Zanu PF wars take new twist

HARARE - After months of the Zanu PF faction rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions being on the front foot in the ruling party’s seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and succession wars, the tide may again be turning in his opponents’ favour.

At the same time, analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the proposal by the Zanu PF youth league to have President Robert Mugabe declared life president could in fact be “the coming to fruition” of a long-held ambition by the increasingly frail nonagenarian to die in office.

In a surprising move at Zanu PF’s annual conference that was held in Masvingo — that is meant to scuttle Mnangagwa’s higher ambitions — the party’s women’s league, which is led by powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe, pulled a stunner when it revived its 2015 resolution to have the former liberation movement’s constitution amended to reinstate the women’s quota clause.

This is despite the fact that in the run-up to the conference, the women’s league had seemingly made a dramatic U-turn about this demand, saying repeatedly that they were no longer pursuing the resolution which was supposed to have been implemented by the end of this year.

And contacted for comment yesterday to say what this meant, Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, would only tell the Daily News that once a resolution was made and adopted by conference, the next stage was coming up with modalities of its implementation.

“When resolutions are made and adopted by conference, it is the implementation matrix that must be worked on,” Kasukuwere said curtly before referring further questions to Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo. On his part, Chombo said the party would soon be looking into all the resolutions that had been made, to see how best the issues could be handled.

“I have not had time to look at the resolutions and I will be looking at them this week, with the intention to hand them over to our secretary for legal affairs (Patrick) Chinamasa, to come up with the appropriate strategy,” an equally cagey Chombo said

According to the women’s league resolution, the party is supposed to drop either Mnangagwa or Mugabe’s other deputy, Phelekezela Mphoko, to make way for a woman — a call which has put Mnangagwa’s camp, Team Lacoste, on the edge as its foes, the Generation 40 (G40) faction, slowly regroups after months of being on the back foot.

The resolution also piles pressure on Chinamasa to finally kick-start the process of the party’s constitutional amendments, to enable its implementation, as was demanded at last year’s Victoria Falls gathering.

Speaking in a recent interview with the Daily News, the influential women’s league’s forthright national secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka, said they expected Mugabe to ensure that the party adopted their resolutions.

“Chatiri kunyanya kutarisa ndechekuti chef (Mugabe) vachitipa chinhu chedu sezvo takawirirana kuti vanotipa muna 2016 muno ... ndopatinowana mukadzi mupresidium (We expect the president to appoint a woman VP this year as per our resolution).

“We do not expect to encounter any obstacles now because this came from all the 10 provinces and was backed by everyone including men,” Mahoka said then.

Compounding Mnangagwa’s woes is the fact that there are also growing calls for the party to discard the idea of vice presidents being appointed by Mugabe, so that they go through an elective process.

“Guided by the president’s call that all party leaders must come from the people, the committee recommends that all leadership positions in the party from cell up to the presidium, be subjected to a popular election process,” Kasukuwere said as he read resolutions by the commissariat department at the end of the Masvingo meeting.

This was supported by youth league leader Kudzanai Chipanga, who went on to declare that Mugabe should become a life president.

This was followed by the women’s thematic committee report in which league deputy secretary, Eunice Sandi Moyo, also strongly called for the 2015 resolution to reinstate the women’s quota in the Zanu PF presidium to be implemented without delay.

“We are concerned with the lack of implementation … we made it clear that we wanted the constitution to be changed to allow an earlier provision that one of the two VPs should be a woman,” Sandi Moyo asserted.

But analysts said yesterday that the proposal to have Mugabe declared life president signalled “the coming to fruition” of a long-held ambition by the nonagenarian to die in office.

Mugabe, 93 in February, is the only leader that Zimbabweans have ever known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April 1980.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza said Zanu PF would, in its pursuit of a life presidency for Mugabe, also need to face the legality of the Constitution.

“But that is what this conference was about, that there is no successor. I think on the back of his mind he (Mugabe) was paranoid that someone was trying to succeed him.

“It also shows you the political situation in Zimbabwe where people push for a 93-year-old to continue in power, when he is hardly able to walk,” he said.

Former civic leader, McDonald Lewanika, said the proposal betrayed the fact that this was increasingly becoming a shared belief within Zanu PF, which had been cultivated by Mugabe himself.

“The call is sponsored and aimed at fulfilling a life-long ambition by Mugabe himself, which happily for him but sadly for everyone else, is now coming to fruition,” Lewanika told the Daily News.

“Mugabe always believed that only one party should exist in Zimbabwe, with him at its helm, and that belief has not changed. And when threatened, this belief has been reaffirmed by force as we saw in 2008,” he added.

Academic and lawyer, Alex Magaisa, also said Mugabe never had any desire to resign.

“The man has no desire to retire as long as he lives,” Magaisa wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

However, it is Mugabe’s continued hold on power that has led to deadly ructions within Zanu PF, leading to purges which included those of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and other top officials of the former liberation movement, who were given the sack in the run-up to the party’s sham December 2014 congress.

Despite giving Mujuru the boot, Zanu PF has remained seriously divided, with the G40 now locked in a fight to the death with Team Lacoste, as the Zanu PF succession issue remains unresolved.

Comments (5)

Lacoste is finnished.These yung turks g40 ,this time will move in for th kill ,no mercy.If Ngwena lasts 3 months he is lucky .His backers warvets were successfuly banned from Zanu and Masvingo.Even Viola has no bark anymore,violaaaa'

blaz - 19 December 2016

It would be folly to conclude that the Lacoste team is finished under the circumstances. There is no guarantee that all will be well in Zanu PF should the president unceremoniously remove ED for his junior wife given the support ED has among the ranks and file of this party even among the women's league and particularly the army and the war veterans. It would also be naive to suggest that the first lady is as popular within the women's league given the availability of more senior candidates with war credentials and been in the cabinet for years. There is also the issue of women of Zapu background who would feel under-changed should another female vice president be from former Zanu party after Mai Mujuru's dance as a place holder for ten years before her exit. Given these few factors it is not easy to jump-frog the first lady to be vice president of both the party and government especially the latter as she is not currently a member of the cabinet and the nefarious circumstances surrounding her PHD. Perhaps the issue of elected leaders could solve the matrix beginning with the president himself not nominations that restrict members to nominate him at provincial level him and no one else. By and large, there are two options the so called G40 has put forward to thwart ED's rise, namely the leaders being elected and amendment of the party's constitution for a female vice president. Conclusively the president would not remove ED in the near future but may smuggle his wife into the presidium of the party by making her fill in the vacant post of chairperson lastly presided by Didymus Mutasa.

Mafira Kureva - 19 December 2016

ngwena munioiziva here imi. mirai muone?

guu - 20 December 2016

Ngwena haibvisike zvekumhanya guys. The president will struggle to remove ngwena from the vice president position because as it stands, he is more senior in the party as we speak.

Stephen - 20 December 2016

It is those idiots who are handpicked by the old dictator who keeps on shoving the nonagenarian down people's throats so that they keep on looting and plundering the little that is left of the economy.These thugs are not doing this out of love of the frail and tired ancestor,but to keep on lining their bottomless pockets.How on earth can normal human beings agitate to be led by a 93 year old man who can hardly walk by himself to the loo?It speaks volumes,but there is going to be total chaos in the mafia party as soon as the old man is gone most of Mugabe's bootlickers are going to be consumed by the raging inferno.So take heed all you zanu pf zealots.Its not yet too late to do the right thing.

Janana wa Bikaz - 20 December 2016

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