Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zimbabwe 1980: The Shortest Campaign in History

‘1980: The shortest campaign in history’

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

This is a continuation of a series of aticles in the countdown to Zimbabwe’s 30th Anniversary of Independence.

This is an open forum and we encourage Zimbweans to share their experiences. The following is a speech by the late Cde Eddison Zvobgo after the 1980 landslide election victory by Zanu-PF.

THE strategy we decided on was a kind of Israeli military model: where you see everyone besieged, you don’t station troops at the border, but gather your few resources into a swift mailed punch.

We put most of our resources into the launching rally in Highfield and when Cde Mugabe finally arrived, it was the largest rally ever seen in the country.

Psychologically, that was devastating; the enemy went straight to the drawing boards.

It was at that point that the enemy launched the stop-Mugabe campaign.

Ultimately, they decided, if you can’t stop him, kill him.

So I had to cancel our Bulawayo and Umtali (Mutare) rallies, out of that fear of more assassination attempts.

In total, Cde Mugabe addressed three rallies.

It was the shortest campaign in history. It would be like Ronald Reagan (former US president) addressing three meetings and then sitting at home.

Meanwhile, (Bishop Abel) Muzorewa was criss-crossing the country, with Cde Mugabe sitting at home and me coming to brief him.
It was really a very scientific election campaign on our part, though the outside world could not understand.

If we had revealed our strategy and our confidence, the enemy would have done even more dastardly things and we would never have been allowed to win.

The regime was hoist by its own petard.

Having lied over the years, trying to project these “terrorists” as having no support, all hated by the people, as just a bunch of power-hungry malcontents who could never win a free and fair election, they couldn’t turn around and say, “these people are popular, let’s work hard”.

That would have been contradicting their propaganda.

The white population had been so thoroughly brainwashed — brainwashed by the radio, TV and the Press — that everybody went to bed cosy and comfortable, knowing that the pro-Western, pro-multinational Muzorewa would walk it.

And that was, I think, to our advantage because when they woke up and found that not only had we won, but we had walked it, they were stunned.

They felt they had been betrayed. That is the danger of muzzling the Press.

The Press here had been muzzled for the duration of the war and had been forced into lying to the people.

When these people woke up and realised they had been lied to over the years, the anger, shock and horror was manifest.

--This speech was made by the late Cde Eddison Zvobgo soon after Zanu-PF registered an emphatic victory over other political parties in the 1980 elections that brought independence.

Cde Zvobgo was speaking as the party’s Deputy Secretary for Information and Publicity.

The speech was extracted from Julie Frederikse’s book: “None But Ourselves, Masses Versus Media in the Making of Zimbabwe”.

1 comment:

chezb said...

Amazing,isn't it? Seeing history repeat itself 29 years later, when in 2008 an opposition party also won the election under almost the same conditions ( or wasn't it even worse). The government controlled media lying to a people starved of balanced reporting after the private and international media had been outlawed, singing praises for a vote buying, corruption ridden party notorious of stealing previous elections. The opposition parties blocked from campaigning, their campaign materials confiscated and officials arrested, harrassed even murdered at every opportunity by a partisan police force.