Why would a ‘normal’ person vote for Zanu PF?

There has been a question that has vexed me — and, I am sure, so many others — as to why, after being subjected to so much untold suffering for nearly four decades by Zanu PF, any “normal” person would still prefer to vote for their tormentor to keep on tormenting them.

By Tendai Ruben Mbofana

Admittedly, Zanu PF’s so-called “victories” at the polls, ever since Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980, have been nothing short of questionable — amid widespread allegations of rigging, intimidation, unfair coverage of opposition parties in the State media, which has been allowed to have a monopoly, and violence — it is, nonetheless, true that the party enjoys enormous support amongst the population.

What is shocking, though, is the fact that this support base mostly comprises those who have suffered the brunt of Zanu PF’s incompetent and corrupt leadership, which has resulted in widespread poverty — characterised by unemployment, hunger, lack of basic commodities, having to sleep in bank queues just to withdraw $15, lack of medication in hospitals, schools that are deprived of proper and adequate learning material, employees who are not paid their salaries and terminal benefits … the list goes on and on.

So, why would someone who has had to endure such hell on earth for decades want to continue in this nightmare, by continually voting for the very same people who have perpetrated this abuse?

I am sure this is a question only a competent psychologist and psychiatrist can adequately answer — but, we can all try to understand the logic behind a seemingly normal person desiring to stay in an abusive relationship.

I am reminded of a similar question we had to tackle when I used to work for an anti-domestic violence non-governmental organisation in South Africa some years back — why do some victims of domestic violence, at the hands of their partners or spouses, continue to stay with their abusers for years and years … some, until they are eventually killed by these perpetrators?

There were several proposed explanations to this vexing question — such as, the victim’s financial dependence on the perpetrator, and fear of violent repercussions at the hands of the abuser, should she or he decides to leave.

However, another explanation that comes to mind, seems to fit in perfectly with the question we are faced with today regarding the bizarre relationship between Zanu PF and its supporters, who are largely also its victims.

Some victims have been conditioned by the perpetrators — during the years of abuse — into believing that they are worthless and cannot do anything without the abuser.

They have been brainwashed into believing that they can only have value by being with the abuser, and no one else can ever love them.

In fact, some victims of abuse have come to believe that the abuse is a sign of love, and would never want anything “bad” to happen to the abuser — that is why they would even push away, or even fight, all those who would want to assist them leave the relationship.

An example is that of a young lady — who was around 23 years of age — whom we tried to assist to leave her abusive relationship.

She was seemingly intelligent, and we managed to get her a job and a small cottage so that when she leaves the abusive relationship, she would be able to take care of her children and herself.

However, whenever she left her partner, sooner rather than later, we would hear reports that she had voluntarily returned to him — and the cycle of abuse would start all over again.

When we asked her why she had returned, she would say that the partner had promised her that he had changed, and she had believed him.

Of course, he would behave as if he had changed for a few days, weeks, or even months, only go back to his old ways once he felt comfortable again.

What perturbed us the most was not the fact that she had returned to the abuser, but that she repeated this time and time again, despite the fact that it was now clear that he would never change … and his promises to change were all a bunch of lies.

She would tell of how — whenever she left him — he would approach her with gifts, and how he would apologise and cry like a baby, while promising to get help for his anger, and how he would give excuses as to why he had anger issues.
The abusive partner would even agree to seek counselling and actually attend the sessions.

However, this change never seemed to last, as he would eventually revert to abusing her, while blaming her for his relapse.

Nevertheless, after all that help we tried to offer her, and till the time I left the NGO after two years … she kept going back to him!

In fact, she ended up resenting our assistance, as somehow he had managed to convince her that we were the enemies who were jealousy of their relationship and were trying to ruin it!

This is exactly what I am witnessing again in Zimbabwe, as people who are obviously suffering at the hands of Zanu PF always go back to it, time and time again — and even view those trying to help them see what is happening, as enemies.
That is why, those who receive the brunt of Zanu PF’s abuse — the marginalised, and the suffering — are the ones whom Zanu PF has targeted to manipulate and brainwash into believing that all those trying to assist them see the light are enemies that should be beaten up or even killed.

