By Eddie Mahembe
Anyone who blame Nelson Chamisa or internal squabbles within CCC Zimbabwe on CCC MP recalls are either sympathetic to Zanu PF, don’t know the modus operandi of Zanu PF or both.
The recalls of MPs and the potential capture of the CCC party is part and parcel of Zanu PF’s modus operandi. The activities might differ slightly, but the purpose and strategy are the same since the early 1980s.
I recently wrote 3 articles on this subject. Just to summarise: what Nelson Chamisa is facing is not new. His opposition predecessors such as Joshua Nkomo, Edgar Tekere and Morgan Tsvangirayi faced similar challenges.
Zanu PF has always targeted the main opposition leader; posing the greatest threat to its power retention. As part of this strategy, Zanu PF would scandalise the opposition leader to the extent of accusing him of committing acts of treason. This is well documented, and therefore I will not dwell much on it.
What is not well known is the strategy of destroying the support structures (pillars) of the main opposition leader.
Let me start from Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU. In March 1982, key ZAPU leaders, Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku, were arrested and charged with treason. Though they were cleared by the courts a year later, they were detained under Section 17 of Emergency Powers regulations. Are you seeing any resemblance with the Job Sikhala incarceration?
Again in 1982, the ZAPU leader and veteran nationalist himself, Joshua Nkomo was charged with plotting a coup against Mugabe. Nkomo was immediately sacked as home affairs minister and had to flee the country in 1983. He was to stay in exile for four years. The aim here was to separate Nkomo from his supporters.
During the same period (early 1980s) the Zanu PF government confiscated Zapu properties which included buildings (in Harare and Bulawayo), farms and companies. It’s important to note that even the Unity Accord which was signed in 1987 between ZAPU and Zanu PF could not soften the Zanu PF government. To this day, they have consistently refused to hand over the properties seized in the 1980s at the height of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands.
The taking of properties was meant to cripple ZAPU financially. Are you connecting the dots now?
This historical analysis should help the reader to understand three important strategies by the Zanu PF Government:
- The arrest of opposition leaders, even on trumped up charges.
- Destroying the opposition and its supporters
- Taking away the opposition’s source of income.
If one looks at how the MDC was taken from Chamisa and handed over to Douglas Mwonzora, one can see the finger prints of Zanu PF. All the party’s properties (including the head office) and party finances were taken away from the main threat to Zanu PF’s grip on power.
Since MDC-T was the biggest contributor to the MDC Alliance, the withdrawal of the MDC-T from the MDC Alliance was meant to destroy Chamisa’s main support structures. It was not a coincidence that the court asked the party to go back to 2014 structures.
Fast forward to the current recalls of CCC MPs, the main aim is to destroy the party structures and deny Chamisa the opportunity to receive party funding from the government.
Effectively, Zanu PF wants to suffocate Chamisa and his new party.
The main aim has always been to take away all the support structures of the main opposition leader. These support structures could be supporters, fellow leaders in the structures, sources of funds and even properties.
I know some would say, Chamisa need to reconstitute his party come up with a constitution and have formal structures. I have also advanced the same argument.
However, this will not stop Zanu PF from its appetite to destroy any opposition leader who is loved by the people.
If we are to use the argument of constitution and structures, are we saying that the properties of ZAPU were taken because Nkomo didn’t have the constitution, structures and assets registers?
As long as Zimbabweans continue to swallow the Zanu PF propaganda and tolerate its shenanigans, Zimbabwe will not know FREEDOM (DEMOCRACY) and DEVELOPMENT (PROSPERITY) in decades to come.
I repeat. The problem is NOT Chamisa. The problem is Zanu PF which has destroyed our country.
It’s the same Zanu PF which destroyed the once powerful ZAPU, MDC and it’s now sucking blood from CCC. Even after Chamisa (CCC), the next leader will be suffocated again! Zanu PF will continue to target anyone with a realistic chance of wrestling power from its dictatorial grip.
Zanu PF does not just take advantage of internal squabbles or disgruntlements in opposition. They create the squabbles, disagreements and conflicts.
For example, Chamisa did not just wake up without a constitution and structure. There was a structure which was voted for in a congress in May 2019 under the then MDC Constitution. That’s the very MDC which was handed over to Mwonzora by the judiciary in 2020/21.
So, after an entire party with constitution, structures, head office and MPs was taken … Chamisa was supposed to draft a new constitution, hold a congress to institute structures and prepare for by-elections in March 2022 and general elections in August 2023? Who can realistically perform such a miracle in a year?
Yes, Chamisa and CCC made some mistakes. Yes, they could have done better. Yes, they are public figures and therefore should be scrutinised.
However, by focusing the attention on Chamisa and the opposition, many commentators are falling to connect the real dots.
Zanu PF has a budget set aside for the destruction of any main opposition leader’s support pillars (leadership, supporters and sources of funds).
Zanu PF would rather ignore the economy and focus on silencing the main opposition.
Instead of focusing their attention on service delivery, economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and the prosperity of citizens, Zanu PF would rather use the entire state machinery to silence the main opposition and the general populace.
This is where the problem is. The use of the state to destroy the alternative!
What the current leaders in government, civil society, politics and other institutions should be concerned about is the abuse of state machinery and the complete closure of all democratic spaces.
As things stand, Zimbabweans cannot demonstrate against the Zanu PF government. The judiciary has consistently demonstrated its bias against the opposition or activists. The police and other security services clearly favour Zanu PF. The election route has been closed.
This means that Zimbabweans cannot make the Zanu PF accountable. ED’s government is not accountable to the opposition or the citizens of Zimbabwe.
The security forces, the judiciary and parliament have effectively shielded the executive from being accountable and transparent. This is a recipe for a coup.
As I have said before, this is no longer a Chamisa or a CCC issue. It’s a national issue. The right to vote and to make leaders accountable has been taken away from the citizens.
We therefore need to ask ourselves as citizens: Tichaita sei? What are we going to do? Senze njani?