ZANU-PF oiling its violence machinery, targets churches in propaganda drive
ZANU-PF is readying itself for the next Zimbabwe elections by intimidating citizens, infiltrating churches and actually leading a wave of politically-motivated violence. All this is happening at the behest of some its most senior members, notably Members of Parliament.
Zimbabwe Briefing can today confirm that Muzarabani South MP, Edward Raradza has been intimidating residents of his area and other surrounding areas to vote for ZANU-PF or else risk being victimised. While elections remain impossible this year – at least not before all the necessary conditions are in place – the sequence is mostly likely to begin with a referendum in the aftermath of the constitution-making process followed by general elections.
On February 29 this year, Raradza told a crowd in Muzarabani that going into referendum was no laughing matter and that ZANU-PF could still do what it wants since nothing could stop it. He then warned the crowd that the party had war veterans and youth militia stand ready to pounce on anyone who would go against the grain and show support for opposition parties, mainly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
“We will protect this party [ZANU-PF] and if we hear any talk of MDC there will be no forgiveness. We have previously forgiven you [for sup-porting the MDC] but if you continue on this path, we have no option but to take necessary measures,” he said. Raradza went on to threaten the headman of the village in which the meeting was taking place.
“If we hear that the headman has allowed the MDC to hold a meeting in this place, there will be consequences,” he said. The MP, who some reports have been placed at Chaona in Mazowe North on May 5, 2008, the day many people were attacked, also told the crowd that ZANU PF was willing to bring them food and projects as it had done previously. The party has a consistent record of using food and promises of life-changing projects as campaign tools to lure voters. He also said such – food and projects – ought to be used to lure opposition supporters to ZANU PF so that they could be able to vote and that was the only way they could benefit.
“Go and tell those MDC supporters who are not here that this is what MP Raradza has said.” The MP then made a comment on the violence that was flaring in Harare, especially in the high-density suburb of Mbare.
“These days if you read the newspapers, they say “Harare is on Fire”. It’s true, some houses are on fire,” he said putting to rest any doubts that ZANU-PF was behind that violence in Harare.
But it is how religion is being increasingly used by ZANU-PF that is telling of how the party desires to use religion, Christianity especially, to legitimise violence. At the same meeting, Rarardza invoked religion to help his audience understand better. “Even with God, when some people wanted to usurp power that did not belong to them, He told them to repent but when they eventually thought of doing so, it was too late and they were swallowed by the ground on which they stood on and were buried alive,” he said.
And added: “Jesus, too, beat up people in the temple so we are not the first to beat up people.”
Some of the Vadzidzi VaJehovah (Followers of Jehovah) African apostolic sect is one that has also swallowed the ZANU-PF strategy to use religion for political ends hook, line and sinker.
Own investigations by Zimbabwe Briefing on three sects in late 2010 and early 2011 reveal that they are using President Robert Gabriel Mugabe to represent the Angel Gabriel. Songs have even been composed which speak to this.
One such song goes: Gabriel will rule all over Africa/Gabriel will rule all over Africa. And a typical sermon – also heard went as follows: “Gabriel is supreme and is the carrier of the blood of Jesus [Christ] so we can’t abandon him. In this gathering we always say “Forward with R.G Mubabe and you also agree that it so, right?” said the minister and the congregation agrees with him.
He goes on: “Who really is Gabriel? Is he not the president?” Again, the congregation agreed that it was indeed so.
Then: “For him [Mugabe] to be named Gabriel, were there no other names to give him? He is the anointed one. He was even ordained by Mbuya Nehanda (spirit medium and protagonist of the first uprising against colonial rule in the 1890s) as somebody who was fit to govern Zimbabwe and not those we are being given today.”
In Epworth, near Harare the minister was heard saying the church with largest number of ZANU-PF Chairpersons was his.
“As we are gathered here, the leaders [in ZANU-PF] know that we all belong to the party and that even anything to do with sport such as football was also a part of the party. Forward with ZANU-PF! Forward with our land! Down with those who do not support this,” he says and the congregation agrees with him.
In Mudzi North, the preacher was heard saying: “We are sorry for some of our black colleagues who meet and work with white people. It’s now time to decide whether we let the country go [to sell-outs] or we guard it.” The congregation then breaks out in song saying Gabriel will rule all over Africa.
It is highly unlikely that Zimbabwe will go to elections soon but an upcoming SADC extra-ordinary summit on Zimbabwe should shed more light on how the body feels about Zimbabwe’s state of preparedness to go to the polls. Meanwhile, ZANU PF is in election mode and is continuing its campaign across Zimbabwe.