Zanu’s secret plan to steal next election
Zimbabwe Democracy Now has spent the past nine months interviewing police, CIO and more than 200 youth militia, piecing together a strategy approved by the Politburo and in place across all provinces
“We were amazed when one witness after the other came out with the same story,” ZDN spokeswoman, Ethel Moyo, told The Zimbabwean. “We spoke to state agents inside Zimbabwe and others who were only willing to talk once they had crossed the border to meet with our teams in Zambia and Botswana,” she said.
The strategy includes
• Secret lists of voters and their families
• Forced political rallies
• Hundreds of road blocks that can shut down the country in hours
• A youth movement so violent even the police are scared of them
• Informer networks in schools, government departments, beer halls and even soccer teams
• A new drive to recruit thousands of militia
At the heart of the plan has been a two-year project by Green Bombers — no longer in uniform — to visit every hut in every village and take down names, ID numbers and cellphone details for each occupant. They also ask for a list of family members who now live in the city or abroad.
One of the CIO members whose interview has been seen by this newspaper said: “The youth were ordered to be courteous and non-threatening. This was a long exercise that started in March 2009. It was planned at the very top, and carried out in all rural areas.”
Once this was complete, the militia came back to the huts and warned residents that, while their families from elsewhere were welcome to visit, at election time nobody except those named should be home. Children and relatives coming from town to vote in their rural electorate would be abducted, and the family home burned.
“This is so simple,” said Moyo. “Most of the young people support MDC and a majority of them live in the cities or out of Zimbabwe. Under current laws, you can only cast your ballot in your home area, so all those not resident in the rural areas will effectively be denied a vote.”
She said urban youths could change their registration and vote in Harare or Bulawayo where MDC was already guaranteed victory.
The list of names drawn up by the militia was also being used to ensure attendance at Zanu (PF) rallies, which, in some areas, are conducted by soldiers in uniform, especially in Masvingo province and Chiredzi.
Road blocks and so-called “toll gates” that now operate on most rural roads will be used at election time to shut down the countryside, making sure city folk would not be able to reach their home areas.
“Everyone knows these barriers,” Moyo said. “Even when I take my kids to see their grandparents we pass through four or five. Some are manned by Bombers now as junior constables. At other places they raise money for the road, but you know it goes into their pockets.”
She said the interviews had revealed that the majority of roadblocks had been set up on routes into those electoral areas where Zanu (PF) believed it may be challenged.
“We found that in districts like Muzarabani where Zanu feels secure, the blocks are few. But in Bureha or Mat South, they are many. In the days ahead of voting, no one will be able to move in or out of these areas – though we were told that election monitors and diplomatic vehicles would be let through.”
Other work underway by Zanu (PF) includes the setting up of informer networks at every social level, including churches, schools, shops, beer halls, offices, cattle dips and sporting groups.
And a major drive to bring thousands more youth into the militia is under way.
The NGO tabled a number of standard questions at every interview, including the role of state agencies in securing a Zanu (PF) victory.
“We were amazed that 66 per cent of respondents put the National Youth Service first,” Moyo said. “It was clear that this organisation and Zanu (PF)’s own youth wing have become inseparable so we have listed them as one group.
Villagers complained that when harassed by the youth service, even the police seemed afraid to intervene.
Answers to the question: Looking at the list of departments, which would you rate as most useful to Zanu (PF) and most important in securing victory for the party?
Moyo said that while there was overwhelming support for MDC among both urban and rural electorates, many of those interviewed believed a Zanu (PF) victory was inevitable because of the party’s work was so advanced.
The one issue that ZDN was unable to clarify is how the party funds its programmes. There has been speculation that it comes from the Marange diamond fields.
Moyo said there was a need for a public audit of the National Youth Service to gauge where funds were coming from and to investigate allegations of money laundering.
Today, Zimbabwe Democracy New has launched an advertising campaign based on its research, to discourage young people from joining the militia.
“It is essential that parents, teachers, the clergy, even older siblings explain to teenagers that this organisation has nothing positive to give,” she said. “The most common reason for joining is that youngsters believe a certificate from the Bombers can get them a job in government.”
However, it has emerged that no legal requirement exists for those entering the public sector to produce a release document from the National Youth Service. – The full research can be viewed at: http://www.zimbabwedemocracynow.com/