Zanu PF on the edge

HARARE - There was no way that after the 6th Zanu PF congress which ended last week, things would remain the same.

One of the enduring images of the congress was the attack on fired Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies by President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda in Harare last weekend.

Zanu PF has a long established reputation as a party wracked by political corruption, mob rule and control, and a violent streak.

The party’s descent into dictatorship after the central committee, the highest decision making body in between congresses, approved all constitutional amendments proposed by the politburo to the Zanu PF constitution, including bestowing power on Mugabe to unilaterally make all politburo appointments, including the national chairman and two deputies; scrapping a gender restriction in terms of the vice presidents.

The raft of changes was all stitched to stop Mujuru, but ostensibly to stop factionalism.

The stage before congress was characterised by acrimony between those who were for and those against the now ousted VP Mujuru.

What separated the two factions was their choice between Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa as potential successors to Mugabe and nothing else. 

What was clear was that Mujuru’s opponents had no real policy issue against her other than for them to jump onto the Grace bandwagon on the pretext of defending Mugabe.

There was no ideological commonality for them to pounce on Mujuru, but their common personal hatred of her imminent ascension to the presidency and the prospect that she could “marginalise” them from power.

This situation ignited more tensions that resulted in the emergence of two centres of power, consequently with the now ongoing recalling of certain deployees as ministers being fired and a lot of disgruntlement among members. 

Indications are that post-congress, it will be about the survival of the fittest.

Given the growing stature of the Mnangagwa faction, it is now clear the party has easily fallen into the hands of one group that is now completely excluding their opponents from power in the ensuing period.

The Ngwena group has come out victorious; and their  opponents would likely have to wait for the 2018 general elections for a chance to be back in Munhumutapa Building.

The post congress period could usher in further polarisation of Zanu PF, with factions taking a semi-permanent form.

The acrimony in the party is likely to be stronger than it ever was at any time in the 51-year history of the movement.

There will be desperate plans to outdo one another on the political stage by forming alliances.

In fact, the opposition might try to entice the booted out Zanu PF officials to participate in an alliance to strengthen their position against their Zanu PF opponents.

The only way to save the party’s disintegration would be if sanity prevails, which is possible if the party works for continued unity after congress by avoiding the marginalisation of the vanquished.

The sad thing is that factionalism is taking root, this being exacerbated by a fierce competition for access to State resources obtainable through blind loyalty to the dominant faction that wields the power and distributes favours.

Politics of the ruling party is no longer about consolidating unity, but about domination of one faction by another.

The party is spending more energy opposing itself through factions.

Zanu PF’s future is something that should worry us all, firstly as it is Zimbabwe’s oldest liberation movement; secondly as a leader in the liberation of the black majority in this country,  thirdly as the party of government, and fourthly as part of  liberation movements that produced shining stars such as Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Witshire Chitepo, Edison Zvobgo, Lookout Masuku, Alfred Nikita Mangena, Ndabaningi Sithole, among others who were genuine freedom fighters who kept the party alive through their inspirational leadership.

Those who saw the events of the congress and the current rough road better be warned.

This could be the beginning of the slow disintegration and final demise down the road.

    Comments (3)

    Why does Gift Phiri consider it a sad development that factionalism is taking root in ZPF? I would have thought this was a good thing if we are ever going to make progress. Just whose side are you on Gift?

    saundy - 10 December 2014

    @saundy. Thank you for noticing Gift's bias

    greasemonkey - 11 December 2014

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