirai, opined that Zimbabwe could be hurtling towards the dark days of 2008, when violence and intimidation became the order of the day.

He pointed out to the violent skirmishes that flared up in Norton as Zanu PF supporters descended on Mliswa’s backers and the silence from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as ominous signs of worse things to come.

The respected academic said that although voters managed to overcome intimidation and also chose to ignore gifts in form of residential stands from Zanu PF to vote for an independent candidate, the threat is still hanging above voters’ heads.

“It is probably an indication of a maturing voter, who refuses to be bought by cheap and insincere gifts. If voters are taking the gifts and still voting according to their wishes, this would be the start of an important revolution in voter behaviour,” said Magaisa.

Still Magaisa warned that Zanu PF could respond to the rebuff in Norton with its “stone age tactics of violence”.

“It remains to be seen how Zanu PF will respond to the defeat. It might choose retribution, using violence to punish voters or simply withdraw the residential stands, feeling jilted by the voters”.

The Norton by-election was characterised by brazen electoral malpractices such as intimidation, violence, vote buying and yet Zec chose to bury its head in the sand, the analysts said.

According to Magaisa, opposition parties should not mistake the critical 2018 election for Norton as the political arena is still tilted in favour of Zanu PF.

“What remains true is that the electoral landscape is still skewed in favour of Zanu PF and Zec continues to underperform in its role as a neutral, impartial and effective supervisor of elections. Mliswa’s success should not deceive the opposition or anyone into thinking that all is well in respect of election machinery in Zimbabwe,” said Magaisa.

Pointing out to the year 2008 when a bruised Zanu PF unleashed a reign of terror on ordinary Zimbabweans who had dared to vote Tsvangirai for president in that year’s March elections, analysts say Zimbabwe will tailspin to the dark days when some areas where sealed off by the ruling party with the aid of the country’s security apparatus.

In Norton, Zanu PF rolled out residential stands, food hampers and other freebies to entice voters but the electorate - that is reeling from economic hardships spawned by Mugabe’s 36 years rule - was unmoved.

Immediately after the announcement of the Norton results, Kasukuwere went on twitter and cryptically said “a lesson has been learnt”.

“Norton has eluded us. Key lessons have been learnt. Thank you to our supporters for coming out and voting for our candidate,” said Kasukuwere.

In its statement the MDC, which was backing Mliswa, was also cautious saying in as much as the Norton by-election was a “triumph” against Zanu PF, it does not necessarily mean that the electoral playing field is now even.

“Whilst we are very pleased that Mliswa won the parliamentary by-election that was recently held in Norton, the MDC remains acutely aware of the fact that the electoral playing field is far from even. Although Mliswa emerged the winner by more than 2 600 votes, the by-election itself was neither free nor fair,” said Gutu in a statement.

The MDC has vowed to boycott all elections in the country until the full implementation of requisite electoral reforms that are consistent with the country’s relatively progressive Constitution.

Through the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), the MDC and other political parties have been pushing government to implement reforms before 2018 elections and Gutu yesterday said “the game has just began.

“As seasoned and experienced campaigners for peaceful, democratic change, the MDC will never, ever sit on its laurels and believe that the electoral playing field is now even simply because Temba Mliswa won the Norton by-bylection. Far from it, if anything, we have decided to up the ante and ensure that our fight for the adoption of electoral reforms goes a gear up.

“We are dealing with a morbidly recalcitrant and stubborn dictatorship in the form of the Robert Mugabe-led Zanu PF regime. This is a dictatorship that will stop at nothing to make sure that it remains in power so that they can continue to loot and cannibalise the little that is now left of our national economy,” said Gutu.


Comments (8)

Let's take this as a challenge. We can and must neutralise the ZANUpf strategies.

Viva Unidade - 27 October 2016

Dont start winning before the game has even started.Obert yu know very well there is no election in 2018.Who will fund it?We dnt want chaos .These elections of 2018 are too chaotic.We need good tyme to plan for 2023.Prepare for that ,not 2018.Too near and no money.

viola gwena - 27 October 2016

@ Viola what do u mean they are chaotic, or u waiting for the demise of the gobling so the army generals will raise their heads and impose the Gugurahundists Mnanagagwa. Let me tell u something for nothing - then it will be opened for all msathanyonko and masses will respond with fire. No to gugurahundi and no to Mnangagwa we have been choosing Tsvangirai and that settles it. Msunu wakho Viola uyezwa.

Ndoda - 28 October 2016

why insult Viola?It may mean she mite have a point.Personaly I move my family out of Zim come election time.Murderous political parties.KNives aer beeng shappened for 2018.

gandanga - 28 October 2016

There is no money to run an election in a year s time.Pple are battling to get little cash from banks that dont have money.Government is battling to pay civil servants, no money.Food imports for our rural folks has stopd coming in,bcoz no money.Hospitals no drugs and a looming drought.Yu expect government to put cash together for an election?Cmon upstairs,get cracking .Wuld yu organise a show in yo house whr yu pay cash when yo kids have no food? No yu wuldnt.If political parties want an election 2018,start hunting for that cash now,1st to feed the country then elections.Country needs $1b for both to 2018.MDC can go to their western finaners n beg for this money ,ZANU go to yo eastern financers ,meet halfway.Other than this no elections till hunger and corruption is weeded.Zanu state corruption ,Mdc towns corruption.

viola gwena - 28 October 2016

Why even bother thinking about elections when all of us already know that the next ones will also be rigged and the masses denied their choice of candidate or party? And why should the rural folk have to endure more mass intimidation something that always happens in the lead up to any election? What is urgently needed is UN intervention, Mugabe forced to step down, an interim Government established leading up to UN supervised and monitored elections. Unless this happens there is absolutely no chance of any real change in this beleaguered country of ours.

Mbewa - 28 October 2016

@Mbewa. I totaly agree.another GNU, will help put resourses together.

viola gwena - 30 October 2016

I can't believe I;m earning much more than what I needed. Trading really is a blessing for me. Why don't you try trading and be debt free like me. Google Superior Trading System to learn how.

unchuabriol - 31 October 2016

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