Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Crunch time for Zanu PF factions

By Bridget Mananavire

The alarming escalation in Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars over the past few weeks represents a desperate “final push” to take all the spoils by the two main camps in President Robert Mugabe’s bitterly-divided former liberation movement, a senior party official has said.

President Mugabe speaks to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa while Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and Secretary for Commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere looks on at the Women’s league National Assembly meeting in Harare yesterday. Picture by Justin Mutenda
President Mugabe speaks to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa while Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and Secretary for Commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere looks on at Women’s league National Assembly meeting in Harare. Picture by Justin Mutenda

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, the central committee member — who claims to be “non-aligned” in the ruling party’s ugly ructions — also warned that neither the courts nor institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) would end this war until the succession issue was resolved.

“Listen, we are well past the stage where comrades in the opposite camps can be expected to act rationally. One camp now has to lose and be destroyed completely for this (the wars) to end, like what happened to (former vice president and now Zimbabwe People First leader Joice) Mujuru’s group.

“Neither Zacc nor the courts can conceivably be expected to end this war until the succession issue is resolved through the defeat of one of the factions. They are now in a final push of sorts, to borrow an MDC expression. In fact, Zacc and the courts have become the new theatres for the fatal brawl,” the consistently reliable bigwig said.

This comes as the State on Friday, applied for a warrant of arrest against Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, although the Constitutional Court subsequently moved to suspend the embattled Tsholotsho North legislator’s prosecution.

Analysts and other Zanu PF insiders have also told the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, that they feared a complete implosion of the former liberation movement, as well as the imminent eruption of intra-party political murders.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza said on Thursday that “the implosion of Zanu PF is now complete”, adding, “it is ominous in terms of the party’s factionalism and its implications. The factional fights have now become very antagonistic”.

Political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo said then that the succession wars which were devouring the ruling party had reached “a decisive phase where it is now dog-eat-dog”, with no more “pretence” on both sides of Zanu PF’s bitter factional divide that all was well in the former liberation movement.

“It’s now crunch time in terms of Zanu PF’s deadly succession politics. It is truly gloves off now. The party’s elite consensus has irretrievably broken down and it is now dog-eat-dog,” she added.

On his part, University of Zimbabwe politics professor Eldred Masunungure said it was clear that “the centre can no longer hold in Zanu PF”.

Other Zanu PF bigwigs had also previously said that the party’s worsening ructions suggested that the former liberation movement was on the verge of imploding, with its aged leadership trapped in a colonial time warp and unable to heal the party’s gaping political wounds.

A Zanu PF politburo member said the party was “in tatters” and that its mindless tribal, factional and succession bloodletting had now turned into “a zero-sum game” as its bitterly-opposed combatants savaged each other to the death.

“Honestly speaking, I cannot see where we can go from here as a party. This could be it for the party as we know it. Everyone can see that the nightmare season of long knives is getting bloodier by the day and no one appears to have the appetite and capacity to stop this horror show.

“Zanu PF is in tatters and the (factional and succession) fights have become a fatal zero-sum game, a deadly fight in a tunnel where the only outcome possible is death for all. Who will be next?” the anguished bigwig asked ruefully, echoing the sentiments of many in the troubled party.

“I have said to you before that things are not looking good and I think they took a turn for the worse over the past few days. Many comrades are noting the fact that whereas previously, people pointed fingers elsewhere and found scapegoats among Gushungo’s (Mugabe’s) lieutenants for Zimbabwe’s problems, now they are looking squarely at him.

“Indeed, this current crisis is very different from anything that Zanu PF has had to deal with since Herbert Chitepo was murdered in Zambia and (Ndabaningi) Sithole was kicked out of the party in the 1970s.

“In fact, many people fear that Gushungo now faces more or less the same challenge that Ndabaningi faced in the 1970s. This is why some comrades believe it could be ‘mene, mene, tekel, parsin’,” another source said.

The biblical quote “mene, mene, tekel, parsin” is found in the Old Testament where words appeared on the wall during Belshazzar’s Feast (Daniel 5:25), and which were interpreted by the prophet Daniel to mean that God had doomed the kingdom of Belshazzar.

In the meantime, it has also emerged that dark clouds continue to hover over Moyo, as the political and legal storm in which he stands accused of looting from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) continues to generate significant heat.

News reports on Friday suggested that Moyo had allegedly been told by Mugabe to co-operate with Zacc to clear his name in court, during a meeting that the two had had after Cabinet on Tuesday.

And the analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said the dark clouds that were circling Moyo were not only “a sign” of the vicious factionalism which is devouring Zanu PF, but also said that this war was “nearing its conclusion”.

“Mugabe’s assertions that he will not protect any ministers accused of corruption seem to make it open season on … Moyo, and his continuing silence on the matter suggests that by not interfering, he is supportive of one side of the equation.

“However, Moyo has proved that he can die and rise again in politics and so, while this definitely appears to spell doom for him, let’s remember that just like the proverbial cat, he has shown that he has nine lives,” former civic leader, McDonald Lewanika, said.

The MDC, which claims to have “no interest in Zanu PF politics”, said Mugabe could have decided to sacrifice the Tsholotsho North MP.

“Mugabe is simply playing one Zanu PF faction against the other. At the end of the day, he is the ultimate winner,” spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“If Mugabe decides to throw Moyo under the bus, then that could be the end of G40, but for now it is premature to write an obituary for the G40 faction. Moyo has demonstrated that he has more than nine political lives, and even at this late hour when the odds are staked against him he can still spring a surprise and stage a comeback.

“Mugabe may be appeasing army generals and (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa for now, but it remains unclear if Mugabe is now firmly with the Lacoste faction,” lawyer and rights activist Dewa Mavhinga said.

The graft storm engulfing Zanu PF has not only exposed its nasty tribal, factional and succession fissures, but also the ruling party’s gross abuse of State resources to advance its interests and those of its senior officials.

Moyo, who is said to be a key member of the Zanu PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), which is bitterly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, has accused Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) and key players at Zacc of waging a factionally-driven war against him. Daily News