Zanu PF negotiator in the inclusive government Patrick Chinamasa has predicted war in Zimbabwe ahead of elections, saying clashes reminiscent of what happened in North Africa last year cannot be ruled out.
Chinamasa told a highly emotive public seminar organised by Sapes Trust in Harare on Thursday that with the heightening of election talk in the country after the Sadc summit in Angola, battle lines have been drawn between Zanu PF and its rivals in the inclusive government, the two MDC parties.
The Justice minister said the MDC parties were afraid of facing an electoral defeat at the hands of Zanu PF.
“I am not a prophet, but what I am going to say is prophetic. What I see as we approach elections is a war-mongering scenario, parties singing war-mongering songs – a tendency to provoke incidences, to overblow them and exaggerate, to distort in order to allow a Syrian/Libyan-type Western intervention,” said Chinamasa.
But MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti immediately fired back, saying his party was still popular and would win the election if conducted on a level playing field. He said Zanu PF would lose because people had not forgotten the alleged atrocities committed by the former ruling party.
“My friend here Patrick (Chinamasa) said the MDC-T is afraid of losing an election to Zanu PF. I want him to know that the MDC-T is not afraid of Zanu PF. What are the changed circumstances that make you (Chinamasa) think that the people have forgiven your (Zanu PF) sins?” asked Biti.
The MDC-T secretary-general said Zanu PF’s reluctance to implement some agreed reforms was a way of trying to force another bloody election, but his party – with the help of Sadc – would not allow it to happen this time around.
He further accused Zanu PF of misleading the nation on the outcome of the Angola Summit.
The Zanu PF side of government, which maintains its call for elections this year, says Sadc never insisted on an array of reforms before elections, but only a new constitution. According to the Sadc communiqué, elections should be held within 12 months.
Negotiator for the MDC party led by Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also weighed in and told Chinamasa that if Zanu PF had no faith in the facilitation of South African President Jacob Zuma, they had the option of telling him right in his face or pull out of the unity government.
“I wonder if you (Chinamasa) represent another Zanu PF that is not led by President Robert Mugabe. In Angola, he (Mugabe) thanked President Zuma for his facilitation and said he would not ambush anyone on elections. He promised to implement the agreed reforms, but when you come here, you (mis)inform people.
“I know it’s a form of men bravado when they argue that I have a big what and what . . . but the truth is we all need Sadc and were very subservient to Sadc at the summit. For Zanu PF, I want you to know that being subservient to Sadc is not surrendering our sovereignty. We got ourselves into that situation,” said Mushonga.
South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela said President Zuma is due in Harare early next week to help with the implementation plan on agreed reforms.