‘Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF dogfight now unstoppable’

HARARE – Analysts have described the deadly factional and succession wars devouring President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF as a “bare knuckles dogfight” that will only end when one of the factions competing for power totally annihilates other contestants.

\n

mnangagwa

\n

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, the analysts agreed the ructions had become intractable and that Mugabe no longer had the capacity to heal them given his advanced age and failing health — factors that were at the centre of the succession infighting.

\n

The analysts spoke as war veterans made sensational admissions earlier in the week that former Vice President Joice Mujuru had been ousted from power and then subsequently expelled from both the party and government because she had become a threat to Mugabe’s long tenure in office.

\n

Speaking at a media conference in Harare — convened to attack embattled Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere over allegations that the youthful Cabinet minister and other party Young Turks are plotting to oust Mugabe and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power — war veterans leader Victor Matemadanda claimed Mujuru had been ousted for creating an alternative centre of power from that of Mugabe’s.

\n

Matemadanda also warned that the ambitious party youths, who are known by the sobriquets Gang of Four and Generation 40, would suffer the same fate as that which had befallen Mujuru and her allies, as Zanu PF’s mindless bloodletting deepens and becomes more confused.

\n

But the combative Kasukuwere did not take the attack by the war veterans lying down, describing the revered heroes of the country’s liberation struggle as “drunkards” in a move that could only have served to further raise heightened emotions.

\n

The analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said the worsening Zanu PF ructions were a result of the party’s unresolved succession issue, adding that the expulsion of Mujuru had “only marked the beginning of the widening of fissures within the ruling party”.

\n

Renowned political scientist Eldred Masunungure said Mujuru’s expulsion had clearly not “exorcised” Zanu PF of its deadly factionalism and that this had seemingly given rise to multiple centres of power as the succession battle raged on unabated.

\n

“It is true that Mujuru had become too powerful and a competing independent source of power.  But her removal was not an end. What we are getting are alternative, multiple centres of power.

\n

“Now we have the Mugabe centre and many others trying to assume power. Thus, they (war veterans) can demonstrate until the persons they have identified are expelled, but other centres will continue to emerge until the succession issue is resolved with finality,” Masunungure said.

\n

“The deep uncertainty as to when the transfer of power from Mugabe to either of the two vice presidents or an outsider will continue. The trigger to all this is undoubtedly the unresolved issue of succession which will continue to deepen and cause wider factions,” the University of Zimbabwe lecturer added.

\n

Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe chairperson Mfundo Mlilo concurred with Masunungure, saying that the battle for succession was far from over.

\n

He added that Zanu PF was now “evidently in panic mode” over the ever deteriorating political climate within its ranks and was now constantly looking for scapegoats to create much-needed diversions.

\n

“There is no doubt that Mujuru was and remains a powerful force that seems not to sit well with the powers that be. This is why she has to be concerned about her security at personal level,” Mlilo said.

\n

Senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, said war veterans were opportunists who were hell-bent on advancing the personal interests of Zanu PF.

\n

He said their utterances last week had revealed that Mujuru’s expulsion was “just about succession and stopping her because she had become too powerful”.

\n

“Secondly, the ouster of Joice Mujuru and the elevation of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not resolve the succession dispute. Finally, the succession battle is certainly far from over and the bickering and disintegration of Zanu PF is likely to continue possibly until the party’s total demise.

\n

“Instead of focusing on ZimAsset and how to finance it for economic development and the improvement of people’s lives, Zanu PF’s focus now is on petty party positions which do not benefit the people. This party does not know how to put people first,” Mavhinga said.

\n

Political analyst Jealousy Mawarire weighed in saying that the current events in Zanu PF were finally revealing that there was more to Mujuru’s exit from the party and that this had left Zanu PF in a state of total chaos.

\n

“It has become clear that she was the glue holding the party together. It is also clear that her expulsion marked the beginning of the true disintegration of the party. But it is not only Zanu PF that is disintegrating, the economic situation is also worsening by the day.

\n

“It has also become clear who has the support of the people in Zanu PF as many bonafide Zanu PF supporters appear to be gravitating towards Mujuru,” Mawarire said.

\n

“The other lesson here is that you cannot force a leadership on party supporters as is now being shown by the disintegration of Zanu PF after Mujuru left,” the Centre for Elections and Democracy director added.

\n

Mawarire said in the final analysis Mugabe could not escape censure as the “genesis and real cause” of the widening fissures in Zanu PF.

\n

“The first person to identify weevils was Mugabe but he has since surprisingly elevated the weevils to operate above the effect of any pesticide. They (Zanu PF leaders) also went to town about the ‘Salarygate’ issue but they now want these very same people in government.

\n

“No wonder the party is imploding because … it is in their DNA (weevils) to eat and excrete on the very food they are eating. Because weevils eat from within, the structure will collapse,” he added. – Daily News