Zanu PF has managed to convince those that have had to endure its abuse regularly for nearly for decades that it has changed, and that by merely removing former leader Robert Gabriel Mugabe — yet, replacing him with the same people who have been at the centre of the abuse since day one — is somehow a “new dispensation”.

Even its presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa’s campaign slogan includes the term “change”.

What I have leant from my work with domestic abuse victims is that, any abuser who loves to use the term “I have changed”, would have seldom changed.

He will go back to his old ways sooner or later.

The same goes for Zanu PF!

There is no way this rogue abusive party can ever genuinely change.

Besides, it is now too late for any normal person to continue giving these people another chance — as we have done so for the past 38 years … are those not enough chances?

Would we not be fools to continue giving “chances” to such people after all this time of not changing?

Even the courts of law would cease “giving another chance” to a habitual criminal who is always committing offences, despite being given numerous chances.

Mnangagwa himself, as the country’s President, would even agree with me that, as he has constitutional powers to pardon convicted prisoners, he would never continue awarding this clemency to someone who is a repeat offender … especially for 38 years in a row?

So why would Mnangagwa think that Zimbabweans who have suffered so gravely at the hands of a Zanu PF that he had been at the centre of for decades, should give them another chance?

Even if — for argument’s sake — Zanu PF under Mnangagwa has genuinely changed, logic and common sense would dictate that its too late, and it is time that Zimbabweans moved on and chose someone else.

We would be fools to trust this party again, after all they have done for all these years.

An intelligent person would rather give someone else a try, even if they also prove not to be any better — but, at least it would not be as foolish as continually going back to a chronic abuser, believing that this time the change is real…for 38 years!

The people of Zimbabwe now need to regain their self-confidence and believe that they do not need to be dependent on Zanu PF.

We need to believe that we can, indeed, move on.

We need to believe that we are special and that we deserve only the best — we do not have to always settle for crumbs … for second best.

No matter how much we have suffered, and are suffering, let us refuse to be conditioned to believe that if our abusers — who caused the suffering in the first place — come back to us and offer us a loaf of bread, then we just jump and go back to them.

That is one way the abused are always kept captive by their abusers — if I do not go back to him, the kids and I will starve to death … at least he is offering food, school fees, or even some luxuries!

Whatever Zanu PF can promise, and no matter what packaging they may decide to come to us in … they will always be Zanu PF and the people of Zimbabwe can do better than keep choosing known criminals, abusers and looters.

Zanu PF can come with their “command this and that”, or their “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, but the fact still remains that Zimbabweans who have truly suffered at these people’s hands need to break free, and believe that their tormentors are not their also their saviours.

There are better options out there, and we need to choose better partners.

It is time we broke free from this abusive relationship and let all those who have suffered the indignity of sleeping in bank queues, spending the night without food, failing to pay for their children’s school fees, failing to buy their wives or husbands those nice things, living in a small little room with their whole family, begging their employers for unpaid salaries that they are owed, had their water supplies disconnected just because they can not find a job — let us all stand together and reclaim our dignity.

We do not deserve this humiliating and inhuman life … we deserve better!

We are all children of the Almighty Jehovah God, and He hates it when His children suffer, but let us not perish due to our own ignorance and foolish decisions.

We have a choice … we can choose to finally put an end to all this suffering.

July 30 is around the corner, and we have another chance to finally decide between continued suffering and a truly NEW LIFE — it is our choice!

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author and speaker. He is the programmes director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: zimjustice@gmail.com.


  1. on the same token why would a normal person vote for the opposition moreso considering that they failed to remove Bob from power since their formation its a worrisome question which equally has very very few answers

    1. The reason why Zanu pf can not be removed are too obvious for any full with two senses to see, because of its rigging machine as they take six weeks to announce results.

      1. I beg to differ on that one ,the opposition has been focusing on turning the screws on the livelihood of the povo forgetting that there are the same people they will have to turn to in the time of need of votes whilst the ruling party focuses on the devil being brought upon their door steps by the opposition through hardships negotiated with foreigners and these are the simple things which has kept zanoids machine well oiled and going strong since awakening from the slumber of 2008.

