Zanu PF end of the road?
By Grace Kwinjeh
Battered and deeply polarised, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu PF, triumphantly continues to rule the roost. However, all signs seem clearer than before that the centre is no longer holding and the party’s demise is nigh.
It increasingly looks as if its days of political hegemony over the country are coming to a bitter end as the former freedom fighters daily tear into each other – with sniping at characters having become a central occupation of all ambitious climbers within the organization.
Discrediting their own war credentials, and, thereby, making Zanu PF’s oft-repeated claim to recognition for liberating Zimbabweans from white oppression somewhat questionable. Given the accusations of not-too-comradely behaviour that are being bandied about!
The current ructions within ZANU easily put one in mind of all the torture and suffering Zimbabweans have endured over the years, which have been attributed to some moral justification on the part of Zanu PF’s participation in the liberation struggle, in which many of the current generation did not participate, as they we were not yet born, or were too young.
The warring factions, one led by former VP, Joice Mujuru, who was recently divested of her comradely status by the state media, and the other led by new Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, are still as polarised as ever, with their public spats betraying deep seated anger and bitterness which can be traced back to the liberation struggle.
The mudslinging seems to indicate that caution has been bitterly thrown to the winds.
We are told, for instance, that Zanu PF’s former secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa, was a Rhodesian spy, not to mention, the sensational claims by the Minister of Higher Education, Oppah Muchinguri, that Mujuru forced young girls to have sex with chefs during the war.
Something that, it would seem, everyone thought prudent to put a lid on till the former VP’s ambitions became too flagrant for any morally alert person to bear!
Yes, the factional fights might have been abruptly put on hold, but, very emphatically, not resolved – just very carelessly and forcefully swept under the rug – where all the combatants involved (always, very carefully, of course – just in case someone is ominously watching) are always sneaking very nervous peeks!
The Zanu PF Congress held in December, did not come out with a solution to unite the party and offer leadership in steering the country towards a path of development and prosperity, rather, the opposite was the outcome.
Zimbabweans are getting poorer and more desperate, with Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamsa, this week admitting that in a depressed economy like Zimbabwe’s, salary increments would not be possible.
Consequently, Zimbabweans can only tighten their belts, no solution will be forthcoming soon, until the succession issue in Zanu PF is resolved and there is finality. It would seem to appear the anxiety and jitters among the former freedom fighters as they tear into each other are an indication that this is going to be sooner than we all expected.
A weak political opposition has presented a major paradox for Zimbabweans, pushed to the limit in all areas of life, which now seems to pin its hopes on that the infighting in Zanu PF might escalate to a point at which its 34-year-old stranglehold on the country will be broken, thus, giving the opposition the much needed reprieve.
President Robert Mugabe turns 91 next month, the only leader Zimbabweans have ever known, always blissfully getting away with his unholy incompetence, largely because those within his party meant to make him accountable lack the political will – something easily attributable to the well known fact that they are beneficiaries of the socially crippling system of patronage and are also complicit in the wanton destruction of the economy, not to mention, the rampant human rights abuses.
Which, of course, easily explains the reluctance by those in the Mujuru faction to respond radically to the daily abuse they are enduring from colleagues in Zanu PF. They would rather fight from within, of course, without upsetting the juicy apple cart!
And it would seem the president has lately been on a mission to export Zimbabwe’s brand of revolutionary mischief!
Mugabe, once a darling of both Africa and the West, suffered humiliation over the weekend, as he went to meddle in Zambia’s Presidential elections, in support of a favoured candidate, Edgar Lungu! Flying into Zambia for an inauguration even before full election results had been announced.
For Zimbabweans, an all-too-familiar scene of the strange events that all too often accompany elections – from voting, to the counting of votes – a drama that has unfolded a countless number of times.
But a lot of alert Zambians would have none of it.
Zambians who have experienced changes of guard peacefully over the years, with Lungu being the fifth President after independence, were not amused by the appearance of Mugabe, and the negative influence he might have on the intended democratic outcome of the election, even in his capacity as SADC chairman.
He was booed by hundreds of Zambians who demanded that he must go, footage of which went viral within hours on social networks, igniting much excitement and glee from Zimbabweans at home, and millions more in the Diaspora, who share the same sentiment that Mugabe must go.
None of the factions can claim victory, as the internecine war rages, the Mugabe’s, Robert and his wife Grace, are fully in charge, so much so that they were recently emboldened enough to go on a few weeks vacation, without any fear that they might return to encounter a hostilely changed situation.
Indeed, it is great news for us Zimbabweans that things are coming to an end in Zanu PF, the more reason for us to start organising ourselves, rebuilding old alliances, and making sure we are going to be ready when change comes.
Grace Kwinjeh is a Zimbabwean journalist