Zanu PF’s approach to politics is a case study of poor statecraft and diplomacy in this increasingly complex yet open world.
Column by The MuckRaker
First they launch a campaign of violence and destruction ahead of the referendum accompanied by arrests and lengthy column inches of abuse in the state media.
Then, when the British government invites the reengagement team to London to ascertain the country’s needs ahead of the elections, we are subjected to more hate language directed both at those countries that are prepared to assess Zimbabwe’s needs and local civics.
An organisation of EU and allied states, known as the Fishmonger Group owing to the Harare restaurant where they first met and subsequently renamed the Friends of Zimbabwe, has made it clear for several years that they are prepared to consider lifting sanctions on an incremental basis to help democratic transition.
This week they fulfilled that commitment by “delisting” 81 individuals.
But instead of working with the EU and other countries on a democratic agenda, the Zanu PF media persists with the disingenous claim that Britain and its allies in the EU and the US imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe “after the country embarked on a successful land reform programme”.
Zanu PF at it again
In fact the sanctions were imposed after a EU observer mission was expelled prior to the bloody and disputed 2002 presidential election.
As for the “successful land reform programme”, Zanu PF refuses to appoint a land reform commission because it would expose multiple farm ownership and evidence of corruption, besides failure.
Of course we understand the need by the former ruling party to go on claiming that the reengagement team’s invitation to London provided evidence of Albion’s perfidy, but a more serious criticism could be directed at Britain for extending the prospect of funding for elections when members of civil society and human rights lawyers are incarcerated.
The pattern of intimidation and violence continues despite calls by party leaders to eschew bad behaviour.
As a result there is a widespread perception that Zimbabwe is not ready for re-engagement and Western support.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF uses and abuses the public media to claw back its 2008 losses by churning out a barrage of hostile propaganda, much of it unreadable. So long as this goes on, reengagement will remain a distant prospect.
The bloody British …
In keeping with Zanu PF’s blame-it-on-everyone-else-but-us policy, Didymus Mutasa laid all the blame for the economic collapse on sanctions.
“I was in Mutare recently and there is no industry to talk of anymore and the situation is the same in other parts of the country because of these illegal sanctions; that is why we want them to be removed in their entirety,” squealed Mutasa.
We have come to expect that from Zanu PF. The fact that the economy had fallen off the precipice much earlier than 2002, when the sanctions were imposed, has been conveniently forgotten.
Even in 2002 the economy was already in free-fall with the concomitant food and fuel shortages.
President Mugabe claimed, at a Zanu PF congress in 1999, the British were hijacking fuel tankers on the high seas and that fuel companies in collaboration with white farmers were hoarding the commodity.
Of course the real reason for fuel shortages was a forex crisis, not British pirates!
Log in Kunonga’s eye
Nolbert Kunonga’s Anglican faction has re-emerged from the woodwork with an ironic appeal for the church to “play an important role in ensuring there is unity and peace in the country in view of the forthcoming harmonised polls”.
“There is need,” said Kunonga “for the church to remember and ensure that it fosters the spirit of peace and unity.”
Not too long ago he was describing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as “satanic”.
People of Tsvangirai’s “warped” thinking, Kunonga said last May, should be “flushed down the sewerage system come next elections”.
Meanwhile Kunonga continues to refuse to return numerous properties to the Church of the Province of Central Africa as instructed by the Supreme Court.
Kunonga should first heed his own advice before he expects anyone else to take him seriously.
Not mincing words
We were amused by Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana’s attack on Jonathan Moyo, in which he said the professor should be “hiding his face in shame”, following the referendum vote .
“I was called all sorts of names by Jonathan Moyo, that I was a sellout; there was a lot of character assassination by him in the electronic and print media. I never sued him or anybody for these malicious statements but I am sure he now knows that his was just a lost cause,” a beaming Mangwana said.
While Mangwana said he harbours no ill feelings towards Zanu PF colleagues such as Moyo, according to the Daily News, he still went on to describe him as “treacherous and a turncoat”.
It’s not us who said it but his colleague Mangwana.
The new target
Moyo, however, did not respond as he seems to have focused his attention elsewhere with his vitriol now targeted at Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s direction.
In another expletive-laden article in the Sunday Mail, Moyo claimed there were “some self-important individuals” who he said “have established propaganda networks that are designed to shield them from public accountability even where or when their mischief is too ghastly to ignore”.
Moyo could very well be talking about himself but the irony is almost always lost on him.
Elsewhere, Moyo accused Gono of having created an “unhelpful aura of untouchability around himself even when sometimes he says and does things that are wrong and harmful to the nation”.
To this Gono responded by saying: “I owe Zimbabweans an answer despite my usual stance not to respond to every provocation from personalities that have dark and troubled childhoods and histories of inconsistency.”
We can count on Moyo rising to the bait and reciprocating in kind.
US black supremacist group New Black Panther Party for Self-Defence (NBPP) has pledged support for President Mugabe and Zanu PF in the next elections, the Herald reports.
NBPP, we are told, is among the ignoble ranks of the December 12 Movement and the Nation of Islam among other “progressive” black movements in the US and internationally.
Party chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz said his mission was to “clear the lies by Western media on President Mugabe” and would use his party’s influence to have sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe removed.
Curiously members of the original Black Panther Party have dismissed Cde Shabazz’s outfit as “illegitimate” and even sued them for use of the name arguing that they operate on the basis of “hatred of white people”.
That’s why they fit in snugly with Zanu PF.
Finally, the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity is “consulting with the leadership to come up with a position on international media correspondents who abuse the freedom of the press extended to them by falsely portraying Zimbabwe as a country of violence,” the Herald reported George Charamba as saying this week.
Honestly what is Charamba talking about?
How can you have senior officials who make such partisan statements and have difficulty understanding the concept of a professional civil service?
And what would the family of Christpowers Maisiri have to say about officials from the same party when they attempt to airbrush their son’s terrible fate?
Then there are officials who lead Herald reporters by the nose by publishing material that is dripfed to them.
Zanu PF is a rogue party and no amount of smoke and mirrors will change that Cde Charamba.