Zanu PF on the brink

HARARE - “When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

The above statement was a Delphic message to the British media in April 2005 by former Manchester United iconic skipper — Eric Cantona — after he escaped a prison sentence following his kung-fu kick on an abusive fan at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace.

This was in response to his savaging by the media after the kicking incident and he deemed himself as a sardine being followed by seagulls (journalists) before and during his court appearance.

The shifting political sands witnessed since the Zanu PF December congress which purged former vice president Joice Mujuru and her allies — might have taken the party to the brink.

Mujuru has been treated like a sardine in the last three months by a motley crew of overzealous Zanu PF youths and senior politicians who masterminded her downfall.

And her expulsion on April 2 from the party in which she had been part of for 42 years, appeared to have sealed her fate, but, as we report elsewhere in this paper, Mujuru and her allies are forming their own party to challenge Zanu PF.

Disgruntled war veterans, nationalists, serving and retired army generals have coalesced to return to the original Zanu PF with the slogan “People First” that will be led by Mujuru.

According to Rugare Gumbo, one of the people behind the new party, the expulsion of Mujuru was expected “because Zanu PF played into our hands.”

While it was always expected that this would happen one day, surely Zimbabweans should now brace for exciting political times but also a long winter given how President Robert Mugabe and his hardliners have often responded to opposition.

Mugabe has never tolerated dissent and it would be folly to expect him to give the new party a silent treatment.

Mujuru and Mutasa have been Mugabe’s pillars for long and the collapse of that long-standing camaraderie appears to have no happy ending.

It is our and indeed every Zimbabwean’s hope that Mugabe and Zanu PF will be prepared to knuckle it down with former colleagues without resorting to means that induce palpable fear among the people.

We have seen that happening with the emergence of the MDC and we shudder to think what the course would be like with the Zanu People First which Mutasa and colleagues say is the original one.

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