Who is behind violence and early elections campaign in ZANU PF and why?
ZANU PF has thrown the gauntlet on the irreversibility of the staging of elections this year to the extent that the party is even threatening to go for the plebiscite with or without a new constitution.
So desperate for early elections are some elements like the dubious political turncoat, Jonathan Moyo that he recently openly attacked president Zuma who has been demanding for a SADC endorsed roadmap to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe
Given the open secret that Mugabe and ZANU PF can no longer win any free and fair election anywhere in Zimbabwe including in Mugabe’s own village in Zvimba, well meaning Zimbabweans have realized that the so called elections which ZANU PF elements are crying for will not be elections by any stretch of imagination but a declaration of war against unarmed peace loving Zimbabweans by ZANU PF militia, soldiers, war veterans and CIO elements. That is the only way Mugabe and ZANU Pf can win elections. It is in this context that it’s important to analyze who is really behind the call for early elections and what is motivating these individuals
In my view, there are 3 main factions in ZANU PF calling for elections for their own selfish reasons but the common denominator for all these factions is positioning themselves for succession of Mugabe once the old man meets his God or his Devil in the not so distant future .The groups are analyzed below
The Tshlolotshlo Mafia
The most vocal group calling for soldiers led war on the people disguised as an election are the Tshlolotshlo mafia. This is the group that was banished from ZANU PF and dumped into the political wilderness after their 2004 plot to position Mnangagwa ahead of Mujuru as the Vice President was ruthlessly crushed by Mugabe. However, this group took important lessons from the Tshlolotshlo debacle and regrouped.
They have been on the ascendancy after the Mujuru faction fell out of favor as they wanted Mugabe to go believing rightly so that he was an electoral liability in the 2008 elections.
The most visible sign of the political ascendancy of the group is the fact that its god father, Mnangagwa chaired the murderous JOC inspired June 2008 elections runoff and was rewarded with the powerful Ministry of Defence Portifolio. There are also rumors in Zimbabwe that this group is enjoying the lion’s share of proceeds from the diamonds in Marange through the so called Mbada Mining Company. In addition, the chief campaign strategist of this group, Jonathan Moyo has been accepted back and parachuted into the politburo by none other than Mugabe himself.
Although he does not have any official cabinet position, he has already become the de facto Minister of Information since he is now the unofficial spokesman of the ZANU PF and the government. The return of the monotonous ZANU PF jingles on all radio stations and tv shows that indeed the Tsholotshlo mafia is back in town and in full force
Why does the mafia want early elections?
The debacle and aftermaths of the failed Tshlolotshlo putsch has taught this mafia that they don’t have to challenge Mugabe but to position themselves in the wings ready to pounce when the old man eventually meets that fact which all humanity will have to meet.
The reason why they are calling for early elections is that they are clearly aware that Mugabe’s days on mother earth are numbered and the old man can be “recalled “any time soon by the demands of nature. Compounded by swirling rumors about the octogenarian’s health, they feel that they must pounce now so that they position themselves to take over should an eventuality occur.
Now their calculation is that if they allow the GNU to go until 2013, they fear that if Mugabe meets his natural fate, they will not be able to succeed him given the way parliament (House of Assembly and Senate) is currently configured. As it stands right now, in terms of the constitution, if Mugabe is to meet his fate, then the Parliament will meet as an electoral college and elect his successor who will have to finish the remaining term of office before going for elections.
Now, in Parliament, ZANU PF has the majority because the president appointed governors and some non-constituency senators .Chiefs in the Senate are always ZANU Pf functionaries so ZANU PF has majority meaning that if Mugabe was to leave today and ZANU PF is united in parliament, a ZANU PF sponsored candidate will win to be president until 2013.
However because of the dynamics of politics in ZANU PF, its most likely that the Mujuru faction can go into a deal with the MDC that will result in the MDC and Mujuru faction MPs voting Mujuru and giving her the presidency .This alliance has played out before with the election of the Parliamentary women caucus leader and also recently when Mujuru and Biti are said to have plotted to emasculate some powers in the Banking Act from Mugabe to Biti.
The understanding of the Tsholotsho mafia is that the MDC would rather have Mujuru than Mnangagwa as president before 2013 elections.
Therefore, the Tsholotsho mafia wants election very soon when Mugabe is still around so that they can shape the composition of Parliament. They don’t want to challenge Mugabe directly but they want to be sure than whenever he leaves, they will simply walk into State house from a legal perspective. Thus the strategy of this group is to first influence the primary elections in ZANU PF so that as many candidates of ZANU PF as possible are aligned to their faction. The second plank of this strategy is to roll-out a military led campaign so violent that the MDC will be lucky if they participate to win even 50 seats
Therefore the main motivation of this mafia is to control parliament by hook and crook. The reason why they are in haste is that they are not quite sure about the health of Mugabe and they don’t want to be caught off guard. They can’t take the risk of this GNU running its full course to 2013 when they don’t control parliament yet if anything is to happen to Mugabe before 2013, the current parliament will be the legal theatre of succession.
