Comrade Webster Shamu has a tall order. He is working on a very tight deadline – less than six months to deliver a Zanu PF electoral victory.
For him, according to his party grand plan, the task is to wrestle back Masvingo and Manicaland provinces – fair or foul — consolidate the three Mashonaland provinces and collect as many constituent pickings from urban areas and from the lost provinces of Matabeleland.
The party strategy appears to be: Shut out everyone else from Mashonaland Central, East and West; brutalise Masvingo and Manicaland back into line; wreak as much havoc and confusion in the cities and towns and leave only the Matabeleland lost cause with some semblance of democracy.
Military men are already waiting in the wings to contest in the party’s primaries in Masvingo and Manicaland where they must replace civilians as the party candidates in the forthcoming victory-at-all-costs elections.
Youth militia is already in camps and toyi-toying in the villages in the Mashonaland provinces. They must close those regions and make them no-go areas for any other party. The party must win – or butcher out, if need be – a landslide victory there.
The in-roads made by the MDC in those regions when Zanu PF made the March 2008 near-fatal mistake of allowing people to express themselves freely will be shut out while the former opposition structures inside would be either destroyed or silenced.
Zanu PF will not be able to do the same in urban centres, but it will not be as smooth sailing though for the MDC. June 27 could be too ghastly a contemplation of what will happen in the towns given that Sadc may be watching, but the environment will be much the same.
The post-March 2008 environment in the cities has been, as is everywhere else in the country, pretty ugly. Events recorded during the Copac public hearings are indicative of a highly charged political environment.
What happened at Parliament on Saturday, where legislators and journalists were beaten up by Zanu PF supporters, is another barometer with which to measure the political mood that will prevail in the cities come election time.
Most worrisome is the apparent political stance that the country’s service chiefs have taken. Soldiers and police have been accused of being partisan and of willingly being used as tools of coercion. There is no evidence at all to believe they will change.
So, they fit in well in Zanu PF’s urban election plan where assaults, abductions, disappearances and killing of political opponents cannot be ruled out. Masvingo and Manicaland where the political game would be played by military men are expected to be delivered without much ado.
The men that are vying for positions in these provinces are senior officers who would use military apparatus, including human resources, to claim victory.
Jabulani Sibanda is in Masvingo already, psyching people up for the consequencies of not voting for Zanu PF. But there is no guarantee that threatening people with death will win elections and that is why Shamu should remove that man called Jabulani from Masvingo.
The more he stays in that province, the more he alienates the party from the people.
His penchant for hate speech and violence is disgraceful. “Tsvangirai is a little Satan that is moving,” Sibanda said in Masvingo recently likening the Prime Minister to a louse waiting to be crushed
Sibanda said Zanu PF was an ark (Biblical Noah’s Ark) into which everybody should get into otherwise they would die.
“Be careful, time is running out, where we are going, there is fire to come,” he said. “There shall come a day when you don’t have time to put on your clothes and you will mistake your pants for a skirt. Repent now and get into the ark before it’s too late, even if the ark is hot or smelly, it is worth enduring,” he said.
There’s Zanu PF’s special envoy to Masvingo — threatening people with fire and ordering them into a hot and smelly ark. Comrade Shamu can surely assign Masvingo to a better and more acceptable individual. Politics of intimidation and terror will not win the hearts of the people.
Sibanda should be consigned to Matabeleland where he should convince his own people to go back to Zanu PF.
The plan for that part of the country come elections is to leave it up for grabs between a plethora of parties in a dogfight for votes.
This is the region where most of the election observers that are going to be allowed into the country are likely to be sent. The situation here will be different from the rest of the country.
That part of the country is lost to Zanu PF so Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South and rural Midlands will be fair game. Democracy will be allowed to play out and Zanu PF, through Obert Mpofu and others, will not fail to salvage a constituency or more from the ruins that were once a PF Zapu and, therefore, Zanu PF domain.