Zanu-PF’ welcoming of defectors, a ploy to decimate opposition: Analysts

The ruling Zanu-PF party’s welcoming of ‘defectors’ from rival political parties with open hands ahead of the 2023 elections is nothing but a ploy not only to justify possible election rigging but also to decimate the opposition and create a one party-state, analysts have said.

Recently Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu instructed the party structures across the country’s 10 provinces not to set barriers for politicians who defect from opposition parties to join the ruling party.

This was after some former MDC-T members who included Obert Gutu and others crossed over to Zanu-PF and had to be welcomed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House in Harare.

Secretary-general for a pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu Mbuso Fuzwayo said the move was carefully calculated by Zanu-PF.

“It is a bonus for the ruling party to receive people from the opposition because even if they rig [the 2023 polls] it will be justified because they will argue to say the opposition has lost members,” he said, adding the defections were a morale booster to them.

“It is going to be a good excuse for rigging. If they (defectors) voluntarily joined, there is no problem; it can be worrying if they are forced.”

Mkhululi Tshuma, a political analyst said Zimbabweans should know that Zanu-PF was not solely relying on the electorate for a mandate to retain power.

“The party now uses its control over all pillars of the state to retain power,” he said.

“This includes the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the judiciary and other supposed to be independent organs that run elections in Zimbabwe. That’s where even all the hullabaloo about constitutional amendments comes in.”

He added that without an audited voters roll going to elections in 2023 would be a waste of time.

“There is no democracy at all in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Zimbabwe is reinventing its own kind of democracy where the minority is declared as the majority through these well-choreographed means. That’s the reason why you find people win elections but when you go to the communities, no one is celebrating but everyone is in mourning. It’s simple mathematics.”

Sipho Nyoni, another political analyst, said of Zanu-PF’s welcoming of defectors: “Obviously the end objective or the main motive is to absolutely decimate the opposition at all costs,” he told CITE.

“It’s a way of luring the restless, unsatisfied and bored opposition politicians who are somewhat tired of inaction coming from their top leadership. This is obviously going to impact the impending elections in many ways, one of which is that we might actually get to the next election with either a further split in the opposition or no real tangible opposition at all. If anything it will further strengthen Zanu-P’s vision of having a well-managed and controlled opposition.”

He said in light of successive disputed elections in Zimbabwe, classifying the country as a democracy could be problematic.

“The strategy has always been to have Zanu-PF as the one dominant political force, and it is true to say that Zanu-PF won’t stop at anything in order to achieve this,” he said.

“Also it is no secret that within the top leadership of Zanu-PF there are many admirers of the Chinese Communist Party or Chinese political model with a reigned, well-controlled and well-managed opposition that is co-opted into the Communist Party.”

He added: “So anyone who cares to observe Zim politics will know that democracy is in fact anathema to Zanu-PF. But on the other hand from a Zanu-PF point of view, they can argue that politics is all about outdoing your opponents and the end often justifies the means in this situation. One can question why all these years the opposition hasn’t sought to do the same to Zanu-PF.

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