FORMER Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere says the party’s dominance in Mashonaland provinces is based on massive coersion of the villagers and intimidation using threats of the return of war if the opposition rises to power.
The revelation follows consistent victories by Zanu PF in the Mashonaland provinces since the days of the late president Robert Mugabe.
In the latest elections held on Wednesday and Thursday last week, the main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa failed to get a single parliamentary seat in Mashonaland Central while Zanu PF won all the 18 constituencies.
In Mashonaland East, the CCC managed a paltry three seats while Zanu PF got 20. The opposition also fared badly in Mashonaland East where it got six seats while Zanu PF got 16.
In an interview with The NewsHawks from his base in South Africa, Kasukuwere said any talk of the return of war in Mashonaland provinces invokes serious fear among the villagers and Zanu PF has always used the trick to intimidate the masses.
“The people who are in the Mashonaland provinces experienced the painful experiences of the armed liberation war. The people there do not want to hear anything about a repeat of such experiences. So Zanu PF as the party which played a role during the liberation struggle has always used that as a trick to garner votes by telling the villagers that if they vote for the opposition, there will be a return of war,” he said.
Kasukuwere also revealed that Zanu PF has also been using massive coercion as another strategy to maintain its dominance in the Mashonaland provinces.
“Massive coercion has been the strategy. The people there are forced to vote for the party. There is also poverty that side and the party uses it to its advantage by dangling food handouts and agricultural inputs,” he said.
The former Mount Darwin legislator also revealed that in other parts of the country, Zanu PF however cannot use the same strategies.
“In Matabeleland you can’t talk of war and hope to win. That is why Mnangagwa lost there. Faz (Zanu PF shadowy intelligence-affiliated group Forever Associates Zimbabwe) could not do much in Matabeleland. That is the reason,” said Kasukuwere.
Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the University of London, also explained that the ethos of war are strengthening the grip of Zanu PF in Mashonaland provinces.
“I think it is still remembered that the Zanla forces were often heavily active in the Mashonaland provinces. In those locations, the liberation ethos remains strong,” he said.
Chan also spoke about the intimidation campaign of the ruling party in the areas as another strategy being used to maintain dominance.
“Intimidation is certainly part of the Zanu PF arsenal, but there is also a genuine support base for the party in the Mashonaland provinces outside Harare,” he said.
While Zanu PF won by big margins in the Mashonaland provinces, in urban areas it was the CCC which dominated.
In Bulawayo, the opposition CCC bagged all the 12 seats. In Harare, Zanu PF was also trounced as it got only four seats while the CCC won in 27 constituencies.
In Matabeleland South, Zanu PF got 10 out of 12 seats. In the Midlands and Masvingo, Zanu PF dominated again.