Zimbabwe: Early Zanu-PF campaign jingles ’alienate voters’

Propaganda songs praising President Mugabe have re-surfaced on Zimbabwe’s heavily state controlled radio and television and are causing a storm in the political circles.
The songs, which are being played on state radio and TV every thirty minutes, appear to belittle Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and view Mugabe as the supreme leader. The Zimbabwean Prime Minister is said to have complained about the propaganda songs at a cabinet meeting last Tuesday.

“Who is in charge? It is President Mugabe … Who is the second most powerful? It is Vice President Mujuru … And the third most powerful? It is John Nkomo,” reads part of the jingles. A compilation of eight songs on a CD produced by a local music outfit, Mbare Chimurenga Choir, the jingles are believed to have emerged with the assistance of Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu.

But, the jingles are seen by political commentators as Zanu PF’s attempt to win back votes in preparation for next year’s elections. They say the move will backfire as they remind the electorate of the violence and repression that characterised previous polls.

Political commentator Ernest Mudzengi who believes the jingles were related to impending elections says the Zanu-PF leaders “are so desperate to win the hearts and souls of the people. So they are trying to reposition themselves on the political platform but over-doing it in the process.”

Another political analyst, Eldred Masunungure said the jingles were a “psychological appeal” by Zanu PF in an attempt to mobilise the masses, re-assure and demonstrate that Mugabe was still in control of national politics.

“This is a psychological appeal in the absence of material goods to give away,” said Masunungure. “But the years of symbolic politics are long gone. People want performers and not psychological politics.”

The jingles, according to the analyst, would neither lure more people to Zanu PF nor change the perceptions Zimbabweans already have about the party. And he believes that, Shamu, the architect of the jingles, has failed to establish that the jingles were actually alienating potential supporters.

Meanwhile, attempts by the two MDC political formations to have the jingles pulled off the air appear to have failed.

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