Sadc Summit – Are Zim's Political Parties Aiming For A penalty?

Mabhena, an avid follower of Zimbabwe’s political events, was referring to the apparent plots, counter plots, accusations and counter accusations by Zimbabwe’s two main political parties in government that have dominated the weeks ahead of this weekend’s SADC extra ordinary summit in Johannesburg.

While the genuineness of most allegations being thrown against each other by the parties are yet to be verified, political experts say the two rivals view each other as being involved in “antics” meant to attract the attention of SADC.

First it was the murder of a police officer Inspector Petros Mutedza by alleged MDC-T supporters in Harare’s Glen View suburb. Zanu (PF) went into frenzy, accusing the MDC-T supporters of killing Mutedza.

This was followed by the wanton arrest of dozens of known party supporters in the high density suburb who were charged with manslaughter.

The State media also went into delirium and brought voices of traditional MDC-T bashers who all but convicted the MDC-T of murder and went further to bring on past incidents in which party supporters were alleged to be involved.

But the MDC-T saw something more into it and accused Zanu (PF) of trying to cause a scene ahead of the SADC summit.

“We are also grossly concerned with the fact that Zanu (PF) is trying to politicise what should an ordinary innocent police investigation,” MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti told the media last week.

“We are aware that they are doing this fully aware of the forthcoming SADC summit in Johannesburg on the 10th of June 2011. The leadership of SADC will not be fooled.”

Biti said his party had long been at the receiving end of Zanu (PF) violence.

This was to be followed by a strange boycott of a party star rally by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai at Zimbabwe grounds last Saturday.

Tsvangirai said he felt insulted by the stringent restrictions he had been given by the police and the delay in sanctioning of the rally. Some of the restrictions involved refraining from making derogatory utterances against party opponents, no sloganeering and marches by party supporters.

More was to follow.

Biti’s Harare house was bombed Sunday morning in a suspected assassination attempt.

Zanu (PF) loyalists saw this as a hoax.

“It’s clear this (bombing) is a Rhodesian component within their (MDC-T) own structures which is sold to raising such silly incidents so as to attract a psychosis attack of the MDC(T) yet in fact we all know who is sponsoring violence in this country. We have a story to tell the SADC leaders on Friday,” President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson later told the State media.

He added, “This was a propaganda political petrol bomb so poorly done ahead of the Sadc Summit in South Africa. If the idea was to draw attention to Minister Biti and his party, then the MDC-T needs to be a little bit more inventive next time.”

Zanu (PF) political analysts also described the incident as “cheap politicking” and a “little scene begging for attention before the summit”.

Chris Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to China urged police to “go beyond the coincidence between the bombing and the upcoming SADC summit” in their investigations.” The people of Zimbabwe and SADC will expose them (MDC-T) for who they are,” said Mutsvangwa.

Martin Dinha, governor for Mashonaland Central province and strong MDC critic also saw an MDC hoax into it.

“MDC-T’s play game is very clear,” he said, “They are going to SADC to try and demonise and bastardise the Zimbabwe to give an impression that in Zimbabwe there is violence, abuse of human rights. The whole idea is to try and compel SADC to give a roadmap.”

Police, who have been accused by MDC-T of fighting in Zanu (PF)’s corner, also cast doubt in the genuineness of the attack, pinpointing the 17 hour delay in reporting the attack as a ploy by the Finance Minister to conceal evidence of a possible hoax.

Harare based political analyst Ernest Mudzengi says: “Some of these issues are actually real. They may not be real as antics as alleged by the rival parties. We need not put all these issues in the same basket. Really there are some issues that are realistic when we consider the political situation and there are others that are being played in the wake of the SADC meeting.

Pro Zanu (PF) and MDC-T delegations have also been dispatched to Johannesburg to stage side campaigns to buttress their positions.

Observers say SADC is very much abreast with events in the country that it may not be swayed by the last minute “antics” to attract its attention.

“SADC leaders are well briefed about the situation in Zimbabwe. They have their own intelligence here,” says political analyst Ibbo Mandaza.