Gwisai case: Another example of Zanu PF’s desperate tactics

March 26, 2012 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 25 March 2012 11:35

Suppression of people’s liberties has largely been a major weapon through
which dictatorial regimes maintain their grip on power across the world.
However, it is a pity that most dictatorial tendencies yield short-term
gains that benefit uncouth leaders and their political allies while
derailing the basic welfare of the majority.

The arrest of the Zimbabwean lawmaker, Munyaradzi Gwisai and his
International Socialist Organisation  ( ISO) colleagues, is a  clear
testimony to Zanu PF’s desperation and lack of sound policy consistency
which has, resultantly, swept away its popularity, leaving it with little or
no option, except to adopt dirty tactics to silence dissent.

Such methods, although meant to clip the wings of opposition political
movements, are likely to be detrimental by shrinking Zanu PF’s support base.
Rational voters can clearly see that this is not just a political ploy to
muzzle alternative political voices, but also a virtual stampede by the
party to seek relevance in a country where the masses are groaning under the
yoke of political oppression.

Without acknowledging the historical imperatives that led to struggle for
the independence of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF is behaving in the same way as the
country’s former colonial master by thwarting efforts geared towards
bringing about political change in the country.

It forgets that the majority was faithful to its political ideologies, but
when the political glitter began to fade they abandoned void promises in
search of better alternatives. This search for an alternative is a
democratic right, not a privilege. Fooled by the so-called socialist
ideology that was preached in the early 80s, the masses realised it was more
mythical than realistic.

Important to note in understanding  this political resolve is that, with all
the military prowess the Rhodesian army had, it seemed unimaginable that the
guerrilla fighters could wage a meaningful insurgency to force Ian Smith to
the Lancaster House negotiating table in 1979. But it was possible because
of the support of the masses who contributed immensely to effect “regime
change”, which today  is viewed as a dirty phrase by Zanu PF.

Ideally, if the electorate demands fresh leadership through the ballot, Zanu
PF should accede, relinquish power and hand over the baton to the rightful
winner. This current circus whereby politicians that lose elections still
believe they are popular, must be thrown into dustbins of history. Let
people choose what they want without fear. A rational leader must surely
feel guilty to rule without  the consent of the ruled.

Realising that it was fast-losing its grip on the political landscape, Zanu
PF, like other dictatorial regimes in Africa, believes arrests of opposition
groups is the best way to contain revolt. Zanu PF should realise that revolt
is not only confined to violent uprisings; it can take the form of passive
resistance. This was the case in 2008 when President Robert Mugabe lost the
election to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The year 2008 indicated that the former ruling party was on its deathbed
awaiting burial. Torturing opposition supporters only builds voter apathy,
and may even cause resentment towards the party that is responsible.

If watching videos that showed uprisings in north Africa was a crime, then
it means the majority of Zimbabweans committed crimes. In some public
places, some people openly celebrated the downfall of the dictator, while
during  informal debates, toppling of dictators was hailed as progressive.

It could be Gwisai or any other person prosecuted for political dissent,
Zanu PF must remember that suppression of the masses is the worst enemy for
a party seeking relevance in a political environment where it has lost its
glamour.

BY GUMISAI NYONI

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