This week police raided Chitungwiza Council and arrested Councilors, Council management officials and journalists who were involved in a Full Council meeting.
Most of the people were later released without any charges.
The incident is the second such after the same security personnel raided Harare in October and arrested the same assortment of personnel who were also having a Full Council meeting.
Revelations later stated that the police actually wanted Deputy Mayor Luckson Mukunguma who was actually the only person to evade them when they carried the raid.
Is there A Goal to the Madness?
What is striking about these supposed anti-corruption raids is that they are merely aimed at grabbing people.
There have not been accompanied by the gathering of papers, computers or any other confidential documents which may necessitate such melodramatic tactics.
It thus boggles the mind how the security people are deciding to carry out such borderline crazy antics for such banal exercises as arresting Council personnel whom they can simply call and tell to report to the police.
Secondly the majority if not all the people grabbed are later released without any charges.
There is no sense to the whole fiasco, led by the Special Anti-Corruption Unit, a legally questionable outfit housed within the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
However one begins to sense some thread of planning to the whole madness by realizing that the ruling party has made Councils their target in the political battle to win the urban voters.
A Ruling Rural Party
ZANU PF has essentially become a rural party having lost the bigger chunk of economically disillusioned urban working class and professionals.
However, with the country’s population still predominantly rural the assortment of poverty, government support programs and coercion has meant the party always retains political control through that rural vote.
The rural voter however has a reduced reach in terms of fanning out any narratives relating to the country.
It’s in fact the aggrieved urban voter who has the communication means and reach who has been speaking to the global world.
And it’s a message that the ruling party does not want which it has sought to change by creating the false equalization, through a new narrative, that ‘reveals’ that opposition controlled Councils are equally if not more corrupt and inept.
New Measures-We Are All Corrupt
Thus the government has come up with a raft of measures to both dilute the sovereignty of Councils and their operating ability.
Government has brought in regulations demanding that Council invite Government officials to meetings.
It has created the office of the Provincial Development Coordinator who has oversight over them and their non-executive Mayors.
It has stepped up propaganda efforts tarnishing their performances.
And it has stepped up efforts to ‘reveal’ the corruption in Councils. This is where the raids are coming in.
In their melodramatic zealotry the raids are supposed to be equal measure-efforts to combat supposedly astonishing levels of corruption at the Council.
Corruption so brazen, deep and shocking that it has to be jumped upon whilst the players are conducting meetings.
The shock and awe exerted by the raids on the public psyche is supposed instill both shock and conviction that Councils are surely involved in some gross activities.
For the government this will lead to the loss of faith and support in the Councils which are seen as the extension of the Nelson Chamisa opposition.
For their part Councils have indeed been involved in corrupt activities with myriad illegal land deals.
However like most such cases, they simply require extensive investigations that will result in court convictions.
The many officials who have been arrested could be nailed if enough investigations and not melodramatic displays of misguided zealotry, had been done.
Instead the country will be splayed before and forced to watch the almost pornographic application of the law which will lead to nothing but countless court dates and very little progress in the anti-corruption fight.
For the ruling party however the special prize remains winning back the urban voters and everything else is secondary.
Thus opposition Councilors and management officials will be arrested and cycled through the courts and newspaper headlines.
That will be enough for the ruling party as for the sake of propaganda it suffices.