Soldiers in full combat gear stole the show at Zanu PF’s election rally as President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed that the ruling party would not be removed from power on August 23..
Troops from the Zimbabwe National Army were seen handing out Zanu PF regalia just 2km from the rally venue in Muzarabani, exposing the army’s deeply political role backing the ruling regime.
Speaking to bussed-in crowds in the home province of rival Saviour Kasukuwere, Mnangagwa invoked the liberation struggle as he threatened opponents hoping to oust Zanu PF in the upcoming elections.
“It is not easy when Zanu PF is in power,” boasted the strongman president, urging supporters to defend the country’s “heritage” and vote for the party next month.
However, the rally descended into farce as bored Zanu PF supporters tried to leave mid-speech after failing to receive promised incentives like chicken and chips.
Mnangagwa tried to lighten the mood by jokingly threatening to jail his own officials – including home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe – if the province failed to vote overwhelmingly for Zanu PF.
The embattled president was joined at the rally by a group of MDC defectors including former spokesperson Witness Dube, who attacked his former party leader Douglas Mwonzora as “incompetent.”
But critics dismissed the defections as further evidence of Zanu PF’s underhand tactics and reliance on the military to cling to power through fear.