Robert Mugabe's trick rattles Zanu PF

HARARE - The move by toppled despot Robert Mugabe to join hands with his former deputy Joice Mujuru to mount a presidential electoral challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF has stirred strong emotions and widened fissures along regional lines, the Daily News can report.

Mugabe’s electoral alliance with Mujuru, consummated last Tuesday, is being seen as strong enough to rock the Zanu PF ship, now dominated by security sector interests and the Team Lacoste faction, loyal to the new president.

Zimbabwe’s military ousted Mugabe late last year, nearly four decades after he took power.

This culminated in the elevation of Mnangagwa, once one of Mugabe’s most erstwhile trusted lieutenants, to the helm.

Analysts told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe could be using primitive tribal politics to play Mujuru against Mnangagwa, saying if proven to be true, this could be retrogressive.

They said the strange bedfellows who fell out in 2014 could be out to use the strength of the Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Central provinces – dominated by the Zezurus – to increase their leverage in torpedoing Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

The ruling party has always been a cauldron of ethnic politics, with Zanu PF deeply divided along clan lines, mainly between Zezuru and the Karanga, the two largest clans of the wider Shona tribal grouping.

The erstwhile Zezuru dominance was a consequence of the 1980 division of Zimbabwe into 10 provinces.

Mashonaland (Zezuru) was cut up into four provinces: West, East, Central and Harare; and Masvingo (Karanga) into only two – Masvingo and Midlands (Mnangagwa’s home province); while Manicaland (Manyika) remained undivided and Matabeleland (Ndebele) into three: North, South and Bulawayo.

Members of the Ndebele – related to South Africa’s Zulus, and Zimbabwe’s second largest tribe after the Shona – are also grumbling over long-standing marginalisation which they assert persists under Mnangagwa.

Ndebeles dominated Zapu, until the party was swallowed up by Zanu PF in 1987, in a deal that followed an army assault on Zapu supporters in western Zimbabwe, costing 20 000 lives.

Analysts said Mugabe could be attempting to re-assert Zezuru dominance by giving the Mujuru camp an edge in the forthcoming elections, a move seen as exacerbating clan tensions that risk erupting into conflict at the national level in the post-Mugabe era.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, a post doctoral research fellow with the University of Johannesburg, told the Daily News there are tribal undercurrents over the Mugabe-Mujuru alliance.

Mujuru, the opposition National People’s Party (NPP) president, has told the media that during their meeting at his ‘‘Blue Roof’’ mansion in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale, Harare, on Tuesday last week - the first  since they broke ranks in December 2014 - Mugabe told her “ he is not happy with what happened to him which he said is not constitutional.”

Ruhanya, a media and democracy scholar, said: “Although Mugabe’s meeting with Mujuru and his purported support appears to be largely a poisoned chalice, it should worry Zanu PF and president Mnangagwa because of the ethnic fault-line that the party has been refusing to address for a long time where the Zezuru group thinks they are destined to rule Zimbabwe forever.

“This is a coming together of an ethnic group that knows that Mashonaland provinces are the citadel of Zanu PF social base. They want to use that to torpedo Mnangagwa.

“However, we have to take note of the presence of critical Zanu PF players from Mashonaland provinces who can douse this ethnic conspiracy by Mugabe and such characters like (Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance) Shiri, (Vice President Constantino) Chiwenga will play a significant role.

“The other thing is that if Mugabe and Mujuru are framed as ethnic politicians who want to promote Zezuru hegemony on the State, that could backfire, especially given the control of the propaganda and coercive force that Zanu PF has. Most significantly, the military will be the decisive factor in the fight.”

Ruhanya said Mujuru “should know that Mugabe is now virtually a political cadaver whose physical and mental mortality suggest that he is no longer fit for purpose and whose national sentimental value has been washed away by 37 years of misrule and economic plunder.”

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, said there was always going to be a series of complex realignments after the change in presidency.

“Mugabe and Mujuru worked closely once, and (ailing opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai cannot bring himself to work fully with Mujuru. The so-called alliance is not therefore surprising. I do not see it being more than a temporary measure,” Chan said.

“It cannot gain electoral weight in a short time, and the nation does seem to have moved on from Mugabe. Sentimentalists, and those who missed out in the new alignments around Mnangagwa are jostling for platforms on which to stand.”

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the Mugabe-Mujuru alliance discredits Zanu PF’s Team Lacoste faction and questions Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

“Other Zanu PF members who were just hanging on to Lacoste due to lack of options will find a home and this weakens Lacoste further. This development also makes people start comparing between Mugabe’s police state and Mnangagwa’s military junta. I am sure people can choose what is better but a comparison between a police and military state is revealing,” he said. Saungweme said Mugabe still has some followers.

“This alliance, if anything, is good news to the opposition. Now the opposition has to be organised under one coalition and take a shaken Lacoste military regime head-on,” he said.

