ANALYSTS have warned that Zanu PF will be unmoved by vendors’ threats to withhold their vote for the ruling party in the 2018 general elections if government continues with its programme to flush them out of the streets.
In separate interviews, the analysts said the threats were of no effect as the ruling party had three years to craft new strategies to win back their votes come election time.
“This is the right time to implement nasty policies. If Zanu PF fails to do it this year or next year, they will have to defer it completely until after the next elections,” analyst Eldred Masunungure said.
“The Zanu PF government will remove them now and dangle many carrots to the same people from 2017 onwards to election date. Towards elections, they will be left to do their vending until after the elections and then moved out. Remember the Murambatsvina of 2005. Over two million people were left homeless soon after the elections when Zanu PF got the resounding majority.”
In 2005, many people were left homeless after then Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered the demolition of illegal structures throughout the country under an operation codenamed Murambatsvina.
Soon after President Robert Mugabe won the presidential race in March 2008, his government in October of the same year launched Operation Hakudzokwe to flush out illegal diamond miners from the Marange diamond fields.
Masunungure said the timing in the eviction of vendors’ evictions worked in Zanu PF’s favour.
Another political analyst Takura Zhangazha said Zanu PF was not moved at all by the threats because they knew they were dealing with powerless people.
“Vendors are not a critical group. They are fluid. Zanu PF will not be threatened. By evicting them, Zanu PF is simply demonstrating their power so that they have the control they want. After all, the vendors will still turn back to Zanu PF with their problems,” Zhangazha said.
Academic and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza weighed in saying the threats by vendors were empty and Mugabe would not be perturbed. Mandaza said Zanu PF had organised the evictions in such a way that it would cause minimum harm to its reputation.
“They are very careful this time around. That is why the police are monitoring the developments from afar,” Mandaza said.
First Lady Grace Mugabe, who gave vendors the green light to invade the streets last year during her nationwide tour denouncing former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, has remained mum on the on-going evictions.