Mugabe’s Fight Back Strategy

mugabe-rob4.jpgsma.jpg

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his vanquished Zanu PF are plotting to storm back to power through overwhelming force, it has emerged.

This came as government stepped up deployments of army, police and intelligence units countrywide to campaign for Mugabe.

Reports also said government had ordered arms from China to bolster its depleted arsenal amid fears of anti-government riots in the aftermath of elections which Mugabe and Zanu PF lost.

The crisis has raised the concern of the international community, including neighbours. Botswana is said to have put its security forces on high alert due to the explosive Zimbabwe situation on its doorstep.

Well-informed sources said this week that Mugabe and his loyalists are pulling out all the stops to reverse their recent defeat. 

A series of meetings have been held countrywide by party structures since the recent politburo gathering which reviewed Mugabe and his party’s loss. This has raised fears of a violent political campaign ahead.

Signs of violence are already evident in farm raids and attacks on opposition members.

The sources said Zanu PF would pursue a multi-pronged strategy to regain a majority in parliament and then win the presidential election via a run-off or re-run by hook or by crook.

The fight back strategy includes delaying results to buy time to close ranks and reorganise; recounting of votes; run-off or re-run; and a carrot-and-stick approach, which entails the use of public funds to buy votes and widespread use of coercion to force voters to cast their ballots for Mugabe.

The sources said the Zanu PF strategy included the following calculated measures designed to achieve Mugabe’s victory by fair means or foul:

*delaying results to manage Mugabe and his party’s unexpected defeat while recovering from the electoral shock and buying time to reorganise;
*demand for recounts of parliamentary and presidential elections results and possibly fiddle with the ballots in the process to retain some seats;
*deploy senior party members, the war veterans and collaborators, youth militias, security forces, including army, police and intelligence units, onto the ground countrywide to campaign and mobilise the voters on a massive scale by all means necessary;
*mobilise overwhelming social and economic resources to support the bid; and
*seek diplomatic and financial support outside to back the electoral effort.

Sources said Mugabe wants the presidential poll results withheld for as long as necessary while the party restrategises on what to do to come back from the alarming setback.

This means results are most likely to come out after the 21-day window period for the presidential election run-off has elapsed this Saturday, according to the Attorney General’s interpretation of the run-off clause in the Electoral Act.

The AG has told government that days for the run-off start counting from the day of the “previous election” — March 29 in this case. He said even if the law implies that it would have to be after the results are announced the assumption of the law-makers was that results would be announced a day or two after voting.

However, other lawyers say the run-off follows after results are announced. The issue has created a potential problem which favours Mugabe who can decide to call for the run-off, using the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) at his own convenience.

A group of opposition MPs are said to be planning to make a court application seeking clarification on the run-off.

ZEC appears to be working with Zanu PF by giving in to its demands for recounts in 23 constituencies even though some of the demands are illegal as they were lodged more

By Dumisani Muleya

Top