via More white Zimbabweans back Zanu PF – DailyNews Live Gift Phiri • 28 November 2015
HARARE – Feeling isolated over the seizure of their allies’ land and keen to protect their commercial farm properties, some of the few remaining white Zimbabweans are ending years of political apathy and actively supporting President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
The whites, mainly in Mashonaland provinces, are increasingly making a surprise appearance at Zanu PF rallies, saying they just have to roar about how pretty special it is to be led by 91-year-old president. Most of them speak in near-fluent Shona.
The whites are firing up Zanu PF rallies, and are being found right in the middle of the gatherings in complete Zanu PF regalia. Some are getting the opportunity to stand at the podium in front of the crowd to extoll Mugabe while yelling anti-Morgan Tsvangirai tirades.
Zanu PF MP for Muzvezve, Peter Haritatos, shook a Zanu PF gathering a fortnight ago when he appeared as a warm-up for a Grace Mugabe Murehwa rally, part of a critical early campaign stop for the 2018 Zanu PF presidential candidate, Mugabe.
Wearing a green Zanu PF youth league t-shirt and dull formal trousers, Haritatos spouted familiar Zanu PF populist rhetoric, drawing a thunderous applause from the bumper crowd of villagers.
He fired up a crowd of nearly 5 000 enthusiastic supporters by sloganeering and appealing for help to take Mugabe to State House again in 2018.
He harped on usual Zanu PF themes, railing opposition leader Tsvangirai and his MDC in a speech distorted by his mother tongue interference.
“Pamberi Zanu PF, Pamberi kubatana, Pamberi neRobert Gabriel Mugabe, Pamberi neRobert Gabriel Mugabe, Mugabe woyee, Mugabe woyee, Mugabe chete chete, Mugabe ndiye, Pasi neMDC, Pasi naTsvangirai, Pasi nematororo eMDC. Makadini makadii,” Haritatos opened his greeting, pumping the air in the raised Zanu PF fist salute.
His sloganeering immediately energised the crowd. As he headed off the podium, he bowed his head to political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, as a beaming Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi shook the white MP’s hand.
Sekeramayi was seated next to a resplendent Grace Mugabe adorned in a stylish, sleeveless green Zanu PF campaign dress and designer women’s rectangle glasses and a regalia doek. The first lady laughed heartily at the white MP’s slogan, before wiping her watering eyes after tears streamed down her eyes after much laughter.
Haritatos is just one of a growing number of whites taking refuge in the ruling party and bankrolling the ruling party through cash and livestock.
There is also a big band of white females, fond of dressing in extravagant Zanu PF regalia, who always appear at Zanu PF gathering particularly in Mashonaland West.
Among prominent whites that back Zanu PF are Joshua Sacco, one of the few whites to hold a position in the Zanu PF Youth league, Mugabe’s health advisor Timothy Stamps, and many others.
These whites have survived an order spearheaded by thousands of veterans of the war of independence, to occupy white-owned farms. The occupation has been backed by Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence.
White used to make up less than 1 percent of Zimbabwe’s population of 13 million, but used to control much of the country’s farm land economy.
The whites’ renewed and bizarre support of Zanu PF comes as the country faces its worst economic crisis and the ruling party has urged a stop to the violent farm occupations.
This also comes amid reports names of six Zanu PF-backing white farmers have been handed to central government seeking permission for them to remain on the farms under new laws safeguarding farms “of strategic economic importance.”
Douglas Mombeshora, the Lands Minister, said: “We have asked provinces to give us the names of white farmers they want to remain on farms so that we can give them security of tenure documents to enable them to plan their operations properly.”
Previously, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangiari’s popularity was buoyed by support from many whites, but it seems there is a reversal as Zanu PF steadfastly targets this demographic.
Currently, there are three white MDC MPs in Parliament after an election in which the opposition won only 68 of the 210 seats contested.
Mugabe has previously said the MDC is a front organisation for British settlers and the MDC whites have particularly aroused his anger. He calls them “mabhunu” but has nonetheless welcomed them into his Marxist party.
Mugabe, who has previously seized on the issue of white involvement in politics to accelerate the drive against white farmers, has previously accused the whites of “paying money, lots of money, to the coffers of the MDC.”
Since independence, the country’s whites have been expected to steer clear of politics in a tacit quid pro quo for being allowed to stay.
But that changed with the 2000 vote, when four whites for the first time since independence in 1980 won parliamentary seats.
Since then, more and more whites have openly engaged in politics. Critics say the whites defection to Zanu PF was meant to buy political protection.