Zanu PF on the brink

HARARE – The vicious Zanu PF succession battle has taken a turn for the worse, amid fears that this could scuttle the current delicate Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiations and fan more political violence in the country.

Impeccable sources in Zanu PF told the Daily News last night that so bad had factionalism in the party become that there were real fears that the party could implode and split into two, with massive negative consequences for the party and country.

“Things are that bad inside the party, with no quarter being given by either of the feuding parties.  The worry is that these guys are so determined to get their way regardless of the consequences that they may even resort to brewing up more political chaos and violence across the country.

“In the end Zimbabweans must wake up to the fact that this coagulating crisis has a negative impact beyond Zanu PF.  Some of these guys are mad enough to completely destroy the GPA.  Just watch the next few days, Zanu PF negotiators will harden their stance in the next round of negotiations,” one of the sources who claimed to be neutral in the succession war said.

The two main factions in the party have been linked to Vice-president Joice Mujuru and her husband, retired general Solomon Mujuru on the one hand, with the other allegedly led by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two camps, while not officially owned by the alleged puppet masters, have been at each other’s throat for more than a decade – and culminated in the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration five years ago – which saw serial political flip-flopper Jonathan becoming a major casualty of the infighting.

Another party source told the Daily News last night that while all the players were agreed that it was time for President Robert Mugabe to go, there was no agreement or consensus on who should take over from him.

“He (Mugabe) is too old and his health is not at its best and cannot be presented as a candidate to the electorate and would lose dismally to Morgan Tsvangirai in the next election.

Added to that, his sanctions mantra is no longer useful and people are no longer interested in the issue.

“The indigenisation propaganda has also failed to get the president meaningful support from the grassroots as it only benefits top government officials as has happened with the land reform programme.

“This is what has brought matters to a head now and it is survival of the fittest in the party. The biggest tragedy for the party is that even as every one realises it is time for the old man to go, there is simply no-one within the ranks of the party who has the stature and following to succeed him without creating more chaos,” he said.

Both sources said Mugabe was aware of the challenges he faced from the two main factions in the party – although no-one had been brave enough thus far to broach the subject with him – given what happened to former attorney general Sobuza Gula-Ndebele four years ago when he tried to advise Mugabe to “rest” and was promptly dismissed from his post.

The Sunday Times of South Africa reported at the weekend that the battle to succeed Mugabe had intensified as it had become clearer that the octogenarian leader would not have the energy to run for another term in next year’s elections.

So desperate is one of the factions that it is believed that it has allegedly sought to form an alliance with MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, to ensure that they remain in power in case something happens to Mugabe.

However, the MDC has said it would never agree to such an alliance.

“Gloves are off and the Zanu PF camps are now openly holding meetings in different provinces during weekends with the Mnangangwa camp mostly meeting in Kwekwe and the Mujurus in Harare and the surrounding areas. Ultimately, intra-Zanu PF violence is inevitable,” one of the highly-placed Zanu PF sources said.

While the Mujurus and Mnangagwa were not available for comment on the matter last night, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, dismissed the allegations.

“I do not know anything about it, I think it is just propaganda.

“We do not expect people from Zanu PF to enlist help from the MDC,” Gumbo said. – Daily News