Analysts warn of bloodbath in Mugabe’s last election

June 19, 2012 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

by Tendai Kamhungira 

HARARE – Rival political parties and analysts have warned that Zimbabwe
could plunge into chaos and bloodbath if the military heeds Zanu PF plans to
have them campaign on its behalf in the next elections.

The warning comes against Friday’s statements by Zanu PF that soldiers will
campaign on their behalf in next elections “because the MDC had the backing
of trade unions and other groups” disliked by the liberation movement.

President Robert Mugabe has been pushing for a snap poll without
implementing reforms he agreed with his coalition partners — Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

“It is a ploy not only to bring soldiers into politics but to ensure that it
(Zanu PF) will win the next elections. Soldiers are trained to kill. If they
are to campaign for Zanu PF they will do what they know best and that is
killing and inflicting pain,” warned University of Zimbabwe lecturer and
political analyst, John Makumbe.

Makumbe told the Daily News on Sunday the idea by Zanu PF to use the army to
campaign for them was unconstitutional and should not be allowed.

“If soldiers are allowed to campaign for Zanu PF, there will be instability
and the situation will be worse than the 2008 scenario and before we know
it, we will be having GNU number two,” said Makumbe.

On Friday, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, said his
party would not have problems with the military campaigning for them.

“Personally I do not have a problem with the military choosing to campaign
for a party of their choice. It is common knowledge that trade unions (ZCTU)
campaign for the MDC and should we then say they should not do that.

“These people (military) fought with us during the liberation struggle, so
why should we discriminate against them. We cannot stop them from
campaigning,” Mutasa said.

His remarks are consistent with findings by a broader civic society
coalition — Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition — which released a report in June
last year warning about military deployment in provinces to prop up Zanu PF.

In the unsettling dossier titled: “The Military Factor in Zimbabwe’s
Political and Electoral Affairs” — which followed three months of extensive
investigations — Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition alleged that the military had
demanded, and Zanu PF had agreed, that at least 25 percent of all
legislative seats that the party will contest for must be reserved for
serving or retired military personnel.

“The military plans to deploy senior commanders from either the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces (ZDF) or the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in each
of Zimbabwe’s 59 districts to co-ordinate the fight to retain Mugabe in
power.

“Information from military sources is that more than 80 000 youth militia,
war veterans and soldiers will be deployed across the country in an army-led
drive to ensure victory for Zanu PF candidate, President Mugabe in the next
elections,” read part of the report handed to Sadc leaders last year in
Johannesburg.

Constitutional law expert and public law lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, Lovemore Madhuku, did not see anything wrong with Mutasa’s
comments.

“What matters is that elections should be free and fair. Anyone can campaign
for any political party,” Madhuku told the Daily News on Sunday.

He said the law was very clear that soldiers and police officers are not
allowed to campaign for political parties but said they can only be dealt
with according to the statutes governing their work.

Ever since Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appeared on Zimbabwe’s political
scene, the country’s belligerent security leaders, Augustine Chihuri,
Constantine Chiwenga, including the late Vitalis Zvinavashe, have openly
shown their support for Zanu PF and its octogenarian leader.

“We are aware of a group within Zanu PF… seeking to set up the party against
the army. Since our formation, the MDC has never taken a stance to fight the
military and we will not do that. Our fight is not against the army, but
institutions and individuals who are against the emancipation of our
people,” MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.

“It means Zanu PF wants to force certain professionals of the army to
campaign for them against their conscience. Zanu PF has realised that it has
no structures and capacity to win against MDC. It has ceased to be a
campaign of Zanu PF against MDC but the army versus MDC,” said Mwonzora.

“On the diplomatic side Mugabe has seen that he has lost, so he now wants to
unleash violence. We urge every right-thinking Zimbabwean to reject that and
the intervention of the international community. There is a high possibility
of the army clashing with civilians and there will be bloodshed,” Mwonzora
warned.

He further said Zanu PF’s moves were “unconstitutional, unlawful and
unreasonable”.

Secretary-general of the smaller MDC, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga
scoffed at Mutasa.

“It’s a myth. As far as I know they will be violating the Global Political
Agreement,” said Mushonga.

“The army is not a homogenous group. There are a lot of young people in the
army who want change. No one owns the army. The army is made from various
people from different political backgrounds. It will not succeed,” said
Mushonga.

Analysts warned that the elections won’t be free and fair once the military
stepped into campaigning for Zanu PF.

In the run up to the 2008 Presidential run-off, at least 200 MDC supporters
were killed in the bloodbath that followed a retributive campaign launched
by alleged war veterans and soldiers in the political hotbeds of Mashonaland
East and Central, respectively.

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Zanu-PF shoring up army illegally – violent poll expected MDC members denied bail at the High Court

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