HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is deliberately creating chaos within his Zanu PF party so that he rules forever, with political and media analysts urging the opposition to capitalise on the widening divisions by uniting to defeat the ruling party in the forthcoming elections.
By Maxwell Sibanda
The sentiment follows Mugabe’s silence as two feuding factions —Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40) — tear each other at every turn.
Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said Zanu PF’s implosion is all part of Mugabe’s making and machinations.
“Mugabe feels powerful when his hangers-on are at each other’s throat as this deflates pressure on him as they focus on succession. He is deliberately creating the chaos so that he retains power forever.”
Saungweme said political organisations without a clear succession plan face a chaotic end.
“Mugabe knows there is no future for him. So the more his surrogates fight each other, the more he extends his tethering grip to power in the party.”
He said at the moment, Zanu PF was imploding.
“It spells doom for that. More doom if the opposition was organised and would coalesce to field one strong candidate.
“The opposition should organise and capitalise on the pandemonium and implosion in Zanu PF. Otherwise we see a possible military takeover in 2018 if opposition remains so divided while Zanu PF goes under due to factionalism.”
Playwright Leonard Matsa said while Zanu PF is legendary for coalescing into a formidable front towards elections, succession and survival fights in the party have never reached the current dog-eat-dog levels.
“With the powerful (Joice) Mujuru faction out of the way, Gushungo (Mugabe) will continue playing the G40 and Lacoste against each other as long as his survival depends on it.
“The party faithful will look up to Mugabe’s political genius to strike a timely deal between G40, Lacoste and the first family — otherwise only God, and not Nikuv can save this party from its current self-destructive path.”
Matsa added that the opposition just needs to appear on election day united.
“The rest, Zanu PF will deliver to them. Bhora musango is lurking behind Zanu PF as it is.”
Mining activist Farai Muguwu warned Zimbabweans not to read too much into Zanu PF internal fights.
“Zanu PF has captured the State and their power is not in the electorate anymore, but in State institutions, particularly the security sector.
“If the opposition does not address the crisis of State capture by Zanu PF, particularly the army, police, Zimbabwe Election Commission, ZBC and Civil Service Commission among others, then they shall be in a massive shocker, come 2018.”
Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said Zanu PF is clearly discordant at the moment. “The elite consensus that held it together in the past and the party’s ability to manage elite dissensus are at arguably an all-time low.
“This inability by the party to manage elite interests, which has led to break up of its organising machinery on the ground through explosions, in addition to the break-up of the party’s traditional alliance with war veterans association, do not bode well for Zanu (PF)’s prospects ahead of 2018.
“The last time Zanu PF went into an election divided was in 2008, and then we saw that the lack of cohesion led to the bhora musango phenomenon that saw it lose its majority in Parliament.”
Lewanika said while this time the fissures are deeper and cracks are wider, Zanu PF’s saving grace will likely be that the opposition is also weak, divided and is being strategic in dealing with the political gift of the ruling party’s infighting.
“If the weaknesses in Zanu PF are mirrored in the opposition, it emerges the winner. For the opposition to be able take advantage of the current fissures, they need to accept the broadened space of opposition and see how they leverage the haemorrhaging of former regime elites to their cause.
“They have to take heed and begin to understand that emerging citizen movements are possible allies not competition.
“And they need to develop and act as a broad democratic front without the unnecessary divisions that characterise them. Zanu PF will always be a tough customer to beat even without rigging.”
Political activist Tabani Moyo said the first issue is that the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption (Zacc) was a constitutional creation and the factional politics in Zanu PF was spilling into these supposedly independent creations of the Constitution.
“Such abuses of the institutions must be challenged at every turn. Zacc must be given full autonomy to perform its constitutional duties without executive interference.
“Secondly, the infighting in Zanu PF that saw Norton being a proxy battle field shows that for the first time, Zanu PF removed its eyes from the power ball by focusing on internal pressures.
“What it teaches us is that, if the opposition is serious, they should field single candidates for each party per constituency depending on the strength of the parties in respective constituencies,” said Moyo.
For example, he said, “there is no need for MDC to field candidates in Mashonaland rural constituencies, they can do horse-trading with ZPF.
“It’s doable, once they disembark from their high horses and put Zimbabwe first, they can dislodge Zanu PF from power, but if they proceed in this fragmented form, then Zanu PF will not have a meaningful challenge in 2018.”
Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said the politicisation of legitimate cases of corruption involving senior government officials was a classic example of how citizens are bearing the cost of Zanu PF’s factions.
“At the end of the day, it is the taxpayer’s money that is being used to sponsor the confusion within Zanu PF, whether it is through interfering or manipulating independent commissions or using State resources to advance the cause of one faction over the other.”
Nyamutumbu said opposition parties should know that Zanu PF has a history of uniting towards one common enemy and as such these internal fissures maybe shelved in the bid to retain power.
“As such the ruling party could potentially shelve their differences and seek to present a united front before the electorate in 2018.”
He advised opposition political parties not to be complacent on the basis of the ongoing discord within the ruling party as was the case in the 2013 elections as that will lead to shocking if not embarrassing defeats.
Media practitioner Rashweat Mukundu believes the opposition is not ready and appears as divided as Zanu PF.
“So the opportunity to pounce on a weak and divided Zanu PF is lost. The lack of clear messaging and action on a coalition among opposition parties will undo their efforts in 2018. Nothing short of a united opposition can dislodge Zanu PF in 2018,” said Mukundu.
Political analyst Blessing Vava concurred: “The opposition has always been caught pants down, they need to be focused and be able to capitalise on Zanu PF’s internal struggles to consolidate.
“There will never be an opportune time to defeat the Zanu PF regime than now, when the party is facing an implosion. – Daily News