'Army wields veto power over Zanu PF succession'

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s military will influence the outcome of the forthcoming Zanu PF congress to ensure their proxies triumph and secure their interests, analysts said yesterday.

President Robert Mugabe, who has entrenched his rule on the backing of the securocrats, is heading off a deepening factional war in his ruling party that he has led since 1977.

With the party now hurtling towards a crucial elective congress pencilled for December, the increasingly influential military is expected to flex its muscles to influence the congress’ outcome, analysts say.

At 90, many within and outside Zanu PF believe that Mugabe might be nearing the end of his ironfisted three-and-a-half decade rule.

In the past few months, unprecedented jockeying for posts has intensified with two major factions, one reportedly led by vice president Joice Mujuru and the other by Justice minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, having engaged in serious fights that analysts predict could get even uglier as December approaches.

Although the army has so far remained largely in the shadows, insiders say they are watching with a keen interest the unfolding succession drama.

Retired colonel Tshinga Dube last week waded into the vicious Zanu PF succession wars when he publicly threw his weight behind the party’s chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to ascend to
the post of second vice president.

Khaya Moyo is facing stiff challenge from the likes of former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko and politburo members Kembo Mohadi and Ambrose Mutinhiri, who all claim to be more senior and deserving of the VP post than the incumbent chairperson.

Joseph Mujere, a war studies expert and a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), said the security establishment may not necessarily want to seize power “but rather to influence the outcome of the Zanu PF congress”.

“They would want to see their proxies triumph in the congress for two main reasons: One is because they are the major beneficiaries of the land reform programme and also that they
would want to ensure the security of whatever they got through  the indigenisation policy,” Mujere told the Daily News.

Wesley Mwatwara, a War and Strategic Studies lecturer at the UZ, said stakes were high as the military establishment moves to protect their vested interests, politically and socially.

“The military is so keen not only to be involved in the party’s succession politics to the extent of even seeking to eventually take over after Mugabe because they would want their interests taken care of,” he said.

“It is all because of the party’s patronage system that goes beyond ordinary party cadres to include the military element and that makes them a very important variable in the succession matrix.”

After a devastating loss to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the 2008 elections, Mugabe and his party fell back on the military to overturn the poll defeat.

“It is evident from the fact that we have seen generals taking up posts in the party while others have been influential in the ruling party’s campaigns; they will certainly influence the party’s elective congress in December therefore,” Mwatwara said.

“Mutsvangwa’s tirade against the likes of (Didymus) Mutasa, his language, to me, seems to suggest that the military element in the party does not see politicians in a post-Mugabe era taking custody of the party to their liking so they would prefer a situation where one of their own is in charge.”

In a study titled the Military Factor in Zimbabwe’s Political and Electoral Affairs written by respected War Studies professor Martin Rupiya, a retired brigadier general noted that Zimbabwe’s politics was now intricately linked to the army.

“Since Zimbabwe’s attainment of independence from colonial rule in 1980, the security sector, particularly the military, has played a significant role in the political and electoral affairs of the  country,” the report says.

“The visibility and influence of the military rose gradually over the years to the current  position of dominance and de facto veto power over Zimbabwe’s civilian affairs.”

Comments (6)

This clearly shows that MDC T never lost any election since year 2000.But the army is playing a dangerous game in the end as they will eventually lose to a civilian establishment.

nhambetambe - 27 August 2014

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the mistake yekuti nikuv yazodai army yazodai zvose tavakuzviziva what course of actions are we planning to counter such terrorism. any leadership that does not have a clear vision will always have followers who cry.

xhuxha - 28 August 2014

From the time Sir Garfield Todd (late) introduced sweeping reforms to increase 'black' participation in Rhodesian affairs there was a revolt against him which may have been championed from military circles. I say so because soon after he had to resign a former military person, Edgar Whitehead (late) took over. His mild reforms saw the formation of a new party headed by two former military men, Winston Field and Ian Douglas Smith (both late). It is recorded that during Whitehead's rule of then Rhodesia there was tightening of security - that was 1958. Ian Smith came with even more stringent conditions of living in Rhodesia. Since then (Rhodesia) then Zimbabwe has been run as a military state. Towards the end of the Zimbabwe Liberation war Ian Smith was said to be in tow of the late General Peter Walls. It was (and is) said that Walls was defacto ruler. There is therefore nothing new her. As the Ecclessiaste says, "There is nothing new under the sun. What has been, is, and shall be." Just observing.

simon - 28 August 2014

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