By Thelma Chikwanha, Deputy News Editor
HARARE – Zanu PF’s never ending succession saga has taken a new twist with the emergence of three more factions joining the long-drawn battle to replace President Robert Mugabe when he finally leaves office.
Mugabe, fighting old age and reports of ill-health, has fuelled the problem by failing to appoint or groom a successor. He has also refused to leave the scene by claiming that he is the only one who binds Zanu PF together because of succession wars.
The factions, which are linked to the youth and the military, join other groups such as the ones led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who have for decades been tussling to outwit each other to replace the frail 88-year-old.
Briefings to the Daily News by top Zanu PF officials in the past three weeks reveal that the military has joined the fray following infighting within the party and realisation that it could use its huge influence on government and Zanu PF matters to field a replacement for Mugabe.
The highly-placed insiders say the former ruling party is now divided into five factions which are; the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions, the military, the Mugabe faction and the Generation 40, also known as the G40 faction led by youthful cadres.
In the event that Mugabe somewhat leaves office, Mujuru is well-poised to take over being Mugabe’s deputy in both the party and government. But Mnangagwa, who has always been seen as the 88-year-old’s blue-eyed boy, has also been eying the presidency and enjoys a close relationship with Mugabe.
Mnangagwa, who played a pivotal role during the disputed 2008 presidential runoff, has in the past denied that he entered into a gentleman’s agreement with Mugabe to take over.
Serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo, whose previous attempt to topple Mugabe was botched in 2004 in what was later referred to as the “Tsholotsho debacle” is said to be working with both the military and G40.
The former information minister has been fighting other Zanu PF heavyweights using his access to state media, where in one article he described other faction leaders as “riff-raff”.
“Several guys in the military are challenging the top brass in Zanu PF. They want to contest for political positions and they think they have enough backing to do so as they have academic muscle too,” the source, who refused to be named said.
Zimbabwe’s top military brass, which has historical links with Zanu PF dating back to the days of the armed struggle, faces stiff competition from the G40 faction that wants to see new blood taking power.
“G40 is equally powerful because it has young people who are hungry for power. They have used all the tools they have at their disposal and can easily sway the vote. They realise that if they do not fight for these positions, the old guard will continue to have it their way,” said the source.
Youth and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is spearheading the indigenisation campaign, is said by sources to be at the helm of the G40 faction.
Mugabe leads the other faction, which has loyalists such as Information minister Webster Shamu, minister of State in the President’s Office Didymus Mutasa and Mines minister Obert Mpofu among its ranks.
The divisions within Zanu PF have manifested themselves in the form of intra-party violence, back-biting and double speak. Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo admits that all is not well for the party credited for ushering in independence but says it is not over yet for Zanu PF.
The intra-party violence is so bad that Mugabe now feels that it might cost his party dearly in the next election, whose date is yet to be announced. Daily News
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