'Dog-eat-dog' in post-Mugabe era

HARARE - As the debate on who will succeed President Robert Mugabe if he finally vacates office continues, interesting scenarios have come out with two front-runners in First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa while former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is touted as a dark horse who may spring a surprise.

Others, like controversial playwright Cont Mhlanga, believe the debate on who will succeed Mugabe should not even be a matter of discussion.

“The burning issue should be how political parties — Zanu PF, the MDC and all opposition parties can learn to share power, they need to sit down and negotiate how they do it.”

He said as of now, people were just guessing on who will succeed Mugabe because there are no processes of succession, power sharing and no one knows them.

“Their party constitutions do not spell out how succession will be handled and political leaders are always twisting and changing their constitutions’ contents to suit their agenda so as not to share power.”

The playwright added that Zanu PF politics and indeed politics in general is very unpredictable. “Who could have predicted three years ago that (Joice) Mujuru and (Dydmus) Mutasa would be where they are today?”

The controversial playwright said the splits in Zanu PF and opposition parties are manifestation that our politicians do not want to share power at all.

“The MDC has split into countless small parties while Zanu PF is firing top officials from the party because politicians do not want to share power.”

Mhlanga believes Mugabe and Tsvangirai as political leaders of Zanu PF and MDC respectively, have over the years failed to share power, even within their own political parties. He said he has long lost faith in Mugabe and all “his old guard and personally I do not even want any of them to replace Mugabe because they have already damaged the country more than enough.

“My challenge is for young people to rise and replace the old guard because you cannot teach them any new tricks as they are stuck in outdated politics. They want us to believe that politics is all we need but we are saying we need vibrant economics. We do not want politics but we want economic freedom and prosperity. Politics is not life but economics is!”

The veteran playwright called on Zimbabwean youths to rise and push all the “old” politicians out of the picture. “The Constitution allows youths to enter into politics; to be MPs, Cabinet ministers and to be president. So they should rise because the economic chaos these old guard are creating will be generational and affect them in the future.”

Mhlanga added that when youths get jobs and work, they would be building their future’s security but as it stands, they are not preparing for it.

“The youths in Zimbabwe have no future at all because they cannot be gainfully employed; hence they are not creating their future security. They have no security because now when they are still young and energetic, they should be working. They should spend 70 percent of their lives working, but that is not the case with our youths.”

Media activist Tabani Moyo strongly believes that it will be a “dog-eat-dog” approach if the incumbent, Mugabe vacates office through incapacity to continue exercising his duties.

“If Mugabe vacates office without addressing the explosive succession issue, the party and the country will be exposed to the most feared for socio-political disintegration as the factional race to the throne will attract the uniformed forces and “organised militants”.

“My prayer is that the most feared for will not happen as it has dire consequences on national stability and progress. Suffice to say that there is serious leadership deficit in this country as seen in the case at hand whereby a single individual will continue dragging the entire nation on thin ice for personal and selfish ends.”

Moyo said his take is that Mnangagwa will “grab” the leadership button. “From the look of things Mnangagwa is one leg in. He is definitely employing every ounce of energy to consolidate ground, albeit in a very turbulent intra-political dynamic.”

However, Moyo believes there is no one from the parroted dark horses “though they dream of it everyday of their lives”.

A journalist attached to an international media house who preferred to remain anonymous thinks the first lady will carry the day simply because of a lack of leadership consensus within Zanu PF and Mugabe’s reluctance to nominate a successor.

“However, this won’t be an easy proposition. It will be difficult to swallow for the so-called leading candidates most notably Mnangagwa.

“Grace will, however, manage to maintain her hold on power by creating a powerful power base anchored around the women’s and youth leagues.

“Her economic power will also play a huge role and I think that’s why she is building her empire now so that she can mount enough resources to fight a male counterpart.”

He added that former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is a dark horse. “He has ambitions and has played his cards close to his chest. He struck me as someone who has studied and understood the way of Zanu PF. He hasn’t ruffled any feathers so far and has a good relationship with the army. He can be a compromise candidate.”

Mine activist Farai Maguwu said it seemed to him that Gono may pull a surprise. “He has tried to stay out of factional politics. The deep divisions rocking the party means a supposedly neutral player may be a better compromise to both camps when Mugabe finally goes.

“Zanu PF will need healing and re-unification after Mugabe and this can best be done by someone who is not active in the current factional wars.”

Political commentator Phillip Pasirayi said if Grace wants to take over from her husband as president, then she is better advised to do her homework now while Mugabe is still in charge. “Otherwise it will be a different ball game once the president is gone. So she should consolidate now whilst her husband is still in office.

“Also Mnangagwa has a mountain to climb. He does not have a strong social base. He has to deal with the public perceptions that he is a ruthless person who is associated with the Gukurahundi atrocities and the violence against MDC supporters.

“It is not obvious that he will take over. Recently, he angered Zanu PF supporters from Matabeleland when he said that nationalist icon and former vice president the late Joshua Nkomo was a sell-out.

“Additionally, Mnangagwa is largely seen as a regional leader. If he is serious about a takeover he needs to start building stronger alliances with Zanu PF leaders from across the country and not just those from Masvingo and the Midlands provinces.”

Social commentator Blessing Ivan Vava said: “I think Mnangagwa is likely going to succeed Mugabe, he is one step in and I don’t think he will let this chance go should there be any vacancy, but it is still to be seen if the party is not going to split again because of the deep-rooted factionalism that, even the removal of Mujuru has never been a rosy affair.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.