via Tsvangirai under Zanu PF siege – DailyNews Live 27 July 2015
HARARE – Analysts say President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF are once again waging yet another assault on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s political career, ahead of the country’s much-anticipated national elections in 2018.
These sentiments come in the wake of successive, but ultimately unsuccessful attempts last week by the Deputy Sheriff — on both occasions in the curious company of riot police and State media — to attach the MDC president’s personal property over a labour dispute involving former party employees whose contracts were terminated in disputed circumstances in August 2010.
Despite the fact that the MDC was armed with a stay of execution order, and that there is no obvious direct link between Tsvangirai and the disaffected former employees, the Deputy Sheriff still attempted on two occasions to take the personal property of the former prime minister in the government of national unity — including vehicles and household furniture, prompting analysts to suspect this as political persecution ahead of 2018.
Virtually all the analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday fingered Mugabe and Zanu PF in the assaults on Tsvangirai — citing the presence of armed riot police and State media journalists as evidence that the ruling party was intent on “decimating” him completely ahead of the country’s next elections.
Prominent academic Ibbo Mandaza said it was difficult to escape the conclusion that Mugabe wanted Tsvangirai and the MDC annihilated before 2018, and that the former premier was therefore “a hunted man”.
He said there was little doubt that Mugabe had a lot of scores to settle with Tsvangirai and would thus not miss an opportunity to embarrass him.
“The question that would be asked is who is behind the actions of the Deputy Sheriff? It certainly appears political and there are big issues here.
“Just look at the issue of Tsvangirai’s benefits. He is a former prime minister of the country and is entitled to his pension and benefits, just as Ian Smith got his. He (Mugabe) also got his when he became president, but did Tsvangirai get his? No. It tells you there are issues,” Mandaza said.
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said contrary to claims by Mugabe that Tsvangirai was finished after losing the 2013 elections, the nonagenarian was “still rattled” by the former prime minister’s influence in local politics.
“It is clearly a case of political persecution, especially when you look at how the police were involved in all the drama. It was meant to intimidate Tsvangirai and throw the whole MDC and its structures into disarray ahead of 2018,” Ruhanya said.
However, he warned that Mugabe’s actions were likely to yield the opposite effect of what he wanted to achieve, adding that Tsvangirai’s “persecution” would very likely earn him public sympathy instead.
“History has taught us that Tsvangirai is most effective when he either confronts the State or is confronted by the State. They are making him more relevant by doing that and they know that available scientific evidence shows that Tsvangirai haaperi zvekumhanya. (It’s not easy to destroy him) Since 2002 he has not won less that 1,5 million votes,” Ruhanya said.
He also added that Mugabe was only too aware that Tsvangirai would emerge victorious if he was to contest Mnangangwa, Joice Mujuru or Mugabe himself in 2018.
“Scientifically and quantitatively, Tsvangirai can win against them even in a stage-managed election. He will shock a lot of people like he did after the 2005 split and Zanu PF know that,” Ruhanya said.
Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said the actions smacked of “political machinations”, arguing that law enforcement agents were supposed to draw a line between different legal personas.
However, Saungweme said there was also room to try and establish if the property that the Deputy Sheriff sought to attach did not belong to the MDC.
“You cannot rule out political games at play but one also needs not to be naive to think that Tsvangirai owned the 22 cars that were reportedly parked at his house. So to me we need to tread carefully and have all the facts,” Saungweme said.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said the attempts to attach the veteran opposition leader’s property merely indicated that Zanu PF was “running scared”.
“Zanu PF is in panic mode and everyone can see that, as they unfortunately and unwittingly confirm that he is a powerful brand in Zimbabwe.
“It is ridiculous that they said Morgan Tsvangirai was politically finished on 31 July 2013, but if he is a spent force, is he still worth all this effort (against him)?” Tamborinyoka asked.