Zanu PF is likely to continue using violence as a tool to cow Zimbabweans into voting the party into office, as this is its traditional tactic to win elections, political analysts said on Wednesday.
They said President Robert Mugabe’s calls for peace were unlikely to be respected by his lieutenants in Zanu PF because they feared he would most probably accept electoral defeat and cede power to anybody who would have won, should he lose the next election.
But, analysts said, the majority of top Zanu PF politicians were unprepared to accept defeat.
They spoke after Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo urged his party supporters to retaliate when attacked by political rivals.
Khaya Moyo’s statements fly in the face of efforts by the three principals in the inclusive government, eager to cultivate peace in a country torn apart by politically-motivated violence fueled by high levels of intolerance.
President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube, convened an anti-violence meeting on Friday in Harare and agreed their respective parties desist from political violence.
But Khaya Moyo, who was guest of honour at a Zanu PF Midlands provincial conference, reportedly told delegates at Mkoba Teachers’ College in Gweru, barely 24 hours later, that Zanu PF supporters should not watch helplessly while their opponents harassed them.
“We cannot afford to watch them as they attack us. We will also fight back,” said Khaya Moyo.
Pedzisayi Ruhanya, a doctoral candidate in Media and Communication Studies at Westminster University in London, said: “Zanu PF will never abandon political violence. Its rule is premised on violence and patronage. The two make Zanu PF. If they stop violence it’s as good as saying, ‘Morgan Tsvangirai please assume your legitimate role as the democratically elected President of Zimbabwe’.”
Ruhanya added: “So Moyo is being honest and consistent while (President) Mugabe and others are trying to mislead Zimbabweans. What Moyo is saying is irresponsible, but very consistent with Zanu PF policy.”
Ruhanya said the gathering of political parties last week was “grandstanding” meant to “mislead” Zimbabweans, the region and the international community.
Mutare-based political observer Shingai Chimwaza said: “I think this is ‘planned confusion’ created in the rank and file of Zanu PF with a clear aim of systematically plunging the country into the kind of violence of the 2008 magnitude. Since when have Zanu PF supporters become victims? Khaya Moyo is simply reminding supporters of the ‘prized’ strategy to win elections through violence.”
Earnst Mudzengi, a Harare–based political analyst, said: “Khaya Moyo is probably trying to be honest to reality or he had forgotten the window-dressing template when he pronounced those words.”
Media analyst Tabani Moyo, said: “It’s either the President of the Republic was paying lip service calling for an end to violence or the chairperson is out of order. Or probably it’s an expression of preaching peace by daylight and turning into something else by night.”
Former student leader Blessing Vava said: “It shows President Mugabe and his party are not sincere in their calls to end violence.
“Khaya Moyo is hiding behind a finger. Everyone knows it’s mostly his party fermenting violence and now he wants to justify their violent tendencies by saying they are fighting back.”
Community youth leader Sydney Chisi said: “What (President) Mugabe is saying is an indication he is willing to step down if he loses the next election, which the other guys are not prepared for. What (President) Mugabe can’t stand is another sham election due to violence, which will hinder his safe exit.”