HARARE - Zanu PF bigwigs are anticipating an explosive meeting when the party’s politburo meets in Harare on Wednesday, as the mindless bloodletting within the former liberation movement continues to escalate.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that so high were emotions within the two major party factions that are at war with each other that it was increasingly becoming difficult to get the two camps to “even seat in the same room”.
“It’s dog eat dog all the way, until one side is totally vanquished. We are all sitting on the edge of our seats as Wednesday approaches, particularly given the acrimonious exchanges of the past few weeks,” a politburo member said.
Insiders also claimed that the politburo meeting was postponed from last week to this week due to the absence of influential First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is said to be travelling.
On one side of the party war is a faction that is supporting embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations — referred to as Team Lacoste — and on the other, the party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) who are rabidly opposed to the VP succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said the brawling factions were taking advantage of Mugabe’s age and his apparent loss of control of the party to advance their factional and personal interests.
Over the past few weeks, bigwigs linked to the two main party factions have been shellacking each other savagely and publicly, with hawkish Information permanent secretary George Charamba and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, on the side of Team Lacoste, exchanging barbs with Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is identified with the G40.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the warring parties were “definitely” exploiting a power vacuum in the party.
“Charamba, Mutsvangwa and Moyo belong to factions that are seemingly holding equal power. They all know that the captain of the party is stretched by age, as well as the divisions in the party, the country’s financial crisis, the drought and so forth.
“Thus, the party now has multiple centres of power. But their divisions are also a ploy to divert the attention of the masses from the pressing social and economic challenges that the regime is failing to resolve,” Saungweme said.
Respected University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, said at nearly 92, Mugabe was no longer as vibrant as he was before, adding that the nonagenarian had taken a “bystander’s approach” to the wars.
“Their (Charamba, Mutsvangwa and Moyo) personalities drive them to behave the way they are doing,” Masunungure said, stating that the two cannot restrain themselves and do not accept to let things go unchallenged.
“As long as it is not about his position, he (Mugabe) will not act. He is quite comfortable at the moment,” Masunungure said, adding that the G40 was drawing its power from Grace, while Team Lacoste clearly enjoyed Mnangagwa’s protection.
He said Mugabe would only act when the warring factions crossed the “red line” — challenging his position — a factor he believes resulted in the ouster of former Vice president Joice Mujuru from the party.
Masunungure also said the factions were “strategic” for Mugabe, even as their fight was turning increasingly vitriolic.
However, he said, Mutsvangwa and Moyo risked being fired and being used as examples by Mugabe, although this was not likely to happen at Wednesday’s politburo meeting.