Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana made a stunning confession on Wednesday when he said his party engaged in a guerilla-type campaign to force people into supporting the party views during the constitution-making process.
Speaking in Harare at a debate to review the constitution-making exercise, Mangwana said Zanu PF adopted the same strategies that saw it winning the 1980 general elections.
“The way we used to have our pungwes (all-night meetings) during the liberation struggle is the same tactic we employed during the constitution-making exercise,” said Mangwana.
“We organised our people and told them what to say. Only a few intelligent ones were chosen to speak on behalf of others.
“The party prepared pamphlets for distribution to its membership, clearly articulating the position of the party.”
The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) was forced to suspend and re-do a number of outreach meetings in Harare after violence broke out and a participant was killed while many others were injured.
In villages throughout the country, people were threatened with death if they contributed to the Copac team without Zanu PF approval through a stratagem code-named “Operation Chimumumu” (Operation Deaf and Dumb).
War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda and his band of followers allegedly wreaked havoc in Masvingo threatening MDC-T supporters.
Mangwana, who is Zanu PF MP for Chivi Central, said the constitution outreach exercise was not held at the best of times given the polarisation that still exists in the country.
He said everybody was still holed up in different political camps adding this was not an ideal situation.
“It’s a wonder how we managed to hold over 4 000 meetings countrywide given that parties in the inclusive government are not agreeing on anything,” said Mangwana.
The co-discussant at the event and MDC-T representative Senator Obert Gutu said Zanu PF had a headstart as the party still controlled instruments of state power.
The Chisipite senator said the environment under which the constitution-making exercise was held was far from being democratic.