    2. Eliasha… The opposition removed Mugabe in 2008 but the clique in the current government subverted the will of the people. We know that!

      1. Wakangofanana neMbofana yanyora article iyi. He thinks his choice should be everyone’s. Tichatouya kuzogara nemukadzi wako nokuti vamwe vose vanosarudzwa nePsychic patients. Wakadhakwa brain. I for one see no alternative offers from Chamisa. It is only a camp for opportunistic politicians with nothing to offer Zimbabwe but sing Mugabe’s 38 yrs of misrule, thats exactly why he was removed and things are positively moving forward. If you cant see that then you need help urgently. If you are this delusional and driven by so much emotion, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE DEFEAT which is certain to come?

    3. You are shit.

    4. It also boggles the mind that u say the opposition failed to remove Mugabe when he was an expert in manipulating voting systems and rigging elections. It appears you have been brainwashed to an extent that you don’t see anything good from anywhere else other than from this bungling and useless military regime. Right now we hear there are Russians who are holed somewhere in Mt Pleasant waiting to manipulate the voting system & someone like you act as if everything is above board. You need urgent Psychiatric medical attention, am sorry to say

    5. Your thinking eliasha eish,I am actually at a loss for words.May you always get what you deserve in life.God is always just.

    6. Elisha is not normal. So people stop wasting your time. Nezuro this Elisha guy was singing for Mugabe and now blames Mugabe for mis-rule. I am sorry to say that all those who support zanu pf are idiots period thats a perfect word to describe them. How can someone who was calling Mugabe a visionary leader within seconds of power shift starts to see the bad of Mugabe. This goes to show that MDC T was right from the start. The least you can do is to tackle issues being raised by MDCT and try to address them maybe maybe

      1. if a Zanu PF supporter is an idiots because he was supporting mugabe, chamisa is also an idiot because he is supported by mugabe

  2. ZANU (pf) inonzwisisa vanhu shamwari……


  4. Why would a normal person vote for a young ambitious man whk cant follow his own party constitution

  5. To the writer i say Zimbos are not that stupid. While the Zanu regime is abusive and violent, it rigs these elections. This on its own is a very strong statement. Dig deep into this and all your problems are solved. All the psychiatrists you talk about will chow your money for nothing. At least a lot of emphasis by opposition is on ZEC which is where the problem is. To the aliasha dude, a dictatorship is not removed through the ballot. It was evident when mdc won in 2008 but was denied power, it was also evident when bob was removed forcefully in november 2017

  6. nehanda nyakasikana

    apa hapana zvawanyora Tendai Mbofana…

  7. to answer your question, imagine a starving person whose hands and feet are chained so that he cannot even move. Then along comes someone offering help, who then pulls out a few slices of bread smeared with faeces. Most people might just opt for the bread and faeces, but there are some who would rather die in that condition.

    1. kkkk I love the analogy and right here on Newsday website comments we have at least one taker of the bread and faeces combo!!
      My take is that there is a category within ZPF which is completely ignorant and capable of independent thought that is also indebted to that party through brainwashing or having relatives in govt who control them. They are compelled to vote so, out of allegiance, fear and blackmail rather than logic, until of course they are expelled from that party and start using their brain cells again. Cases like this are plentiful provided one’s mind is open enough to receive such information. Some have got blocked minds. Again examples are plenty – but its their right to choose blindness in favour of light or backwardness in favour of progress or truth versus lies.

  8. should an abused person leave an abusive partner for a partner who actually promises to be just as abusive if not worse?? A partner who openly and proudly calls on the international community to impose sanctions on Zimbabweans so that ‘if they eat sadza with salt’then they vote for that party…a party which calls on countries where Zimbabweans have sought economic refuge so they can suffer at home and then vote MDC????? No thanks ZANU is bad but at least they removed Bob and are tryi g to fx people’s lives…..Chamisa wants us to starve so we vote for him so he can live in State House???

