‘Support Zanu PF or starve’ strategy on, ZPP

via ‘Support Zanu PF or starve’ strategy on, ZPP – NewZimbabwe 21/10/2015

THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says as the planting season approaches the “support Zanu PF or starve” strategy has roared into life and could soon be approaching full bloom.

In its September report ZPP said, like in the past, it is evident that Zanu PF deems its own supporters ‘more national’ than others and as such members of the opposition are unlikely to benefit much from government farming inputs programmes.

Since the start of the chaotic land reform programme, farmers have been getting farming inputs such as maize seeds, fertilizer and equipment such as tractors.

But Zanu PF routinely hijacks such programmes which it uses to deprive members of the opposition as well as to manipulate them into denouncing their parties in typical “support or starve” strategy.

The report says the unscrupulous tactic betrays a sense of desperation on the part of the ruling party which finds itself with no option but to enforce disenfranchisement as it metes out punishment on those who dare to oppose it.

“It is common cause that when an opponent resorts to depriving targets of opportunities or resources; denying them their constitutionally-protected rights, this often signifies loss of options on the part of the perpetrator,” says the report.

The message, says ZPP, is: “Support the ruling party or starve; if you do not render your support, through buying a membership card; attending meetings; or altogether denouncing opposition leaders, then you may surely starve.”

Also, according to the report, the political environment continues to be stressed with various coercion methods evident around several sticky issues.

The report also mentions violations from land invasions, the denial of the right to food, the right to freedom of assembly or freedom not to assemble as well as the all-encompassing right of freedom of expression, among others.

According to ZPP, these violations, despite being in breach of the national Constitution, were rampant countrywide.

“Free political expression continues to be curtailed across the provinces with consequences either meted out instantly or promised to occur at election time in 2018.

“While members of the opposition continue to be on the receiving end of violations from members of the ruling Zanu PF, perpetrations against “gamatox” – those suspected of being sympathetic to ousted former vice president, Joice Mujuru continue to be on the rise.

“Some victims are ominously threatened with being “dealt with” come elections 2018, in situations which clearly show that the polls are being brandished as a “time of reckoning” for opposition and “gamatox” members thereby generating fear amongst them.”

Across the provinces, members of the opposition as well as members of the ruling party associated with Mujuru are also being denied access to input support programmes.

As the Zanu PF government has been doing every year, agricultural inputs are sourced and distributed to the communities particularly those in the rural and farming areas in the last quarter of the year in time for the cropping season.

“In a country that does not have many opportunities for its citizens and one that relies mostly on agriculture for the livelihoods of the majority of its people, these unscrupulous tactics to disenfranchise often have the effect of near starvation for those targeted,” said the ZPP.