Therefore, this group is going to do whatever they can do to have elections this year and is even prepared to go against international pressure and hold elections without a new constitution.
ZIM 2 and the JOC
Recent reports in Zimbabwe has shown that the ZANU PF succession riddle is continuously in flux and being muddled by the day that the only certainty is the uncertainty of the shifting alliances. Reports are abound in Zimbabwe of a senior military leader presumably calling himself Zim 2. If these reports are true, then it means that the leader now sees himself as the natural successor to ZIM 1 who is Mugabe.
What is interesting about these reports is that all along it has been assumed that the military is behind the Tsholotsho mafia. But if those reports are true, then interesting times are ahead for Zimbabwe.
Throughout the ZANU PF history in power, the army and security apparatus has always been behind ZANU PF. However, in elections before the June 2008 runoff, t heir role has always been covert and they were content to take instructions from ZANU PF politicians whilst doing the dirty stuff behind the scenes.
The ZANU PF politicians were also worry of giving the military a leading political role therefore the politicians always talked of “politics leading the gun” and not the reverse. This was important to the politicians because when they meet the military, they would say they have the people behind them thus creating political-military equilibrium.
However, after Mugabe and ZANU PF’s shellacking in the March 2008 elections when it was clear that Mugabe was headed for political burial in the runoff, the military took over, directed and led the murderous June 2008 runoff campaign. This was the first time that the army has led and directed a ZANU PF campaign meaning that in reality, though the military are not the de jure leaders of Zimbabwe post –June 2008, they are now the de facto leaders of Zimbabwe.
That is why they have veto power on anything the GNU does and these are the elements generally regarded in political circles as hardliners.
Reasons why they need an early election
The main reason why they want an early election is also about positioning in preparation for the post Mugabe Zimbabwe. Having tested power after winning the runoff for Mugabe, it will be too simplistic to expect them to hand over the spoils of power to anyone.
The other interesting issue is that the current military leadership is not the same as the military leadership during the war and at 1980, which might not have had any ambitions outside the barracks for wont of capacity. The current military leadership is now highly educated and see nothing that can stop them from assuming power if they decide to
The military knows that ZANU PF can no longer win any election without them. This is why the military is now so confident that they are openly telling ZANU PF politicians that it is the army that will be leading the campaign with politicians following orders and instructions from the army.
Having taken over the executive arm of government since they have veto power over whatever the GNU government does, the ZIM 2 JOC group want to complete the total takeover of the state by taking over the legislature. All ZANU PF MP will be beholden to this group because the army is the one that will win the elections for them.
This means that if Mugabe meets the natural fate, this group will also be well positioned to take over at worst or at best to play the role of kingmaker.
This group must be closely watching what is happening in Ivory Coast to finish their strategy. If the army backed electoral reject Gagbo can hold on with ECOWAS developing cold feet over a military confrontation, this group will be motivated to take over post-Mugabe but if ECOWAS militarily confront Gagbo, they might develop cold feet and be content with the role of playing kingmaker
The Mugabe Group
This group is made up of Mugabe and his Johnny come latelies, mafikizolo who are mainly motivated by making money
Mugabe does not take humiliation lightly and his pride is still hurt by his defeat by Tsvangirai in March 2008. He is looking for an opportunity to humiliate Tsvangirai and wants a crushing victory in a military led campaign.
He also knows that having elections now will mean the next elections in 2016 thus buying himself at least 3 more years. He can’t wait for 2013 because at 89 years, it will be embarrassing for him to seek another term.
Those rallying behind this group are people who abuse his nationalistic inclinations in areas like indigenization in order to gain financially. They want to take over foreign companies now so they know that once Mugabe is in campaign mood, the old man can be manipulated to do anything like the takeover of foreign owned businesses and xenophobic attacks on foreigners we are witnessing now. This group includes the national joke Chinos and Kasukuwere as well as Super Mandiwanzira
All in all, Zimbabweans of genuine goodwill must now work very hard with regional friends especially in SADC to make sure that this military led war on peace loving Zimbabweans disguised as an election does not see the light of the day. Zimbabweans deserve space to heal from the trauma of June 2008 violent runoff campaign and the best way for this healing is for elections to be held in 2013
Garikai Agenda Chimuka is a member of the Dutch Third Chamber and also a senior political analyst at GMRI CAPITAL. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org