Zanu PF's wars come to a head

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe flew into the resort town of Victoria Falls yesterday to officially open the post-congress Zanu PF’s annual conference, as the ruling party’s deadly factional and succession wars reach a tipping point.

So worried is Mugabe about the internecine fights devouring the former liberation movement that he warned his brawling lieutenants on Wednesday that the ruling party could be headed for another devastating split if the mindless bloodletting was not stemmed as a matter of urgency.

And security in Victoria Falls is super-tight, with thorough screening processes being carried out a full kilometre away from the marquees at the hotel grounds where the party is holding its keenly-watched conference — to minimise the anticipated chaos and keep away all people who are not registered for the mega do.

While the conference’s agenda is packed with many worthy discussion items, only one issue is truly on the minds of all delegates: who among the likes of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Grace Mugabe and other party bigwigs will win the exhausting battle to succeed Mugabe.

Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa camp) is openly pining for the Midlands godfather’s ascendancy to power, while the party’s ambitious Young Turks are rabidly opposed to him and are now said to be pushing for Grace to have a shot at the top post.

But some insiders say given the legendary cunning of Mugabe, it is very possible that the warring parties could all leave Victoria Falls a disappointed lot, with the wily nonagenarian finding a way of postponing the party’s long-predicted Armageddon over the divisive issue. In the meantime, some sources claimed in briefings with the Daily News yesterday that the party’s succession war had now allegedly “tilted” in favour of Grace — pointing to party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo’s confirmation on Wednesday that the growing calls for a woman to be elevated into the presidium would be at the heart of the conference’s deliberations.

Speaking after a Zanu PF central committee meeting in Harare, Khaya Moyo said the party was taking seriously resolutions by the women’s league to push for gender equality in the former liberation movement.

“They also resolved that they want the party constitution to be amended and reinstate the previous position that one of the vice presidents must be a woman,” Khaya Moyo said.

Although the process to reinstate the quota system may take some time to be effected, insiders say the party can easily by-pass some procedures in a move that would see Mnangagwa being relegated to a lesser position than he currently occupies.

Senior Africa researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, backed this view in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, noting that in Zanu PF, Mugabe’s word was the law.

“Whatever constitutional clauses that may stand in the way will surely be removed to make way for his wishes.

“With the current Zanu PF, it is not necessary to refer to its constitution to see if there is scope for retention of the women’s quota system because, as the December 2014 Congress showed, the constitution did not stop the unprocedural firing of former Vice President Joice Mujuru.

“So forget legal technicalities because what is now at play in Zanu PF is raw politics. There is also the real possibility that this conference will not amend the Zanu PF constitution to retain the women’s quota system, but may simply pass a resolution for such amendment to be made at a later date,” Mavhinga said.

In the run-up to the ruling party’s damp squib “elective” congress last year, the constitution was changed to enable the former liberation movement to purge Mujuru and other party officials who were perceived to be her allies.

A worried Mugabe expressed the fear on Wednesday that his post-congress Zanu PF could be heading for another devastating split, owing to the party’s seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars. The increasingly-frail nonagenarian also admitted while addressing the party’s central committee in Harare that the former liberation movement was now sitting on a cliff edge as it meets for its annual conference in Victoria Falls.

“The problem that we now have has to do with personalities, people wanting to advance themselves within the party, wanting this position or that position and so we have a problem that threatens to split the party.

“Some are looking at the forthcoming elections and the elections are still far, they come in the year 2018, but the ambitious ones are working, some openly, some behind the scenes in order to place themselves in positions which they think will enable them to be elected. Some want to be in those positions now. Hazviiite (it’s not possible) just now,” the seemingly-exasperated Mugabe said and called on party bigwigs to be patient until the country’s next elections in 2018 when “we will all resign and ambitious ones can line up”.

He said as there was still a long way before the 2018 national elections, party members should not disturb the smooth going, efficiency and competence of the ruling party to remain in power.

He bemoaned the senseless bloodletting which he said was now confusing its general membership as different groups jostled for power.

“That group opposite to that, and we have all kinds of manoeuvres ... what a shame. And then there are accusations across the board, this group accuses that group, another group now hits back saying A, B, C.

“That’s the information I am getting. In some cases, one group might put a set of criticisms and then create this or opposition to that assertion and give the picture that there is opposition in the party,” Mugabe said.

“Then there are lies, manufacturing of lies, talking of the purported action of people which never happened. Kunyepa, tava vanyepi (we are now liars). Chii chiri kumboitika kumaprovince enyu? Chii chiri kumboitika kupolitburo (What is really happening in the provinces and in the politburo?” the visibly-anguished Mugabe asked rhetorically.

He said while there was nothing wrong per se with party officials being ambitious, there was need for them to use proper procedures.

“Chigaro ngachiuye netsika dzakanaka. Zvigaro hazviturunurwe samatamba, zvinouya nechimiro chako, nekudiwa kwako nevanhu (leadership should be assumed through good works and the correct channels),” he said.

