ZANU PF is determined to prove wrong whoever is prepared to give it the benefit of doubt or a second chance as far as civilised political behaviour is concerned.
Yesterday our stablemate The Standard carried a story with the headline Zanu PF turns Hurungwe into war zone.
The report was to the effect that Hurungwe West had been placed under siege with ruling party activists allegedly terrorising rivals and villagers as the June 10 by-election nears.
Terrified villlagers told The Standard that Zanu PF had declared a virtual curfew in the constituency to stop agents of independent candidate Temba Mliswa from campaigning and putting up posters at night.
Six headmen accused of supporting Mliswa were severely assaulted by ruling party supporters the previous week at a rally addressed by Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and central committee member Phillip Chiyangwa.
That is a crime that has been openly committed, but the police, being in the pocket of Zanu PF, would rather not actively pursue clear leads pointing to that.
This tried and tested cruelty and cynicism will be repeated in all the 23 constituencies where by-elections are also due on June 10. This has worked before for Zanu PF and they are not in a hurry to stop it. Ask Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa for proof positive.
Anyone who knows the dirty and deceitful methods of Zanu PF is not surprised at all. All the while, they deny their involvement in all this when the evidence is plain for all to see.
This is a party that has mastered the art of being disgraceful, deplorable and distasteful, not to mention cruel bloodletting during the run-up to the presidential runoff election in 2008 that saw over 200 main opposition MDC-T supporters killed — a figure much higher than the death toll from the past and recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, which has outraged the continent, and rightly so.
We are going to repeat it again and again that Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy and Zanu PF is undeniably guilty of subverting the Constitution to which it is paying lip service despite being a signatory to that document.
What has the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to say or it remains as mute as ever? Indeed, Zec has been a big letdown. It has not shown the pro-activeness the circumstances demand, not require.
If it has been emasculated in one way or another, the best course of action for Zec members to take is resign en masse. But it seems they are not prepared to take such a bold, principled move because they would not like to lose their overgenerous earnings.
But we would like to ask: What moral and political authority has President Robert Mugabe to lead the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) in the face of all this blatant flouting of good governance standards?
This habitual subversion of free will in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s party must not go unchallenged and unpunished. There must be no compromise in the promotion of democracy, good governance, fair and free elections and constitutional order.
The AU and Sadc should seriously consider recalling Mugabe from his joint chairmanships of the regional and continental blocs. After all, the AU condemned and suspended Egypt for the unconstitutional removal of President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
It’s time for Mugabe to be given an ultimatum that play ball or step down from the AU and Sadc if the two bodies are to be taken seriously. They must demand that Mugabe establish the rule of law, civil and political liberty for all, and take concrete steps towards that.
Such a political culture represents the region and Africa’s future — not Mugabe’s crude excesses.