Piers Pigou, senior consultant at the International Crisis Group said, unsurprisingly, the reports of this Mugabe-Mujuru meeting have raised more questions than answers.

“Whilst Mugabe may be uncomfortable now he is experiencing being politically out in the cold, it seems highly unlikely that he would risk jeopardizing the handsome golden parachute he has been given by teaming up with Joice Mujuru who remains politically untested,” he said.

Asked if he got a sense that this all tribal and identity politics by Mugabe playing Mujuru against ED, Pigou said: “I think there are serious unresolved issues relating to ED consolidation in many parts of the country. Ethnic, tribal issues may well be in play.”

Australia-based Zanu PF propagandist and controversial correspondent with the State-run Herald Reason Wafawarova, who fiercely backs Mnangagwa, rejected suggestions that the ruling party was running scared of the Mugabe-Mujuru alliance.

“If there is any panic, the panic is over the possibility of tribal sentiment and rhetoric as a way of trying to mobilise a regionalistic vote for both the NPP and NPF,” Wafawarova said, referring a new party called New Patriotic Front (NPF) believed to be led by former Zanu PF members who were expelled when the military intervened leading to Mugabe’s ouster.

The NPF, linked to the Generation 40 faction, has petitioned the African Union (AU) and Sadc protesting the manner the veteran leader was toppled, and seeking to de-legitimise Mnangagwa’s  government and asking the key African blocs to cancel all diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe.

“I do not think this will get any more traction than Zim People First did before it broke into even more irrelevant two tiny little parties,” Wafawarova said, adding: “I do not think those in Zanu PF leadership think Mujuru can bring any form of rejuvenation to G40, let alone to Robert Mugabe. The general perception is that Mugabe is now endorsed as part of our history, domestically and internationally.”

Comments (19)

Mugabe agara been a tribalist..thats one of the reason he wouldn't let ED in.he was after using him chete.. Mugabe and his home boy Chombo were tribalists of note...Mujuru is not necessarily one but she is a power hungry hippo with a very small brain ... She cant run Zim, she will take the country back to the dark ages.

Biggie - 5 February 2018

Mujuru is not Zezuru and neither are all Mashonaland Central people which renders the points being advanced here misleading at large and speculation at its best.I think ED naturaly dived headlong into tribal politics when rode into power at the back of a provincial faction with the blessing of self serving super rich military commanders.its also not a fact that the Zezurus think that they have any right to rule Zimbabwe forever.

Gamatoxweevils - 5 February 2018

I think its time to re-consider the immunity promised to Robert if he still want to play politics. He must therefore defend himself in a public court explaining that all the decisions he made when he was prime minister and later a s president were indeed ED's. He must also explain where he got the money he and his family have, including the 34 farms they own.

Joseph Mutasa - 5 February 2018

Mai Mujuru, joining hands with Mugabe, will not help her in any way. Brand Mugabe is not liked anywhere,inside and outside Zimbabwe.

wise - 5 February 2018

Gushungo akaramba achidhakwa nhema achazoirasa manje. Very soon tichamukangamwa. Ngaadzidze kunyarwa. Kamudhara kasina mazano. Stay home and relax. Haudi!! Ita tione kuti unosvikepi.

Kabius Kekedu - 5 February 2018

This gives us a clear message.These gays 40 are up to something more than politics.Mnangagwa and Mutsvangwas must know that g40 has enough money to hire even snipers at any cost.Remember a person can be created in our system from scratch for the purpose of eliminating you guys.Be very careful Mr President,we are behind you and we are going to contribute a lot.Very soon you will appreciate us.

peter mashonganyika - 5 February 2018

Robert Mugabe is a shameless tribalist & regionalist. He has always wanted a person from one of the Mashonaland provinces to take over from him. He only wanted to use Mnangagwa to remain in power. I advise Mnangagwa that he should not be too nice to the Mugabes because they do not love him and they never loved him. Mnangagwa should surrender Grace Mugabe to the South African authorities so that she can be arrested for physical assault of the model. As for Robert Mugabe, the constitution should be amended so that he faces the law for excesses during his 37 year old rule.

B. Maricho - 5 February 2018

Peter your observation is very correct. We now fear that these guys might resort to dirt tactics. Snipers - rumours say that one of the former ministers had already hired snipers from Israel.

GukurumereMasvingo - 5 February 2018

Have anyone heard about Korekores who are as different from Zezurus as Karangas or Manyikas are.