Seemingly taking a cue from his wife Grace, who recently exonerated the private media in the party’s ugly goings-on, Mugabe accused his bickering underlings of feeding journalists with detailed inside information about what was happening inside Zanu PF behind closed doors.

While acknowledging that in an organisation as big as the ruling party, differences in opinion were bound to happen, he called on the party to be united, saying “there is no need of resorting to backbiting and character assassination”.

He further urged party structures to “remain calm, disciplined, and united in the face of the multi-faceted challenges. Fighting within the party is not ending. Iwo mavotes of no confidence akadai kuuya aya ko nyaya dzacho hadzitaurirwane here (The votes of no confidence afflicting the party have become so fashionable, can’t you resolve your differences amicably?)

“And then those who think they know all, keep your own ideas to the party through appropriate organs. Kwete kungofamba uchingozhambatata (don’t just shout about), shut up your mouth, be disciplined and show us that you are a disciplined leader of the party and even if you have knowledge tell people in a decent manner,” Mugabe said.

Comments (10)

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john - 11 December 2015

iwe editor ndizvo zwawakanyora nezuro futi, hapana chinoita leak kuVic Falls- tight security.

iwe editor - 11 December 2015

Ko kuzoisa tight security hakusi kutyira mhirizhonga here nhai John. Zviya zvamakajaira kuitira vatsigiri vaTsvangirai mave kuzviita pachenyu manje. Kuswerodzingana muparty yenyu hakusi kuona kuti zvekuba zvave zvishoma here hamuchakwana? Varume chiendai kuChina mutipe mukana wekuvaka nyika yedu patsva. Nokuti hapachina chenyu apa. Good luck kune vamuri kudzinga nokuti kana yave nguva yedu zvimwe tichavanzwira nyasha. "MAITIRO!!" "CHINJA!!"

dembo - 11 December 2015

Mugabe is the supreme lawgiver and ultimate loot dispenser in zanu. it then goes without saying that whoever gets booted out will still say Mugabe is like cremora if they are allowed to keep their loot of the past three and half decades. they know that it is very cold outside zanu so should the ngwena (vp) should be demoted to a mere provincial chairman of midlands (gwashadombo), he will still be thankful. they approved last year changes enabling the geriatric from zvimba to handpick his team so they should live with it. a man can create a thrown of bayonets, whether or not they sit on it is another thing. ngwena was smiling when drafting those provision but now they are coming back to bite him. arumwa nechekuchera uyo. mutevhera tshisindi haaseyiwi, husewiyiwa mutevhera nyika!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 11 December 2015

Ngwena was appointed by His Excellency only yesterday. Do all you idiots think that His Excellency would demote him today just because of your daydreaming? Kwanai mhani. You've been with his Excellency for 35 years but you don't seem to know your leader.

Chokwadi - 11 December 2015

@Chokwadi, even the so-called Mujuru putschist cabal used to think like this as well but where is it now. The fact is that the revolution is now eating it's own children.

Musorodamba - 11 December 2015

@Chokwadi. U must start calling urself MANYEPO. U have to learn from the past how Mugabe operates. The only reason why Ngwena will go down is "THE PERSON HE IS COMPETING WITH". Even if he can not face the axe now in future he can't dodge. Who do u think is Mugabe's favourate ED or Gire? Joyce was removed by Gire I think u know this. So who is Mnangagwa? The thing is Gire une chinozipira mudhara Mnangagwa unei? Saka usati vanhu marema iwe ndiwe rema.

dembo - 11 December 2015

@Chokwadi. U must start calling urself MANYEPO. U have to learn from the past how Mugabe operates. The only reason why Ngwena will go down is "THE PERSON HE IS COMPETING WITH". Even if he can not face the axe now in future he can't dodge. Who do u think is Mugabe's favourate ED or Gire? Joyce was removed by Gire I think u know this. So who is Mnangagwa? The thing is Gire une chinozipira mudhara Mnangagwa unei? Saka usati vanhu marema iwe ndiwe rema.

dembo - 11 December 2015

Mugabe talks about positions when he cannot relinquish his own position to let others take over. This is the root of the factionalism because anyone with a bit of a brain knows that Mugabe will not be there forever and therefore the right thing to do is to strategically position yourself so that you have a good chance when Mugabe is gone. So Mugabe has caused this scenario and it will get more intense as the days go by.

Inyika - 11 December 2015

ZANU PF WILL SHOOT ITSELF IN THE HEAD IF GRACE MUGABE IS PROMOTED TO VP. SHE DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO RECOMMEND HER INTO THAT POSITION. THE COUNTRY IS IN A MESS AND THE LAST THING ANYONE WOULD DO IS TO APPOINT A COMPLETE IDIOT LEADER!

Wilbert Mukori - 12 December 2015

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