‘Zanu PF to employ dirty poll tactics’

Wongai Zhangazha

A REPORT by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says Zanu PF will use, among other strategies, intimidation, violence, displacements and inflation of votes to ensure victory in the next elections to be held probably later this year.

The report that is yet to be launched claims Zanu PF knows that its chances of winning a free and fair election are slim and would, therefore, use terror. It was, however, quick to point out that the terror would not be similar to that of June 2008.

 

Crisis Coalition said the study was carried out in six provinces, namely Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Harare, Manicaland, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo.

The methodology used includes observation, semi-structured and open-ended interviews, which were carried out at different periods between June and September last year with targeted audience being “men and women, the young and the old, civil society actors and the ordinary, state agents and civilians, MDC-T, Zapu, MDC-M and Zanu PF functionaries and traditional leaders”.

The report states that Zanu PF strategies could be divided into three categories, namely organised support, margin of terror and margin of error.

“The first dimension is what we call ‘organised support’, whereby Zanu PF organises its core supporters to fully participate in political and electoral processes that matter.”

“The second dimension is the ‘margin of terror’, whereby Zanu PF has used coercion, intimidation, torture, displacement and murder to get people to vote for them in elections without a choice.”

“The third dimension is the ‘margin of error’, whereby Zanu PF relies on inflating votes in favour of its candidates and deflating votes of its opponents,” reads the report.

It said Zanu PF was likely to use targeted physical violence in the elections, however, it was not going to be similar to the June 2008 violence, instead the party would prefer a “sophisticated psychological warfare premised on harvest of fear”.

The violence, according to the report, would be in two distinct strategies, the first being targeted violence at local community leaders as a way to strike fear in the hearts of the broader population and this would take place months before the election and the arrival of election observers and monitors.
“Some of the violent incidents against opposition supporters will not be coordinated but spontaneous as characteristic of pseudo-democracy societies where violence is endemic,” said the report.

Other strategies listed in the report include creation of electoral buffer zones in perceived traditional strongholds and creation of electoral hotspots in swing constituencies.

“These unorthodox means include manipulating the constitutional referendum, Registrar-General’s Office, postal votes, traditional leaders, and opposition candidates, number of votes, army generals and state finances,” reads the report.

“In a nutshell our findings reveal that Zanu PF is planning to subvert democracy by stealing the 2011 vote and defend that stolen vote through a total demobilisation post-election political strategy.”

It said in the post-election period, Zanu PF was likely to form a government of national unity as it did in 1980.

“All things being according to plan, that is Zanu PF manages to steal and proclaim victory, its immediate strategy will be political. If MDC-M is going to win seats in Matabeleland as per Zanu PF plan, RG Mugabe is going to dangle the carrot to defeated parties to join him in government,” the report said.

“The type of government will be different from the GNU framework but it will be a replica of the 1980 Government of National Unity with Mugabe firmly in charge.”

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday were fruitless.

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