The Vote-Buying By ZANU PF Continues
While Morgan Tsvangirai tours the region looking for diplomatic support, Mugabe and ZANU PF are busy buying votes and loyalty as evidenced by their actions in the last two days. Mugabe's party is telling struggling farmers that they can not get farming inputs because the MDC-T and the Prime Minister are still campaigning for sanctions in order to continue hurting the people so that they vote for the MDC.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 October 2009
Only a day or so ago, I reported on this blog that ZANU PF was distributing 10 000 bags of farms inputs (seed, fertiliser and the like) in Uzumba, which is a stronghold of theirs. I said it was quite clear that ZANU PF was busy buying the loyalty of voters now, preparing the ground for the next election.
As most of you know, ZANU PF campaign tactics hinge on two things: buying loyalty/votes and intimidation (which often escalates into violence).
Now, it emerges that just yesterday, Ephraim Masawi, a senior ZANU PF member and Mugabe confidant, was also in Bindura donating more inputs to the villagers there.
Out there in the villages, the ZANU PF tactic is quite clear.
As farmers are still struggling to access seed, fertiliser and other inputs, Mugabe's party is distributing these things (bought with money from diamond sales) and telling them that farmers are struggling because Tsvangirai and the MDC-T are still campaigning for sanctions in order to remove Mugabe but hurting the ordinary person in the process.
The farmers and villagers, who can not understand why things continue to be hard for them when Tsvangirai and Mugabe are now together in government, will swallow this.
So this is the first stage of the well-known ZANU PF campaign tactic, used in election after election.
The next stage will be activated towards elections.
Despite what MDC-T supporters keep telling me, that there will no violence in the next elections, that "violence does not work any more", their leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed last Friday that Mugabe is engaged in the "militarisation of the countryside" by deploying soldiers into bases from the June 2008 Presidential run-off. This is something I have been saying on this blog for months now, disbelieved by those who wanted to desperately believe that Mugabe and ZANU PF had breathed their last.
The next stage of violence comes towards elections for a specific reason:
Mugabe's intelligence network in the party has always been very good. In 1980, for instance, before the very first multi-racial, democratic elections in what was then Zimbabwe-Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Mugabe predicted the exact number of seats he would win. He was out by only one seat (he gained one more than he predicted).
So, as elections draw near, he know which provinces and constituencies are at risk. ZANU PF will have an idea of how many overall seats they will gain before the election.
The constituencies that are shaky or swinging the way of the opposition by small margins will be the ones hardest hit by ZANU PF violence. Those bases will be reactivated, a few people will even die as a warning to others.
The leopard, ladies and gentlemen, has not changed its spots.
The only reason the March 2008 elections were acknowledged even by the MDC-T to be free of violence was because Simba Makoni threw ZANU into confusion. ZANU PF MPs, too scared to challenge Mugabe in meetings, were quietly campaigning for the former Finance Minister.
When Makoni was taken off the scene in the run-off, ZANU PF, the violence became so frightful that Morgan Tsvangirai had to withdraw!!
Still all indications point to a ZANU PF campaigning for an election, whether it is recognised by the world or not. Mugabe does not care much for that, as he showed by his run-off performance and swift swearing-in, boasting that he was going to the African Union Summit the next day to ask them if there was a leader whose hands were cleaner than his (Mugabes)!