Biden falls into the ZANU-PF trap


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In Shona, the language spoken by more than 75 percent of Zimbabwe’s people, there is a saying that if you want to know the mother of a child, beat the child.

This seems to be the trap that United States President Joe Biden fell into.

Only days after Movement for Democratic Change Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti and five others were recalled from Parliament because they no longer belonged to the People’s Democratic Party, the party that they belonged to when they went into 2018 elections, the State Department issued a statement accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of trying to dismantle the MDC-Alliance.

While the statement made screaming headlines, it only added to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front arsenal that the opposition is funded by and is a puppet of the West.

The statement said: “Since March 2020, parliamentary maneuvers supported by the Zimbabwean government have led to the ouster of 39 MDC Alliance MPs and 81 local elected officials.

“These actions,” it went on, “subvert the will of voters, further undermine democracy, and deny millions of Zimbabwean citizens their chosen representation.”

While it is true that the recalling of legislators subverts the will of the voters, the recalling of the legislators is done by the political parties to which the legislators belonged.  This is a constitutional requirement under section 129 (k) that one loses one’s seat when one leaves the political party one belonged to.

Blaming this on the government implies that the ruling party has infiltrated the opposition to such an extent that it now dictates what they do. In short, the opposition parties are now part of the ruling party.

Equally folly is the assertion in the statement that: “We continue to monitor efforts by the government to dismantle the MDC Alliance through the arrest and detention of its leaders and diversion of its assets.”

While several members of the MDC Alliance have been arrested, they have not been arrested for political offences but for criminal offences.

Implied in this statement, like blaming ZANU-PF for the recall of legislators, is an insinuation that the country’s judiciary is “captured”. It does not adjudicate on cases by opposition party members impartially.

Some legislators have pushed this line of thinking and looking at some of the arrests, one is left with an uneasy feeling that some opposition politicians are deliberating committing offences to get arrested so that they can make political – and financial- capital out of the arrests. After all, they do not have to pay any legal costs as lawyers from the Lawyers for Human Rights trample on each other to represent them.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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