Murimi - 5 February 2018

Those concerning themselves with tribal politics have a ghost to worry about. The facts are they are no tribes in Zimbabwe. The dialects and language sub-groups are not tribes,. It is not a reality based value proposition. If Joshua Nkomo was a tribesman, he would be Shona as Kalanga are related to Manyika as opposed to the Ndebele- the majority of whom are of Kalanga and Karanga in origin. A viable opposition would come with policy options. Mzilikazi must be laughing at how retrogressive some of these politicians are.. King Mzilikazi had Kalanga and Karanga indunas and the bulk of the warriors who fought Rhodes's invading army were Karanga and Kalanga in language but part of the Ndebele state., The considersed themselves Ndebele an African tributary state. If there was a Zezuru tribe President ED would not hat have a wife , because she born in a Zezuru speaking family. We are back to the divide rule of pre-colonial Zimbabwe. There are too many ignorant politicians with doctorates but less educated than their illiterate fore-fathers. Some think the rural folks are foolish. ED will win because he is a nationalist. Come with alternative to the mountains he has moved with his team in 2 months. The whole world has welcomed him save a few progandists with no policy options. Few of us can chose Ndebele, to Karanga or Zezuru we are all related. As Zimbabweans is how we fought to be free, Someone tell Mujuru she will not win a single seat on a Zezuru card because such a tribe does not exist. I complement the Editor for balanced article. We are set for a credible election when the Daily News ceases to sound like an MDC mouth-piece. Only Zimbabweans can develop a national democracy. The idelogy of tribalism is not an option for people who fought to be free as one people. Some remind me this 2018 not 1890?, in the most literate African state 37 years after independence. Who wants to want to vote on the basis of totems.

Mufaro Sibanda - 5 February 2018

Mr President, FEAR not. Zimbabweans are now HOPEFUL of better days ahead. Mujuru think big . We havent forgotten your selfish rein. Zim is for us all.

Masiziva - 5 February 2018

Please do not bring stupid theories here its simply no tribalism here Mugabe is going to encourage those who follow him to follow Mujuru and they is nothing wrong bcoz Mugabe has right to do so .Munangagwa Must prove that he is popular as the media paint him without fearing Mujuru . It is crazy that you talk about tribalism when pple of Mat have been saying they have been victims of tribalism since 1980 and no one cared even grade one kids are taught by pple from Mashonaland who can not even talk local languages .Do you think Mugabe will support ED kkkk nonsense . All G40 will not support ED bcoz he is their enemy . Meaning Mnangagwa has limited stronghold Masvingo and part of Midlands although he has to prove to everyone that the midlands and Masvingo are his strong holds bcoz previously he had been defeated repeatedly by Chebundoin kwekwe forcing him to relocate to some remote shatini reserve Zivagwe .Please do not fight ED wars he is not a good man some of us know him very well he is skeelem and he and zanu must be removed from power for the sake of development in our country.

Diibulaanyika - 5 February 2018

surely speaking ,its high time our deposed former president rest at home and leave politics alone just like anakaunda sinc he is a statesman

chitova - 5 February 2018

Where do these journalists get these theories of tribalism , there is no such a thing as tribalism, It is a figment of their imagination

Goritoro - 6 February 2018

Tinemishonga yechibhoyi inobva kuMalawi inobatsira nekurapa zvirwere zvakawanda zvakasiyana suyana kusanganisira ma fibroids, asima, shuga, kuwedzera nguva pabonde, kukudza nhengo yababa mumazuva gumi, kudzinga mhepo nezvimwe zvakawanda. fonai pa 0714066125 kuti munzwe zvakawanda

sakala - 6 February 2018

uyu mudhara uyu akuda kunetsa was he not the guy who said zim people first chii

nutty dreadlock - 6 February 2018

Zimbabwean politics and economics have been dominated by tribalism and regionalism for as long as zanupf has been in existence certainly since 1980. The main actor was RG Mugabe it shouldnt be a surprise if he is continuing with his dirt ricks dismiss the theories at your own peril. The current regime hasnt done much to dispute that notion all ED has done sofar is take the country from a police state to a military one. The world is always welcoming and hopeful (dont be fooled by the reception he is getting protocol demands that nothing more. Its still to be seen if business will embrace him and his policies generally business shies away from military juntas.

sinyo - 6 February 2018

I warn Mujuru, she is not clever at all. after all what grace & robert did to her. How can she be so stupity. I think she is just power hungry. You have lost my vote Joice, i will have to give it to ED or opposition

tm - 6 February 2018

This goes to show how cruel Mugabe is. He is refusing to call it a day and now wants to play tribal politics. This has the potential of causing a civil war in the country. Also Mujuru is proving to be an unprincipled politician who would do anything to be in government. She was fired by Mugabe himself and now she goes to see Mugabe undercover and tries to tell the nation that Mugabe was apologizing for having mistakenly fired her. Since when did Mugabe started apologizing? If he is really serious about this then he should publicly apologize for all the crimes is committed. Why only apologizing to Mujuru? Mujuru is not serious and should not be taken serious.

ndoro - 8 February 2018

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.