Zanu PF has reportedly devised a strategy of playing up “sexual controversies” in the opposition and civic society as a campaign tool to destroy them, political analysts and civil society leaders have said.
Already, the “sex web” has netted several top MDC-T and civic society officials — among them Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti, National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa and his boss Lovemore Madhuku.
However, political analysts said the scheme was bound to fail because Zimbabwean voters were more focused on removing Zanu PF from power more than anything else.
“I don’t think it will work,” said Charles Mangongera, a political analyst.
“Zimbabwean politics is not of the nature where people will use someone’s moral standing to vote against them. The politics in Zimbabwe is a protest kind of vote against Zanu PF and that will always benefit the MDC.
“Someone’s moral standing will not have an impact. For example, the Tsvangirai-Locardia controversy has died a natural death.
Zimbabweans are not obsessed with that. Zanu PF and political gladiators have no authority to assume moral ground and they are not clean, starting right from the top and for them to attack others basing on moral standing, it’s a case of the kettle calling the pot black,” Mangongera said.
He conceded, however, that some members of the democratic forces in Zimbabwe had a casual approach to sex.
“Too many players in politics and civic society have a casual approach to sex and prostitutes. Some of them will not enjoy the fruits of democratisation after succumbing to HIV and Aids,” Mangongera said.
Farai Maguwu, a human rights activist and political commentator based in Mutare, said he was aware of the “character assassination plot” against President Robert Mugabe’s critics.
“We are very much aware of the plot. It has been a modus operandi that has been used several times and it’s called character assassination,” he said.
“There is nothing wrong in calling for high moral values in society, but look at the log in your eye before seeing a log in another person’s eye.
The same people seeking to destroy others are engaging in political violence, corruption and it is abnormal to have such people who have high levels of moral blameworthiness to lecture others on their personal sins that do not affect society,” Maguwu said.
“Some in Zanu PF have similar weaknesses and similar problems in their marital lives. That is not acceptable.”
Sources said Zanu PF had cached several genuine and concocted videos showing top MDC-T and civic society leadership engaging in sexual escapades in preparation for their ultimate release as “top stories” in the State media come election time.
President Mugabe recently hinted his security men were monitoring the movements of MDC officials, trailing and capturing opposition members’ private movements and alerting him of their promiscuity.
He told a gathering at the wedding of one of his relatives last month that several ministers had embarrassed themselves by being promiscuous.
“We are concerned with the behaviour of our ministers. Some time ago, there was a minister, not from Zanu-PF, though, who was caught with a girlfriend somewhere in Kadoma,” he said.
“The minister saw one of our security officials along the way and asked him not to reveal the information to us. However, the official told us the details and we know the minister in question,” said President Mugabe.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the plot yesterday, adding his party was aware the smear campaign was being spearheaded by the Central Intelligence Organisation and Zanu PF militia to discredit the party leadership in the eyes of the electorate.
“Yes, we are aware of a plot by Zanu PF to try and discredit the leadership of the MDC and there are a lot of doctored issues, but we know they will not succeed in hoodwinking the people of Zimbabwe,” said Mwonzora.
Harare Provincial spokesperson for MDC-T Obert Gutu said: “Zanu PF will play dirty and seek to scandalise the political and private characters of leading MDC-T and civil society leaders.
They will create non-existent girlfriends and boyfriends.
They will create ridiculously baseless fraud allegations.
They will even create non-existent factions. Zanu PF is on its way out of power and they are obviously extremely upset about this.
As they say, the last kicks of a dying horse are lethal. MDC-T and civic leaders should always sleep with one eye open.”Zanu PF deputy spokesperson Cain Mathema declined to comment over the allegations.
“What does Zanu PF have to do here? That’s foolish actually,” he said.