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ZanuPF’s Body Language Holds Key

THESE are interesting times in Zimbabwe. Political analysts are battling to make sense of recent pronouncements by President Robert Mugabe and other members of Zanu PF’s inner sanctum.

A case in point is Mugabe’s condolence message to “the Honourable Prime Minister”, Morgan Tsvangirai on the tragic loss of his wife.

Another perplexing statement came from Zanu PF Home Affairs Minister calling for an end to violence. But perhaps most perplexing of all is Mugabe’s plea for aid. These statements, to the uninitiated, may be a reflection of a changed and reformed Zanu PF.

Taken in isolation and at face value, a call for an end to violence by a Zanu PF minister paints a picture of a party ready to start afresh and make the necessary amends leading to the restoration of the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

However, I urge readers to look at Zanu PF’s body language for clues on where they really stand.

A close look at the treatment of the political prisoners, comprising civil society and MDC activists at the hands of the police and prison officers will reveal a different story of brutality, torture, and untold suffering.

While Mugabe is calling for international aid at the Rainbow Towers, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters are busy invading the farms of the last remaining white farmers. And the invaders are not just small fish in Zanu PF; some of then hold very senior posts in Zanu PF and in government.

Not a word from Zanu PF leadership condemning such an affront to property rights and other fundamental freedoms. Instead of taking steps to guarantee and protect property rights and by so doing boost international investor confidence, Zanu PF’s body language betrays stubbornness and an unwillingness to change.

I have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that Zanu PF wishes to have its cake and eat it, or to have it both ways.

Zanu PF pressured the MDC to join the inclusive government. As soon as MDC was on board, Zanu PF quickly called for aid to be given, pointing to the government of national unity as evidence of change. At the same time, Zanu PF firmly resisted any attempts at genuine reform. All the oppressive media laws are still firmly in place and functional.

It is not enough for political leaders to talk about change without taking firm steps to implement that change.

Change is about bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to account in an impartial way and making sure that political leaders in Zimbabwe, as in all other respectable democracies, are accountable to the people.

Dewa Mavhinga,

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