2018 polls: Battle for factional supremacy

HARARE - Factions within the ruling Zanu PF and the main opposition party, MDC will end with this year’s election, social and political analysts contend, adding that the poll will also see an end to several political careers.

For the first time President Emmerson Mnangagwa who leads the Zanu PF Lacoste faction will contest the presidential election with bitter rival and former Zanu PF member Joice Mujuru who while in Zanu PF used to lead the Gammatox faction.

MDC’s president Nelson Chamisa who leads a faction within the party will battle it out for the presidency with the party’s former vice president Thokozani Khupe who leads another MDC faction.

While these four are the factions’ main contenders, there are several other small factions that split from Zanu PF and MDC that are also contesting the elections independently.

Political analyst MacDonald Lewanika agrees that in some respects the 2018 harmonised election is the election to end all factional battles.

“Lacoste (Mnangagwa) versus Gammatox (Mujuru) versus G40 (Zvipfukuto). But Mnangagwa as the one presiding over Zanu PF has the advantage as he can master the nighty of the State and conscript its machinery into this fight.

“In the opposition MDC Alliance (Chamisa) versus MDC-T (Khupe) versus Coalition of Democrats (Mangoma) and then versus all the new opposition voices that include NCA and others who used to be factions of the pro-democracy movement.

“The election will make and break some political careers suffice to say, the old factional battles will be resolved in some way,” said Lewanika.

Social analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said for all intents and purposes, the 2018 election is really a battle of factional supremacy.

“There are votes definitely Mnangagwa will lose to Joice Mujuru, but I have a doubt if they can make any visible dent on his electoral chariot.

“Considering also that Khupe will ‘pick pocket’ Chamisa, ED is heading for a run-off against Nelson. I do not for whatever reasons believe Mujuru can upset any apple cart,” said Ngwenya.

Controversial playwright Cont Mhlanga says it looks like this year’s election is the climax of the Zanu PF faction wars as Mnangagwa contests against Mujuru.

“Now it is going to be decided at the ballot box whose faction has always been bigger and smarter.”

Mhlanga said Mnangagwa has found himself in a deep double-sided election battle on one side battling a popular alliance led by Chamisa “while on the other side facing it off with his once comrade in arms Mujuru in the climax of the Zanu PF faction wars for succeeding Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe.

“Mnangagwa was handed this position by the army and the constitution of Zanu PF and not by the electorate.

“This makes him at par with Mujuru as they both go out to hunt for people’s vote for endorsement to take over from Mugabe once and for all.

“Mnangagwa must push aside these two opponents just as much as Mujuru has to. It is a titanic battle of comrades or to put it poetically, a titanic battle with the wife of their general.”

As for Mnangagwa and Chamisa’s contest, Mhlanga said: “Freedom fighter versus Born-free. That is what I find interesting with this contest.

“Are we seeing the coming of an end of the value of liberation war credentials in Zimbabwe elections and politics.”

Media and social analyst Rashweat Mukundu said while Mujuru started on a high note, her campaign has somewhat faltered along the way.

“She still has residual sympathies in Zanu PF but not significant enough to threaten Mnangagwa. I predict an end to Mujuru’s political career post July 30 and Zimbabwe will likely remain a two-party State with Zanu PF and the MDC.

Crisis Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo also dismissed Mujuru’s challenge to Mnangagwa saying the competition is “between Mnangagwa and Chamisa, who are walking in the big shadows of Mugabe and Tsvangirai respectively.

“Mujuru was going to stand a chance if she was in Zanu PF, just like Khupe is if she was in the mainstream opposition.

“It is incumbent therefore to note that this election has many factors which will influence the result ranging from multiple party members (disenfranchised and those elbowed out but pitching using party symbols), coalitions of convenience, protest votes among others,” said Moyo.

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