    Not anymore no….Save was the people’s champion this Chamisa guy doesn’t care about people…I Will vote Nkosana Moyo

  9. Silvester Matambo

    Why would a sane person write such a shameful, harebrained ridiculous article parroting the treachorous MDC reactionary politics in broad day light boggles the mind. On 30 July all reasonable Zimbabweans including me and my family will be out in full force to make sure ED pfeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  10. The group Mbofana describes surely exists and reminds one of another phenomenon; the Stockholm syndrome, where hostages and kidnap victims end up identifying with their captors: but it is not a majority – Zanu PF supporters ceased to be in the majority by the end of the last century (hence the increasing need for rigging). Apart from the psychological group described above, the other major 2 subgroups of Zanu PF supporters are: people who are directly benefitting and therefore happy with the dysfunctional and corrupt status quo, and those people one meets in life who are (by nature) always fearful of any major change.

  11. writer anofanira kunge ari a mental patient/murwere webrain

  12. Why would a normal person vote for Chamisa considering the role he played last year when many workers were leaved from work on two weeks notice without any terminal benefits and the majority are languishing in poverty.I MYSELF WILL NEVER VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE SHOWED THAT HE CHOSE MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF UBUNTU.

  13. Mr Editor, why are you allowing such trash to appear in your paper? Very few people will ever take your paper seriously if you accept ‘writers’like Mbofana.

  14. murume waurikuda kundipa uyu (akambonaki) chii chaakamboita kuratidza kuti anondida anechido neni ndotarisa mai vake (kuwadzana)ndotoona kuti havachengeti anoti anovada ini ndini ndotopenga kuteerera marara iwe hanzvadzi yacho nekuti unenge uchida kundinyashandisa iwe nehanzvadzi wako muchidya mari through my sweat and blood

  15. chii chwakandiitira kana uchiti unodida iwe nehanzvadzi yako munoti munodida asi ndotarisa mai vako vaunoti unoda (kuwadzana ) hapana chawakavaitiira ndozviteedzera here izvo asikutoti iwe nehanzvadzi yako munoda kudya neni mari through mai sweat and blood

  16. Zanu pf yakapfekwa ngemhondi dzevanhu dzinouraya dzichisekerera nekugutsikana ngekuparara kwevanhu pedzisiro vokunwa ropa revafi. Imi Zanu pf people,kuparara kwamuchaita mumwe namumwe matambudziko mumarudzi enyu achakuparadzai zvinorwadza. Hapana chisina magumo pasi pano. Ungadya uchigara zvakanaka imi muchifarira kufa nekutambura kwevamwe vanhu asi GONE ANEGONE WAKEWO CHETE.

  17. This is the problem with modern day political thinking in Zimbabwe. Anyone who does see what I believe in is deemed a fool and called all sorts of names.
    I believe that we all need to agree that voters need to be convinced to vote for this and that party based on the merits that they see in this or that political party’s manifesto for better or for worse.
    What we see in a lot of posts today is insults upon insults heaped on those who by their own rights go along pro- ZANU tangents.

  18. The whole issue boarders on tolerance why do you think that someone with a different view to your is a lunatic. They have different views and you just accept that.

  19. Mr Mbofana here are some of the answers to you ZANU PF question. The alternative which is MDC since it’s formation didn’t sit very well with most of the Zimbabwean people. They were sponsored by the whites. How can you do that just 10years after a blooded civil war that killled many most blacks.Then after that land issues their late leader was saying we should give back the farmers land.Then cane the asking of sanctions from the West when they knew very well that they weren’t going to affect Mugabe, they clapped hand when Mugabe was removed then rushed to America to ask for more sanctions. They don’t respect their own constitution,no respect for women. Get sponsoring from the west and buy themselves cars ,house.MDc has got poor jugdgement and takes people for granted. ZANU PF is not a saint as we aĺl know but if you are going to be the alternative and preaching democracy you have to practise it so i think those who support ZANU PF prefer the devil they know.

  20. The opposition is not offering anything other than shouting on top of their voices the evils of ZANU(PF). They have volumes and volumes of ZANU(PF) evils and are putting nothing on the table for the electorate. We all know what ZANU(PF) has done whether good or bad. So don’t tell us what we already know. Tiudzei zvamunazvo. Being abusive and insulting to those who hold different views to your own will not help anything.

