Zanu PF has started to campaign in earnest for the next elections which President Robert Mugabe has said are scheduled for mid-next year.
As the party has switched into election mode, we have found the political message coming from its ranks not only startling, but also confusing to the
extent of being convoluted.
On Wednesday, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, as reported in our issue yesterday, put up a riveting show to deposit a political message not usually heard from the rank and file of Zanu PF.
In an address to business leaders, Mujuru was in conciliatory mood, telling her audience Zanu PF was pro-business and that the party needed atonement. She spoke of the need to give Zanu PF a human face.
By and large, this was an address aimed at convincing the business leaders present that the party was keen to launder its image to win back support, especially from business.
Her embracing of big business at the shindig on Wednesday does not resonate with the political bluster of her politburo colleague and Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere at a business meeting a fortnight ago.
Kasukuwere chose the occasion to throw his weight around, by making subtle and overt threat to business and to investors, using the indigenisation policy as a political weapon.
The lowest point of his power display was declaring to business that businesspeople cannot tell government what to do with regard to the indigenisation policy.
The jingoism which punctuated Kasukuwere’s views is in sharp contrast to the quest to listen and consult by Mujuru at the Wednesday meeting and another gathering a week earlier.
Perhaps there is method in this dissonance. Mujuru is keen to placate business which has in the past fallen victim to various projects of destabilisation ranging from price controls, arrests of business executives and the ever-hanging threats of expropriation. Mujuru this week chose her words carefully as she sought to strike a chord with business in the hope that capital begins to regard Zanu PF as an ally and facilitator of business and not a threat to wealth.
This is the forward-looking image which Mujuru wants of her party going into an election.
But this effort to cleanse the party of its past evils, perceived and real, is always at the mercy of apparently retrogressive views by senior officials and war veterans who have over extended periods of time sought to portray Zanu PF’s revolutionary credentials to be synonymous with force, violence and grabbing of private assets.
This is the lasting impression that many in this country have of Zanu PF and it will take more than just a conference with business leaders to convince the
urban electorate that “things change and Zanu PF can change”.
Mujuru revealed on Wednesday that many misdeeds had been done in the name of Zanu PF by various state and non-state actors. This we surmise to mean Zanu PF does not sanction violence, illegal arrests, police brutality, torture and intimidation of voters.
This unfortunately, Madam VP, will not wash as long as perpetrators of criminal acts continue to walk scot-free and, worse still, if there is no condemnation of such acts from the Presidency.
A good start would be to denounce and disown recent statements threatening voters by men in uniform.
Otherwise, the game has not changed.