Factionalism should not consume Zanu PF

HARARE - Martin Meredith’s The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence exposes how western interests have exploited factional faults in most African nationalist movements to their advantage leaving a disastrous trail for the indigenous people in the process.

He gives detailed insights into the effects of factionalism in Angola to sustain his argument.

According to Meridith, Angola’s transition from Portuguese rule turned into a major disaster. Under the Portuguese administration three rival nationalist factions MPLA, NLFA and Unita competed for power.

Angola’s three nationalist factions, “were weak and disorganised,” and “… made no serious effort to reach a negotiated settlement, but instead tried to gain advantage by appealing for support from foreign interest says Meredith.

By 1974, the strongest faction in military terms was Holden Roberto’s FNLA based in Zaire, it had received support from Mobuto Seseko who aspired to play a Pan African regional role.

On a visit to Beijing in December 1973, Roberto had succeeded in persuading the Chinese government to support FNLA with military instructors and arms.

In June 1974, an advance party of a team of 120 instructors arrived in Kinkuzu, the FNLA main military base in Zaire, and a consignment of Chinese arms followed shortly afterwards.

Roberto also maintained links with the US Central Intelligence Agency. The difficulty facing the FNLA was that its field of operations was confined to northern Angola and its following came only from the Bakongo.

Then you had Agostinho Neto’s MPLA, which enjoyed Russian support. The MPLA was popular in most urban centres.

The third faction, Unita, had been launched in 1966 by Jonas Savimbi, one of Holden Roberto’s former associates.

The Angolan Civil war turned into a major international conflict, drawing in both the United States and South Africa in a determined effort to prevent the Soviet backed MPLA from gaining power at independence.

This reading becomes very important to progressive forces in Zanu PF, a party that is witnessing a sudden intensification of dark room succession debate.

The survival of Zanu PF, from this point in time and moving into the future, hinges on all ambitious parties throwing in the towel and seeking direction from Robert Mugabe, who at the opportune time is set to lay bare his cards.

Why people are convening under the cover of darkness to discuss the succession issue is a clear indication that the fault lines are with the revolutionary party with foreign interference there for everyone to see.

It is clear that the leading factions in Zanu PF are two: one led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and the other by Justice minister Emerson Mnangagwa.

There is of course another third force christened Obama or Generation 40 which time and again seeks refuge from the two above-mentioned leading factions.

In the same manner that Angola was infiltrated in the 1970s, Zimbabwe’s factions have also been infiltrated by the foreign elements.

Quite recently, European Union (EU) Head of Mission, Aldo Dell’Ariccia described  Mugabe as the “glue” that is holding Zimbabwe’s “contradicting forces” together.

“There is no leadership crisis in Zimbabwe because you have a leader who has been able to hold together all these contradicting forces. We are talking about the reality of the situation which is there now, not about what will happen in the future,” said the EU envoy.

The key words here, which are also indicative of the western game plan, are, “we are talking about the reality of the situation which is there now, not about what will happen in the future.”

This is a clear climb-down by the EU on their fight against Mugabe, with a hope of rekindling their fight in the future or post-Mugabe era.

Do the aspirants to the throne in the post-Mugabe era have the glue that has over the years managed to, “hold together all contradicting forces” to borrow Dell’Ariccia’s words?

Let all those in factions and their leaders not be flattered by foreign intruders or “king-makers” who think they can influence goings-on in Zimbabwe. All Zanu PF politicians, irrespective of their posts, should be reminded that they serve in their offices at the discretion and pleasure of Mugabe.

That said, all Zanu PF politicians should leave it to Mugabe to give direction on the succession debate rather than allow themselves to be vassals of foreign elements.

Factional leaders should guard against being unwitting pawns of the continuous global cold war pitting superpowers.

At this juncture, it is critical for all right thinking Zanu PF politicians to rethink their factional allegiances for the sake of the survival of the party.

Comments (1)

Lets not try blame foreigners . in our case it is Mugabe who has brought all these problems . If he had stepped down like Sam lunjoma, Nelson Mandela , Chissano, Benjamin of Tanzania Zimbabwe would not be at where she is now and no foreigner who have mingled in our politics or pointed a finger at him. All these accusations on foreigners are a political gimmick to try and justify his over staying. He has never told zimbabweans reasons why he does not want to go and have a rest serving to accuse those who try to remove him through vote of being sponsored by westerners who himself was dinning with them a few years ago,

Diibulaanyika - 6 July 2014

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