In a sh0cking revelation, an independent think-tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), has exposed the ruling Zanu PF party for employing “dirty” tactics to manipulate electoral processes and ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election.
The ZDI’s report, titled “FAZ, Lawfare and the Menu of Electoral Manipulation,” highlights the growing authoritarianism within Mnangagwa’s administration, aiming to secure victory at any cost.
According to the report, FAZ, a mysterious Zanu PF affiliate group with ties to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), is playing a central role in coordinating the ruling party’s campaigns. Comprised of former military personnel and CIO operatives, FAZ has been accused of engaging in electoral malpractices, including intimidation, violence, and spying on opposition supporters.
The ZDI report identifies three pillars of electoral manipulation: FAZ’s activities, monetary co-optation, and the weaponization of law (lawfare). It suggests that FAZ’s involvement in manipulating the 2023 voters’ roll is of particular concern, with 68% of respondents in the study highlighting its active role in this regard.
Opposition parties have long raised concerns about intimidation and harassment of their supporters, and human rights watchdogs have documented a surge in political violence and intimidation, predominantly involving Zanu PF members. Critics argue that Mnangagwa is utilizing the judiciary, legislature, and other illegal means to secure victory.
Zanu PF acting director for information, Farai Marapira, dismissed the allegations as baseless and accused the opposition of resorting to lies due to their lack of ideas and plans. However, the ZDI maintains that there is a need for civic education to raise awareness about electoral processes and malpractices. Such education, according to the think-tank, would contribute to low voter turnout and make it harder for the regime to manipulate election outcomes.
As Zimbabwe prepares for the upcoming elections, the ZDI emphasizes the importance of building a strong network of supporters and allies who can resist and counter the intimidation, harassment, and violence perpetuated by FAZ and other security agents.
With the electoral landscape clouded in controversy, Zimbabweans eagerly await the election day to see if true democracy will prevail or if “dirty” tactics will continue to undermine the fairness and transparency of the electoral process.