    1. Check their manifesto called SMART it was launched live on television.

  21. Even if chamisa wins people who are suffering will always be there.What you have to know is there are a lot of people who benefited through ZANU and a number are still benefiting.Maybe I can fire the question back to you: Why would a normal person vote for Chamisa.

  22. Farai Johnson Nhire

    Even kuAmerika kwamunochiva kune Democrats neRepublicans. Kumwezve kuBritain kune Labour ne Coservatives. Kusouthafrica kune Anc ne Democratic Alliance. Pabattery Pane Negative Nepositive Terminals. Pa ZESA POWER panelive neneutral. Paromance panemurume nemukadzi. Zvagara zvakangoita zviviri zviviri. kufamba chaiko you need your left and right limp. Kunevanotenda kudenga kunaJesu naSatani. Muzimbabwe mune ZANU PF NEMDC. Zanu ndiye Jesu Mdc ndiye satani.

  23. VaMbofana njere ndidzo shoma chete. Dai mambodzoka kuskuru.

  24. VaMbofanna dai mambodzoka ku skuru. Njere dzinenge shoma

  25. Mbofana urimboko.Why do you think that your views are sanitised and must be embraced by all the people of Zimbabwe.

  26. why would anyone vote for both ED and Chamisa 30 000 people are out of employment because of the Zuva case ED owns Zuva Chamisa is the lawyer that left 30 000 people unemployed

    1. so who is right chamisa or mnangagwa or esle mugabe is suppose to come back
      his throne

  27. chamisa always talk back and forth. nhasi anoramba izvo mangwana oda izvozvo zvaaramba I will vote for ed, does not change goal post when talking

  28. It’s not about being normal or being abnormal. It’s about choices. Zanu pf supporters are normal, and MDC supporters are normal. The author seems to have the same mind with Mugabe, who believed that anyone who did not agree with him was a devil and had to be maimed, jailed or killed. The author is not a democrat at all, because true democrats accept that people’s views differ, and that does not make such people enemies. Zanu pf had a dictator as its leader, but they somehow liberated themselves from that dictator, and now they are chatting a new path, which I can freely follow or oppose.I should support Chamisa without Zanu pf having to call me abnormal, and I should also support Mnangagwa without MDC calling me abnormal. The author of this article is dangerous for Zimbabwe politics, and I pray that my children do not find and read his article.

  29. Two words, Stockholm Syndrome.

  30. This is poor editing

  31. I have been voting for MDC from its inception, with the hope of removing the then president for a change, but it failed. this time i have realized its insanity to continue voting for them when zanu has transformed itself and change is on the ground for everyone to see. the minute Jonso started attacking command agriculture, my eyes were opened. some politicians are selfish and do not care about the povo. ED has my vote

  32. It’s about time. Zanu must go. Those guys have looked and they still want to continue looting. I think voting for Zanu must be treated as a criminal offence

  33. This Mbofana guy does not look normal himself.

  34. This is partly to do with the ZanuPf rigging machinery and Stockholm Syndrome. I am pretty sure there is a lot of ballot stuffing by ZanuPf known only to the military top bra*s. When Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai on 2008 it was because the military wanted to punish Mugabe. There was no rigging – Solomon Mujuru played a part, he advised the army not to rig although he had retired.
    Stockholm syndrome – human beings get used to or adapt to their everyday surroundings and routines in a short space of time and trying to change that environment/routine they are used to is hard/stressful and they normally resist.
    One of the most stressful activities in life is moving house, the others are death of a loved one, divorce, major illness or injury and job loss. People are used to ZanuPf.
    Reserves are dirty and poor. If you try and take one villager to live in the city, the villager will find the surroundings very stressful to deal with and would much rather go back to the poverty in the Reserves.

  35. just check where this mbofana guy is coming from

  36. im normal and i will vote for ed

  37. zanu pf is better than chamisa

  38. political theory is different from practical politics chamisa is nothing

  39. zimbabwe more safe in zanu pf

  40. Comment…michu u a spot on, surely voting zanu must treated as an criminal offence

  41. how will u ever know that your wife is the best woman if u have never been with other women asinikezeni iMDC a chance to prove themselves ….

  42. how will u ever know that your wife is the best woman if u have never been with other women asinikezeni iMDC a chance to prove themselves ….

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