Mugabe exhorts Zanu-PF supporters to fight like 'wounded beast' to win election
Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has called on his Zanu-PF party to fight like a “wounded beast” to win the general election expected to take place by the end of March.
At the former liberation movement’s annual conference in Zimbabwe’s central city of Gweru at the weekend, where the 89 year old was announced as the party’s official candidate for the presidential poll, Mr Mugabe said they needed to restore Zanu-PF’s honour.
“We are now like a wounded beast and you know how a wounded beast should fight. Let’s fight back and restore our honour, our pride,” Mr Mugabe told 5,000 delegates, before adding that his statement was not to be construed by supporters as a call to violence.
“Let our policies speak for us,” he reportedly said in his local Ndebele dialect.
Zimbabwe is due to hold general elections next year to end the country’s stalled power-sharing arrangement between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change party.
The global political agreement was brokered by regional leaders in 2009 to bring stability to a country marred by widespread political violence during the disputed presidential elections the year before. While a level of normality has returned, both parties have been unable to work together effectively for the good of the country.
Vote-rigging and violence
Analysts believe Zanu-PF will find it difficult to legitimately secure enough support among voters to win the next election, and there are serious concerns the movement will turn to vote-rigging, intimidation and violence to get its way.
Populist rhetoric has also been central to Zanu-PF’s previous election campaigns.
On Friday, Mr Mugabe turned to the strategy once again when he called for all foreign-owned businesses to be fully owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.