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Million-man march affirms ZANU-PF dominance

by Nduduzo Tshuma
01 Jun 2016 at 06:51hrs | Views
THE successful Zanu-PF One Million-Man March held in Harare last week has not only confirmed President Mugabe's popularity but also dismissed perennial allegations of poll rigging against the ruling party by the opposition, analysts have said.

Held on Africa Day in solidarity with President Mugabe, the march attracted large numbers that startled the opposition into making desperate claims against the movement in a futile bid to dismiss its success.

The Million Man March came after MDC-T held demonstrations in Harare where a handful party members took to the streets to demonstrate against the government.

Morgan Tsvangirai's party failed to take away the sting from the Million Man March last Saturday after its second demonstration, this time in Bulawayo, failed to attract its targeted numbers, managing an estimated 4,000 people only.

The numbers paint a crisis for the MDC-T with reports that the party had to borrow members of neighbouring provinces of Matabeleland North, South and Midlands but still failed to raise a tenth of the numbers recorded at the Zanu-PF Million Man March.

Speaking ahead of the Million Man March, Kudzai Chipanga, Zanu-PF deputy secretary for youth affairs predicted that the MDC-T would further embarrass themselves with their Bulawayo leg of demonstrations as they would fail to raise significant numbers to support their cause.

Chipanga, who referred to the MDC-T leader as a tried and tested failure, said the opposition was welcome to hold their demonstrations so that the people would compare for themselves who among the parties enjoys the majority support.

And on the day of the march, organised by the Zanu-PF youth league, an emphatic crowd was registered, silencing all those claiming that President Mugabe was no longer the people's favourite and his party Zanu-PF no longer the people's choice.

Political analyst Nhlanhla Dube said the million man march had sealed the debate around popularity of both President Mugabe and the Zanu PF party.

He said the numbers affirmed President Mugabe's popularity to an extent that if an election was to be held today, those numbers would shoot President Mugabe and Zanu PF to victory.

"The march showed that the perennial excuse making that Zanu-PF cannot win an election without rigging is not true.

It shows that there are people fully behind Zanu-PF and if an election was to be called now, all those people at the march would rally behind the President and Zanu PF," said Dube.

"The rigging claims can therefore not be sustained with the numbers that attended the march."

Another political analyst Richard Runyararo Mahomva, said before looking at the numbers at the Zanu-PF Million Man March, it should be acknowledged that the country has a standing system that is democratic.

"It is not the numbers but you must first look at the Zimbabwe legitimate electoral system.

The system has been confirmed to be legitimate by regional electoral monitoring bodies that have endorsed elections in the country, dismissing the claims of rigging by the opposition," said Mahomva.

"When we look at the numbers, Zanu-PF was in a mobilistaion drive and achieved its intended numbers.

The MDC-T on the other hand which claims that Bulawayo is their stronghold, failed to raise its intended numbers which then speaks truth to the alleged popularity of the opposition party."

Rattled by the numbers at the march, the opposition tried in vain to dismiss the emphatic numbers that turned up at the Robert Mugabe Square in Harare with a Zimbabwe People First party's spokesperson alleging that the revolutionary party was rehearsing to rig.

However, on Saturday, Nathaniel Manheru a columnist for our sister paper, The Herald challenged the "ailing" opposition to match the Zanu-PF numbers by holding their own marches adding that they must be kicking themselves for ever challenging Zanu-PF to a game of street politics.

"With such a massive parade, Zanu-PF is making its sure win in 2018, only a matter of course and time.

It has made an emphatic entry into the electoral register. Yes Rugare Gumbo got it right when he said through the million man march, Zanu-PF is rehearsing to rig!

Let him rehearse back so the crowds battle is back on an even keel," wrote Manheru.

"… Let the MDC-T rehearse back so Zanu-PF's street dominance is equalled or challenged. Let them both combine so we see what their grand coalition is made of.

It was their choice that that the 2018 elections start in 2016. So why cry now?

In the absence of matching acts, who would be condemned for interpreting this as a prefigurement of 2018?

Who in opposition? And when 2018 confirms it, who dares mumble about rigging? And hope to be heard?

In apparent reference to the infamous #ThisFlag campaign fronted by pastor Evans Mawarire, Zanu PF politburo member, Professor Jonathan Moyo, after the march posted on Twitter that the revolutionary party, "does not organise through hash tags but through structures like cells where the people live."

He went on to remark on the same micro blogging site that, "If this does not tell a powerful story about Zanu PF's capacity to mobilise at grassroots level, then nothing will!"

President Mugabe, responding to both the numbers recorded at the Million Man March and efforts by the West to effect illegal regime change said he would not be forced out of his position by the Western backed opposition and their handlers because he derives his mandate from the people and not foreign elements.

He said outside their Mugabe-must-go mantra, the opposition have no ideas on reviving the economy, developing it or even defending the nation from foreign threats.

"They only say they want to remove Zanu-PF as if it's the country's enemy. We haven't heard what they would do in agriculture, education and industry but all they say is that Mugabe must go.

They wanted to pre-empt this meeting saying the people must ask Mugabe to go, going where?

"I belong to my people. My people say stay here. I'm not a Briton. I don't like to be an American, I'm not Yankee.

I told Blair to keep his England so I keep my Zimbabwe so I belong to Zimbabwe.

They say I must go, the outsiders, why do they want the President of Zimbabwe to stand down, to resign, to retire," said President Mugabe.

"Only my people can tell me to retire. Is the MDC pitiful that Mugabe is tired or they're scared of Mugabe?

They're scared of Mugabe so tell the papers that Mugabe says no, you go hang, hang yourselves.

"Anyways, we're together. I'm at the service of the people.

If the people feel I should go, I will go but as long as I feel I could serve the people and I can do my best as I have done in the past, I'm doing my best and when time comes, fine, I'll go."

Source - chronicle