'Mugabe smells defeat'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his ever fighting Zanu PF party are in panic mode as they fear losing the 2018 elections, with the rotting economy only worsening their fright, analysts and opposition parties said.

Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has ever known since independence in 1980, is also struggling to contain factionalism in his party —and party insiders are now anticipating a 2018 loss.

Apparently, trying to put a lid on the factional flames, Mugabe has hinted that he could retire, something that insiders say shows how serious the problems besetting the country have become.

A respected South Africa-based think tank NKC African Economics (NKC) last week said even though Zanu PF stands no chance of winning the 2018 elections, the status quo is likely to remain come 2018.

“We remain unconvinced that Zanu PF can win another election when 2018 rolls around, so the heating up power struggles in Zanu PF to replace…Mugabe with the assumption that head of Zanu PF will translate into head of State is deeply flawed and holds a potentially nasty surprise for the pyrrhic victory.

“That will not stop the rot, and as 2014 there is some suggestion that…Mugabe does long for life after one of his squabbling minions takes over the party. That is a more likely explanation for…Mugabe’s melancholy moment than any real intention to step down now,” NKC said.

Zimbabwe has been burning under Mugabe’s watch amid economic meltdown, rising joblessness, cash shortages and high levels of poverty. His party has been on tenterhooks as two party factions — Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40) — are at each other’s throats in the battle to succeed Mugabe.

Mugabe has in the past vowed that he will not go anywhere.

“It is rather bizarre for a man approaching 93 years to be saying ‘if’ and not ‘when’ he is retiring. So he intends to run for office at 94?...surely the gods must be crazy,” civic society leader Gladys Hlatywayo said.

“It is sad that one man stands between Zimbabwe and prosperity. He wants to go down with all of us! …Mugabe will be remembered for being one of the most selfish and egocentric leaders the world has seen,” she said.

At the weekend war veterans, believed to be Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ace in the hole in his bid to succeed Mugabe, persistently tried to convince Mugabe that the G40 faction was the greatest threat to a united Zanu PF.

The Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborations Association (Ziliwaco) told Mugabe point-blank to get rid of G40 kingpins Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo adding that his legacy, which is already hanging on tenterhooks, risks being eroded by the party’s Young Turks.

The ex-combatants took turns to accuse the duo of sowing discord in the party, imposing candidates, using social media to spew party secrets and witch hunting party cadres through the commissariat department.

But in typical fashion, Mugabe maintained that the former freedom fighters were offside in seeking to dictate to the party what it should and should not do.
He insisted that the war veterans had lost the revolutionary principle that “politics leads the gun” and despite that some of his trusted lieutenants had no war credentials that would not move him to axe them.

It had led observers to believe that the frail nonagenarian was playing his cards close to his chest.

“He is the biggest beneficiary of these Zanu PF fights and I fail to understand why both factions fail to see this fact,” Hlatywayo said.

“They should not be fighting to succeed Mugabe but joining hands to push him to step down after uninterrupted 36 years in power.  It’s highly likely, unless something drastic happens, that he will die in office.”

University of Zimbabwe political professor Eldred Masunungure last week said it was clear Machiavellian politics being played by Mugabe.

“Mugabe is a smart Machiavellian factional player as well and that is what has made him survive this long politically so he will deftly play it by making sure he does not entirely ditch the G40, at least publicly,” Masunungure said.

“He needs the factions and will not countenance a situation in which one of them is decapitated so he will neatly handle the war veterans’ demand which the former fighters themselves know is difficult to fulfil,” he said.

Political commentator Alexander Rusero also said in spite of Mugabe’s wrongs Zimbabwe was not yet ready for a post Mugabe era, suggesting that Mugabe’s efforts to stay on were rather a show of mercy as his removal could end in bloodshed.

“It’s wishful thinking to think that Mugabe will retire given that there is jostling among the provinces to nominate him as the party’s candidate for 2018,’’ he said.

“The political strategy has always been to prop one faction against the other. Now you have a situation in which G40 is down already so for him to have fired salvos at Kasukuwere, there was no need but rather there was need for him to give them a life-line.”

The media lecturer added that the country finds itself in a catch 22 situation and needs Mugabe in power to maintain peace.

“The precarious situation we find ourselves in is that we would rather have a Mugabe in power for the sake for peace because there is no one who is capable of taking Zimbabwe forward, the opposition itself is in disarray and the process of transition will have repercussions.

“We would rather have a Mugabe that is defeated in an election and not one removed by factional wars,” he said.

Comments (2)

We will have a new leader ,come what may.This country belongs to God s children.Gone are the years God allowed a single family to run his pple.Its 2 terms everywhr in this world.Some even one term.President Mugabe is old,very old.His deputy must take over.If he retires this December it will be a big bonus and christmas gift for the nation.It will be party time.Even Chatunga will join in the celebrations.Zanu will be having a new leader since 1974, rejoice .Not Grace ofcourse not.A big fat NO.

viola gwena - 29 November 2016

Only through corruption free good governance will we see this once prosperous country be restored to the prospect of a better future. This will take years, but the process cannot begin while Mugabe remains an influence. Chaos and uncertainty there may well be in the short term with his departure, However surely with the national elections, under whatever political climate there is at that time will produce an opposition dominated government! With such a result the best chance of progress could still well be with hands across the political divide to form a genuine Government of National Unity and Reconstruction. This must be tasked with putting an end to corruption through cronyism and patronage, and in particular for a determined start pursuing those responsible for the theft of the states mineral assets. It should set it's stall out to earn the trust of the international community through the prospect of fiscally disciplined economic management. It must restore the proper authority of the state institutions especially civic government and the law. The cynical manipulation of power for personal gain to be replaced by a renewed belief in service to the state, and to come with authority an expected moral responsibility. It maybe hard to see that leadership emerging from the present political landscape, but the outcome of the election should allow for a pre-government counsel to enjoin in setting out the principals and precepts for the GNU&R to come into being. It could just be that with a mood of hope mixed with desperation a focus on the higher purpose would rise above the self-serving and factional bickering we have become so used to We must all pray so!?

philip jackson - 30 November 2016

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