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Zanu PF to rope in regional parties for victory

Dumisani Muleya

THE ruling Zanu PF is trying to rope in governing parties in the region to help it win next year’s crucial parliamentary election.

ca, sans-serif”>Zanu PF, which is under serious threat from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), reportedly wants an absolute majority to enable it to change the constitution to consolidate its grip on power.

Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said on Wednesday that his party was determined to remain in power “because there is nothing wrong with that”.

“Is there anything wrong in us trying to keep power? Would you give away power if you had it? No one would want to lose power when they have it,” Shamuyarira said.

“If you want to keep power and you can do it by seeking the support of friends, there is nothing wrong. We have a close relationship with the ANC (African National Congress) and other parties in the region.”

Zanu PF recently hosted a congress of former liberation movements in the region in a bid to forge closer ties and ensure their support for President Robert Mugabe’s beleaguered regime.

Shamuyarira said Zanu PF would hold a number of meetings with ruling parties in the region to “keep power”. Mugabe is on record as saying “as clear as day follows night…Zanu PF will rule forever”. ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma said in April that his party would remain in power “until Jesus comes back”.

Top ANC officials led by President Thabo Mbeki held a meeting with a Zanu PF delegation led by the party’s chairman John Nkomo last month to strengthen ties.

Besides Mbeki, other ANC heavyweights who attended the meeting include Zuma, secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe, treasurer-general Mendi Msimang and chairman Mosiuoa Lekota.

Zanu PF reportedly wanted the ANC to help it secure a sweeping majority in the poll due in March next year. The ANC, which clinched an overwhelming majority in the April election, is said to have agreed. The party however denied it.

Zanu PF only secured 51% of the vote in Zimbabwe’s controversial parliamentary election in 2000. The MDC, only formed a few months before the election, won 57 seats, while Zanu got 62. The MDC mopped up all seats in towns, banishing Zanu PF to rural areas.

However, Zanu PF maintained its parliamentary majority through 20 MPs directly appointed by Mugabe and 10 legislators appointed by the Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council which is obliged to support Zanu PF.

The MDC contested 38 of Zanu PF’s victories in the courts and has so far won several cases. But they are on appeal.

Mugabe won the hotly-disputed 2002 presidential election amid accusations of vote-rigging, violence and intimidation.

Mugabe’s victory is also under legal challenge by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The ANC endorsed both elections as “legitimate” despite admitting that they were profoundly flawed and thus not free and fair.

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