Mugabe's tactics will backfire

HARARE - Today we carry an interview with outspoken former Member of Parliament Margaret Dongo averring that President Robert Mugabe is using the famed “divide-and-rule” tactic to consolidate his grip on his party.

As stated by Dongo, if true, Mugabe is nursing something that will haunt him one day. And we totally agree with her. While most leaders try to achieve organisational unity, some do use divisive tactics to maintain control, or to elevate performance by fostering competition.

Understanding the risks of these tactics can motivate any leader worth his salt to find another way.

Dongo is right to be concerned. In using his wife Grace to stir up trouble, Mugabe is expertly using divide-and-conquer. He hopes to create anxiety within the rival factions — enough to get them “unstuck.”

While Mugabe is relatively safe, both factions vying to succeed him are  at risk. Many, including war veterans such as Dongo, now see the veteran Zanu PF leader as a divisive influence.

But Mugabe is also using another divide-and-conquer technique, what can be called confidential aspersions. By denigrating the Mujuru faction and its cronies’ shambolic organisation of the Women’s and Youth League conferences last month, he hopes to make the rival Mnangagwa faction feel included and confident. Typically, this technique is applied in private.

Confidential aspersions are very damaging. It’s apparent that Grace’s nomination was pushed by the Mnangagwa faction. Using the tactic sets an example of denigrating rivals, whichever side you are standing on, which can contribute to formation of a toxic and conspiratorial atmosphere we are witnessing in Zanu PF today. And there are those who realise that if you speak unfavourably about some officials, then you’re likely to speak unfavourably about anyone if it suits your needs.

Divide-and-conquer tactics come in many forms — so many that we have to divide this topic to conquer it.

And the ominous warning from Dongo cannot be taken lightly, Mugabe “right now he cannot see the seriousness, vanhu vachaurayana (people will kill each other).”

“There are cowards who always change the goal posts and lie to Gushungo, and yet the ground should be open,” she said.

This is exactly what the Daily News has been saying all along. We fear the president is being fed lies by his cronies. And whoever is generating the lies, is no doubt the weaker faction.

Divide and conquer is an approach used to separate a force that would be stronger if united,.

The divide and conquer strategy can be used to isolate portions of an enemy force, hopefully making them easier to defeat.

Making your enemies fight on multiple fronts can also cause confusion. We wonder if this is what the president is doing.


Comments (4)

Magie is very slow in realising things how many times people have said Mugabe uses old fashion method to dividing people in order to control them . People from Matebeleland have been saying his since 1980 but they were labelled tribalist themselves instead of tribalist and divisive Mugabe . Now it is good even those who had been supporting him have come to their senses and can now see that Mugabe is divisive . But what is dangerous is when zimbabweans come together and say this is our country we can not allow anyone to divide us for his own selfish and wicked ways .

Diibulaanyika - 3 September 2014

Only this week Tswangirai said Mugabe and zanu's tricks are finished hezveko! Vanhu vachaurayana. Tell them Dongo

chido - 3 September 2014

Tsvangirai is very correct&so is Dongo. Mugabe has proved his glaring lack of vision.34 years is no joke.I remember his vision 2020 mandra yet he cannot solve today's problems.

nhambetambe - 4 September 2014

I do not agtree that "Mugabe is nursing something that will haunt him one day". because he knows very well he will be dead when the results of his actions come to pass. T\that's why he is doing it He simply doesn't care because he knows won't be there.

Johno - 18 September 2014

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