'Mujuru walks her political challenge with care'

HARARE - Political and social commentators say it is calculative for former Vice President Joice Mujuru not to come out in the open and challenge President Robert Mugabe so soon after her expulsion from Zanu PF and government.

They believe politics in Zimbabwe is a calculating game where one does not lay all the cards on the table, hence Mujuru is avoiding direct confrontation with Mugabe.

In a recent press statement, Mujuru responded in part to calls on her to step up and lead the opposition; “...I am a product of my culture, a culture I am very proud of, and the platform to challenge those older than me (and who indeed were like a father to me) is not in public”.

Asked whether that part of the statement meant she would not stand up and challenge Mugabe, the commentators feel that now was not the right time to throw herself in the ring, but that she would rather wait until Mugabe was gone.

Playwright Cont Mhlanga holds Mujuru as a sober mother and not a grandstanding politician.

“Her history from childhood has been with Zanu PF and that political party has formed and informed her culture both inside and outside politics.

“In Zanu PF, you don’t challenge elders through public platforms. That is its culture.

“You don’t walk out of Zanu PF and challenge it and win. That is because of this culture.

“Study the history of (Edgar) Tekere, ask (Simba) Makoni or (Dumiso) Dabengwa. They will share their experience on this.”

Mhlanga says he writes about this very Zanu PF culture in his play The Good President where the old gogo in the village does not like what the president is doing and is very vocal about it, yet come election time she will vote back the same president and immediately start complaining about him seconds after leaving the polling station.

“Mai Mujuru is very aware of this solid Zanu PF culture and she is walking her current political challenges with all the care.

“It is good for her in my opinion. For her, it is time to do little and speak less.

“The best she can do is quietly stand on the sidelines for the next five years or so and let the smoke and madness within Zanu PF settle down.

“Let the party move its energy to something new, get herself back into a different new Zanu PF if she still has the time and energy and in no time she could be back as president of Zanu PF.”

The playwright believes there are many who have been suspended or were booted out of Zanu PF and are today back in the driving seats of the party creating kings and kingdoms within the party and country.

“If Mai Mujuru allows herself to be pushed by political peer pressure smoking out of Zanu PF to find herself face to face with a Zanu PF led by its current president then she will be political history in a big and bad way.

“She will not even join her husband at the Heroes Acre. Zanu PF is no longer just a political party but has become a culture in Zimbabwean politics.

“Persuading a people to disregard a culture is not an easy and cheap thing to achieve and a five-year political cycle is too short to do so,” says Mhlanga, adding: “Zanu PF has a vicious seniority culture.”

Political commentator Davison Gomo says Mujuru’s statement is not one that suggests she is out and finished, rather she wants the public to know that she is still available to them subject to conditions permitting her re-entry into high-ground politics.

“This is now an open secret and just a matter of time if one goes by what we read in the press and, of course, the public and private whispering from those most likely to join her political party if ever it comes to fruition.

“There is a certain element of the public that believe she was mistreated but against the background of the serious charges against her that go to the core of leadership competency, one wonders how she is going to respond to all the allegations and still have time to put forward a credible vision and policies for the country.”

Gomo adds that against that background, “one will have to say whatever her statement implied or omitted to say, the prospect of an easy return to the political high ground is not cast in iron and is likely to be an uphill task for her and those who are imploring her to fight back.

“This fight should never be about individuals as the challenges of nation building go well beyond that.”

He believes Mujuru’s statement to the effect that she is bound by cultural values not to criticise nor make statements about people older than her while sounding plausible reveals less of how she feels about the current political situation against the background of her expulsion from the party that moulded her into the person that she is today.

“No one can ever argue that Mujuru is anything other than a political product of her life’s experience under Zanu PF and that she remains divided as to whether a life outside the party of her childhood is ever going to be viable and indeed whether she can come up with a distinctly different vision from her original convictions that are imbedded in the Zanu PF philosophy.”

He says it is possible that Mujuru is playing for time and to avoid an outright war with her former party, she may choose to wait until those she considers her elders have left the political high ground in which case she has no control over that and may find herself overtaken by events too huge to yield any advantage to her.

Social commentator Stephen Tsoroti says Mujuru’s statement is clear.

“It is fool-hardy to expect much from her to lead and her silence so far has indicated the obvious.

“On the other hand, politics is a calculative game, especially Zimbabwean politics; you don’t flash all your cards into the open. She has learnt over time.

“But if it is true that she can’t challenge her elders, people have to look elsewhere for an alternative opposition leader.”

Political commentator Blessing Ivan Vava agrees with Tsoroti.

“Mujuru’s statements are clear and they do indicate the respect she has for Mugabe and I don’t see her taking up that challenge as long as Mugabe is still alive.”

Former legislator Settlement Chikwinya says Mujuru obviously needs as much as possible, at this juncture, to minimise and or avoid confrontation with Mugabe.

“Her rivalry arises from differences with Mnangagwa and the other smaller ‘guys’ like Jonathan Moyo and Grace.

“This however, does not mean when it comes to political contestation she is not ready to face Mugabe in a ballot.

“The challenge she may be referring to now is the public slur she is being drawn to by Mnangagwa’s people.”

Political analysts Rejoice Ngwenya believes Mujuru is “a coward, hoping to be re-invited into the gravy train. She is a liability to the second liberation of the people of Zimbabwe, unreliable; a woman you cannot trust.”

Comments (2)

This Zanu thing reminds me of Game of Thrones hahahaha!

Widzo - 9 June 2015

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