Displayed with permission from The Zimbabwean
So bad have the dog-eat-dog factional and succession wars devouring President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF become that both analysts and party insiders fear a complete implosion of the former liberation movement, as well as the imminent eruption of intra-party political murders.
This comes as embattled Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is facing serious multiple graft charges, was on Wednesday summoned and detained for five hours by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), following weeks of ping-pong attacks between the statutory anti-graft body and the Zanu PF politburo member.
The surprising turn of events also came after the under-siege Moyo stunningly accused Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in an explosive statement on Tuesday, of using Zacc and other key institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and State media to advance the VP’s mooted presidential aspirations.
At the same time, Moyo is also threatening to spill the beans on corruption scandals involving Team Lacoste — the Zanu PF faction rallying behind Mnangagwa, with his graft storm not only exposing the ruling party’s nasty tribal, factional and succession fissures, but also its gross abuse of State resources to advance its interests and those of its senior officials.
He even claimed on Wednesday that there was an unnamed senior government official who allegedly owned a staggering 739 mines, in what Zanu PF insiders said was another dig at Mnangagwa, whom the minister has also sensationally alleged is desperate to take over from Mugabe.
“There’s a senior politician who owns 739 gold mines all of which use smuggling as their tax-free export channel!” Moyo thundered on microblogging site Twitter.
This was after he penned his explosive Tuesday statement in which he accused Mnangagwa of allegedly using proxies in key institutions such as Zacc, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and State media to smear his name.
Analysts and ruling party bigwigs who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars ripping Zanu PF apart had now reached “a climax that may soon result in body bags”.
Academic Ibbo Mandaza said “the implosion of Zanu PF is now complete”, adding “it is ominous in terms of the party’s factionalism and its implications. The factional fights have now become very antagonistic”.
Political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo also said the wars that are devouring the ruling party had reached “a decisive phase where it is now dog-eat-dog”, with no more “pretence” on both sides of Zanu PF’s bitter factional divides that all was well in the former liberation movement.
“It’s now crunch time in terms of Zanu PF’s deadly succession politics. It is truly gloves off now. The party’s elite consensus has irretrievably broken down and it is now dog-eat-dog,” she added.
University of Zimbabwe politics professor Eldred Masunungure said it was clear that “the centre can no longer hold in Zanu PF”.
“Moyo’s statement simply revealed more about what we already know, that party rifts are widening. This is a further public exhibition of that factionalism, which shows a deepening of the fights in the party,” he said.
Analyst McDonald Lewanika described Moyo’s unprecedented assault on a sitting VP by a subordinate as “a poisoned political chalice”.
“…Moyo is taking the fight to Zanu PF, including half the presidium and the president’s mouthpiece. However, he is unlikely to succeed and we are likely to witness a collapse or significant damage to the G40 come December, with Jonathan as a potential major casualty,” he said.
Human Rights Watch senior researcher for southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga noted that Moyo had previously sued the late VP John Nkomo in a defamation lawsuit which he had won and was awarded $5 000 damages.
“By suing Mnangagwa and George Charamba, . . . Moyo is showing that he is prepared to go outside Zanu PF structures to fight Mnangagwa’s faction and force Mugabe to reveal his position on succession politics.
“Mugabe’s long-drawn silence over the issue is in keeping with his character, with Moyo’s action appearing to be a calculated move to escalate the factional fight and force Mugabe to act or say something,” he said.
Zanu PF bigwigs have also previously told the Daily News that the party’s worsening ructions suggested that the former liberation movement was on the verge of imploding, with its aged leadership trapped in a colonial time warp and unable to heal the party’s gaping political wounds.
A Zanu PF politburo member told the newspaper last month that the party was “in tatters” and that its mindless tribal, factional and succession bloodletting had now turned into “a zero-sum game” as its bitterly-opposed combatants savaged each other to the death.
“Honestly speaking, I cannot see where we can go from here as a party. This could be it for the party as we know it. Everyone can see that the nightmare season of long knives is getting bloodier by the day and no one appears to have the appetite and capacity to stop this horror show.
“Zanu PF is in tatters and the (factional and succession) fights have become a fatal zero-sum game, a deadly fight in a tunnel where the only outcome possible is death for all. Who will be next?” The anguished bigwig asked ruefully, echoing the sentiments of many in the troubled party.
At the same time, other Zanu PF insiders and former party bigwigs also said it could be “a matter of time” before Mugabe bit the dust, after restless war veterans became the latest key constituency in the country to call for his immediate departure.
The disaffected insiders who spoke to the Daily News said unless there were dramatic developments within the ruling party in the coming weeks and months, which could turn things “180 degrees”, it would be difficult for the increasingly-isolated nonagenarian to continue holding on to power.
“I have said to you before that things are not looking good and I think they took a turn for the worse over the past few days. Many comrades are noting the fact that whereas previously, people pointed fingers elsewhere and found scapegoats among Gushungo’s (Mugabe’s) lieutenants for Zimbabwe’s problems, now they are looking squarely at him.
“Indeed, this current crisis is very different from anything that Zanu PF has had to deal with since Herbert Chitepo was murdered in Zambia and (Ndabaningi) Sithole was kicked out of the party in the 1970s.
“In fact, many people fear that Gushungo now faces more or less the same challenge that Ndabaningi faced in the 1970s. This is why some comrades believe it could be mene, mene, tekel, parsin,” one of the sources said.
The biblical quote mene, mene, tekel, parsin is found in the Old Testament where words appeared on the wall during Belshazzar’s Feast (Daniel 5:25), and which were interpreted by the prophet Daniel to mean that God had doomed the kingdom of Belshazzar.
Former Zanu PF stalwarts and senior ministers — Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti — who were expelled from the warring ruling party in 2014 together with former vice president Joice Mujuru, also believe that it is a matter of time before Mugabe falls.
“People are now angry. Kunyangwe Mwari haachamude munhu uyu. Kunyangwe Satan chaiye haachamudewo (Even God and Satan no longer want Mugabe),” Bhasikiti told thousands of supporters who attended Mujuru’s recent Zimbabwe People First rally at Marondera’s Rudhaka Stadium.
“We are now ready to send Mugabe to his rural home,” he added.
Former State security minister Mutasa said the deepening economic crisis in the country, as well as the general populace’s rising anger against Mugabe and Zanu PF, which had recently led to protests and violent riots, were a sign that the nonagenarian and his ruling party would not last until 2018.
“For Zanu PF, I don’t think they can reach 2018 . . . Zanu PF is now clueless. They do not know how to solve the current economic woes,” Mutasa said. daily news