HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsA strategy that might have missed the point

A strategy that might have missed the point

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The dust has finally settled after the much-awaited and yet long and murky Zanu PF congress. For the first time in modern day Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has ruthlessly unleashed its machinery on its own members.

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Tactics which some of us thought were only reserved for outsiders such as Edgar Tekere, Ndabaningi Sithole, Morgan Tsvangirai et al were ruthlessly deployed on those who some of us thought carried the Zanu PF DNA.

Could it be a case of the author having been unknowingly turned into an actor? Will the author one day realise that he has become an actor dancing to the beat of those who have sneaked behind his own scenes? Only time shall tell.

It is incontrovertible to notice that the whole drama was characterised by well-oiled political choreography with well-defined outcomes and incomes. Or maybe there is no more time, hence time may not tell us anything.

Recent national elections have been characterised by similar strategies as those that have swallowed Zanu PF’s own beloved daughters and sons in the recent congress. It is a simple psychological strategy that only works when it is energised by political power.

It is a strategy which often includes denigrating the opponent and assassinating its character, instilling fear by playing the treason game, weaken the opponent by spying on its privacy, go to bed with the State media, and paint a rogue character of the opponent by cooking up and dishing out stories for State media to serenade.

It may appear sophisticated, but the past decade has uncovered how this strategy is ineffective, reputationally and financially costly, emotionally damaging and old fashioned.

The recently released Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections report is testimony to that as it confirmed what has always been known to people that those elections were not free and fair.

The story of 2008 elections result of the 73 % or rather 47% has become a joke of our times.

The strategy is simple: use power to get what you want, but decorate it with democratic processes, procedures and a legal cosmetic face.

These condiments, unpalatable and futile as they may be, have tended to be the basis from which Zanu PF has derived its discourse for relevance because it supplies enough fodder to our academic minds, analysts and opinion leaders to regurgitate.

Sometimes, I tend to think, while Zimbabwe is blessed with sharp minds, the system has ensured that these minds remain underutilised to the extent that they spend so much time giving constitutional, democratic, financial, political and social analysis on why the hen produces eggs.

Given the ruthlessness of the process leading to the just-ended Zanu PF congress it may be necessary to discuss who were the biggest losers and winners, if there is any anyway.

One camp in the party is still in celebratory mood after achieving their goal of prepositioning their cadre to the throne. But the million dollar question is how this group will restore the waning public confidence, without using coercive power, in a country where Zanu PF has struggled to convince people that it means business.

It could be a case of victory before defeat, if not a pyrrhic one. Losing one side of the party will only have Zanu PF’s work cut out. Historically the party has relied on Mashonaland Central and East to boost their votes, but now their draw cards, in the likes of Joice Mujuru, Nicholas Goche, Ray Kaukonde etc are now out of the picture.

Manicaland and Matabeleland provinces have not stood by Zanu PF for over a decade and half now. Both Vice-Presidents are not known for their public appeal which means Zanu PF may have to rely heavily on public relations consultancies in their future campaigns in the face of a fast waning revolutionary appeal.

The story loses its appeal when the main actors are replaced by the authors or may be it is a new season for new actors.

The Mujuru camp deserves credit for the civility they have shown in what would have otherwise been a blood affair.

It is one of the few moments in our lives that we have witnessed a senior Zanu PF member or African leader accepting the humiliating outcome of processes and defeat with humility. Such situations have always been main sources of political instability and coups.

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