Full Twitter Thread by respected journalist Nqaba Matshazi on Zanu PF’s strategy to annihilate the opposition to create a one-party state as the ruling party did in the 1980s.
What does history tell us about what’s happening with defections right now? In the 1980s, Zanu PF had a headache in PF Zapu. They tried all sorts to destroy Zapu. First, they tried a one-party state, as is happening now, at first it didn’t succeed.
Then they started going for PF Zapu members whom they paraded like what is happening now. Look at the likes of Obert Mpofu and Jane Ngwenya, these were marquee signings. But Zapu’s support remained almost intact.
Third, they started destroying the opposition in parliament, Zapu in this case. They wanted to throw Nkomo out of parliament but held back because they feared it would backfire. The recall of people like Biti and Tabitha is nothing new.
Then they tried to divide and conquer, as is happening now. Some PF Zapu members were fired from the government and others arrested, others like John Nkomo were left unharmed. But the opposition was on principle, most immediately quit government appointments, Jane Ngwenya didn’t.
While all this was happening, Zanu PF had unleashed both overt and covert violence. Zapu held on for a long time, but the lack of international support and rising death toll forced them to beg for negotiations. In the end, Zanu PF got its wish for a one-party state
Zanu PF’s strategy is co-option and they will do anything to achieve it. All these defections, Patriot Bill or whatever it’s called, strange rulings etc are all aimed at driving the opposition to its knees so that it can be forced to negotiate from a position of weakness
The players in the 1980s are still to a large extent the same. If it worked for them then, they believe it will work again. Violence/lawfare as a stick and co-option as the carrot. If the opposition isn’t strategic, we are seeing the makings of a one-party state.