Party/State conflation should be decisively dealt with


The Information ministry on Wednesday night issued an ambivalent message on the deployment of police during Zanu PF’s primary elections.

In one breath, the ministry insinuates that a NewsDay story revealing the abuse of State resources for the party’s primaries is meant to create a wrong impression on who deployed the police officers, while in another it condemns the use of the Zimbabwe Republic Police as polling agents in the Zanu PF internal polls.

It is beyond doubt that the police were used in some instances as polling agents and our story, just as our mandate, was not meant to create any impression, but rather to hold those in authority to account by showing how State resources were being used in a partisan manner contrary to the dictates of the law.

Contrary to the ministry’s weak attempt to cast aspersions on our story, the deployment of the police was there for all to see and pictures showing that went viral over the past few days.

To add onto that, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special adviser, Christopher Mutsvangwa, is quite unequivocal in stating that the police were used in the polls, something he is clearly upset about.

Mnangagwa, as the head of Zanu PF and the country, therefore, should be in a position to tell us who deployed the police in the Zanu PF primaries and to what end.

It is woefully inadequate for the Information ministry to tell us that Mnangagwa had not deployed the police, without telling us who did.

The ministry then goes on to say the conflation of party and State functions will not be allowed, quite a laughable statement, as this continues to happen, with government functions daily reduced to Zanu PF events.

There is no better illustration of this than the government employees that contested in Zanu PF elections.

State media also offer a brilliant example of the conflation between the government and Zanu PF and the Information ministry must set an example by disabusing ZBC, in particular, of the notion that it belongs to the ruling party.

In its statement, the ministry then says it is wrong for the story to suggest “that it is the official policy of Zanu PF to enlist the services of security arms in party chores and processes”.

Only someone who has been living under a rock for the past 38 years would not know that the security arms of the State often get involved in Zanu PF issues.

Ironically, the biggest beneficiary of security arms’ involvement in Zanu PF internal politics is Mnangagwa himself, who came into power through what is euphemistically known as a military intervention.

For the avoidance of doubt, our story was not meant to create any impression — wrong or right — but instead we were doing our duty as the watchdog of society, to show how police had been used in the election.

We now wait to see how sincere the government is in ensuring that there is no conflation between Zanu PF and the State, but with the election season on us, it will not be long before this is disproved.