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Report on Zanu-PF strategies: No naked violence, coercive tactics remain
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
April 13, 2013

ZANU-PF will not go for naked violence as a strategy to win the high stakes poll to be held in 2013, but will prefer “the means of manipulation that yield the greatest benefits at the lowest cost”, an incisive report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has revealed.

The report was launched at the SAPES Trust in Harare on Wednesday April 10, 2013 where CiZC Regional Coordinator Dr. Zamchiya, who did the research, addressed academics, the media corps and members of the Civil Society who were in attendance.

Dr Zamchiya pinpointed some of the strategies that are being used by Zanu-PF, including balking at the efforts to reform key players relevant to elections such as the Registrar General’s Office.

“Whereas ZEC plays a crucial role, another Zanu-PF strategy is to ensure that the Registrar General which plays a more practical role in terms of organisation and management of elections is tactically insulated from reform pressure.

“ZEC is the overseer while the RG’s office is the engine,” the scholar said.

Partisan voter registration of members of the security forces and manipulation of the voters’ roll could be part of the party’s strategy, Zamchiya argued.

“In the absence of a ZEC nationwide voter registration process, partisan voter registration is taking place. Most MPs I have spoken to in the past months have confirmed this development. Soldiers and police were also bussed to register to vote.

“Whilst there is nothing wrong with encouraging soldiers and the police to go and vote, it is the partisan insinuations that leave a lot to be desired,” Dr. Zamchiya said.

He surmised that Zanu-PF could try to manipulate the postal vote to win the swing constituencies some of which were won by the MDC-T by less than 20 votes. Zamchiya said these postal votes had increased in the March 2008 elections to about 64 000 from 8000, adding that if these were manipulated and evenly distributed in the swing constituencies, they would be enough to overturn the MDC-T victory and win the seats for Zanu-PF.

Patronage, targeting of faith groups such as the apostolic sects and maximum mobilization in the constituencies seen as strongholds were also identified as part of the Zanu-PF strategy to regain political hegemony in the eye-opening report.

Zamchiya said while it was clear Zanu-PF could not entirely move away from coercive tactics as shown by the targeting of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), confiscation and banning of radios and the arrest of Beatrice Mtetwa, it had shunned naked brutality and ceased making claims of holding “degrees in violence” to avoid a bad image.

“That is, all things being equal, Zanu-PF would prefer a psychological warfare as compared to a physical warfare. The broader intent can be summarized as the harvest of fear.

“It is a plan to intimidate and threaten citizens by drawing on past memories. The plan is already unfolding in targeted constituencies.

“There will still be cases of violence, some spontaneous and others organized to target those who pose the greatest threat to Zanu-PF’s hegemony,” said Zamchiya.

Zamchiya said Zanu-PF will also try to blame the victims for always trying to ride on sympathy after victimization.

“The political strategy is to paint the MDC as a dishonest party but this will be difficult as long as there is hard evidence of the scars of state sponsored violence like the case of Christpower Maisiri who was burnt to death in Headlands in what looked like political arson.”

To substantiate some of the claims in the report the researcher quotes prominent Zanu-PF officials such as Didymus Mutasa, George Charamba, Nathaniel Manheru and Jonathan Moyo.

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