'A week is long in politics'

HARARE - Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once remarked that “a week is a long time in politics”.

This adage perfectly fits to the Zimbabwean situation, which saw a dramatic turn of events within a short space of time.

In the blink of an eye, the political developments in the country have taken a dramatic twist.

It all started with the sacking of former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa about a fortnight ago, and since then several hair-raising developments have taken place.

Mnangagwa was sacked on November 6, 2017, before he attempted to leave the country through the Forbes Border Post in Mutare.

His passage out of the country was blocked by the police, before he surreptitiously left the country, where he issued a statement, claiming that he would be back in a few weeks’ time to take over.

“I stand prepared, once again, to pay the ultimate price in defence of Zimbabwe. I am not afraid of anyone or worried about my political future under the current ‘party capture’ that is being tolerated and condoned by the First Family. I implore all genuine members of Zanu PF to reject this ‘party capture’ by a few individuals as I hereby do unequivocally,” Mnangagwa said.

The ruling Zanu PF party is sharply divided over the person who is supposed to take over from 93-year-old Mugabe.

Amid these fights, two stark groups, Generation 40 (G40) and Team Lacoste, emerged in the ruling party.

Mnangagwa’s sacking followed weeks of serious verbal attacks from the first family, exacerbated by the booing of the First Lady Grace Mugabe during a Bulawayo rally.

Following this incident, Mugabe decided to relieve Mnangagwa of his duties, but it was not so long before Commander of the Defence Forces Constantino Chiwenga issued a stern warning against the continued purging of people that participated in the war of liberation from the ruling Zanu PF party.

“The current purging of which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith. It is pertinent to restate that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces remain the major stockholder in respect to the gains of the liberation struggle and when these are threatened we are obliged to take corrective measures.

“Clearly, Zanu PF — having mainly been the only party that has ruled this country since independence — it has become a household name to most Zimbabweans across the political divide. Accordingly, there is distress, trepidation and despondence within the nation.

Our peace-loving people who have stood by their government and endured some of the trying social and economic conditions ever experienced are extremely disturbed by what is happening within the ranks of the national revolutionary party.

“What is obtaining in the revolutionary party is a direct result of the machinations of counter revolutionaries who have infiltrated the party and whose agenda is to destroy it from within,” Chiwenga said.

His speech marked another turning point in the Zanu PF political matrix, which saw youth league leader Kudzanai Chipanga convening a press statement, attacking Chiwenga, and asking him to be confined to the barracks.

What followed was an unprecedented development, where the army took over the television and radio stations in the country, announcing that Mugabe and his family had been placed under safe confinement.

The army through Major General Sibusiso Moyo announced on November 15 early morning on national television and radio stations that the army had taken over and was only targeting criminals around Mugabe, adding things will get back to normalcy after the mission is accomplished.

“Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy,” Moyo said.

Rewinding back, the political developments in Zanu PF and in the country at large have been nothing short of dramatic, as events have been happening faster and a bit furious.

Within a short space of time, the scenarios have gone back and forth, as if foretelling a different no-so-distant future.

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