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Is there now an equivalent to China’s Gang of Four in Zimbabwe?

21/09/2017 00:00:00
by Seewell Mashizha
Chamisa: new prospect or damp squib?
Zim’s balance sheet & need for new impetus
Economy: the need for a paradigm shift
2018 election: Zim & the wealth card
Zim: The curse of the ‘Amai Syndrome’
Parties to be judged on appeal, results
The Coriolanus factor and its aftermath
Era of intrigue, pacts & accommodation?
When a stich in time could save nine
Kenya: What parallels for Zimbabwe?
Korea and Kenya: Which way Africa?
Africa must negate US's global empire
Zim’s silly season in politics continues
Yesterday’s ogres & restorative justice
Subverting the golden rule in our time
Seewell Mashizha: When bad boys return
Zimbabwe: Obstacles to Pan-Africanism
Generational politics & something seismic
2018: Looming battle of manifestos & issues
2018: As the MDC-T threatens violence
Envisioning the new day that must come
Of Zim’s political history and the convulsions
Gukurahundi: no single narrative will do
Prejudice and black achievements
Mashizha: Negating western propaganda
Rival political interests: Strengths & flaws
2018 and Zanu PF’s liberation war DNA
2018 elections and the opposition
Of wily foxes and tearful crocodiles
Time for Africa to shape its own destiny
US & the rise of Trump: An interpretation
Mashizha: A new world reportage by Africans
Mashizha: telling our own stories as we see them
Zim: The curse of a blue print syndrome
Seewell Mashizha: Life is an open book
Seewell Mashizha: Africa’s interests
New day dawning or world done for?
Why Zim needs own glasnost, perestroika
Corruption: Tracking Zim’s slime highway
Africa through her revolutionary seers
Prophetic Edwin Hama: Waiting for a new day!

ON the international scene I find the words of Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, quite enlightening.

Because he is dispassionate in his analyses and generous with essential detail, he comes over as a calm rational being in contrast to Donald Trump who loves playing to the gallery and being Big Brother watching everyone.

When you listen to him without predetermination or prejudice world politics becomes much clearer and America is exposed for what she really is: a megalomaniacal bully dragging the world to the brink of extinction.

All the noise about North Korea from Washington and the incessant sabre-rattling is meant to disguise the fact of America’s culpability on the Korean peninsula especially and willy-nilly elsewhere.

Western media describe Kim Jong Un as a tubby dictator and a mad man who should be taken out. When they talk of the decapitation of North Korea they mean the assassination of the DPRK leader. Whatever happened to the Geneva Convention?

Putin compares international relations to mathematics and asserts that the two have one thing in common; they are not personal. According to him, the ultimate goal should be the greater good of all outside one’s own personal interests. For that reason Russia will do what is necessary to subvert American intentions where they threaten those of other nations.  China too has vowed to oppose any actions aimed at destabilizing North Korea.

If the Americans persist on that trajectory China will stop them. China recently moved equipment and weaponry to her border with North Korea together with tens of thousands of soldiers. Some sources put the numbers at 175 000 or more. Russia too has moved men, equipment and weapons to her border with North Korea. 

Both nations do not want Americans on their border as this would most certainly mean the deployment of anti-missile systems against both China and Russia. For Russia the threat would be double given America’s anti-missile system in Romania, a system that the Russians say is aimed at Russia.

Putin points out that after America had withdrawn from the Anti-Continental Ballistic Missile (ACBM) Agreement in 2002 she immediately began to escalate her war industry.

With this done, anti-missile systems were deployed by America against imagined threats from countries such as Iran and Russia, and the balance of power that had served the world so well for over 70 years was upset. This sent Russia into a defensive mode.


Pitted against the world’s number one economy Russia had to improvise and did so quickly and effectively. In this regard Russia has developed state-of–the-art offensive weaponry designed to neutralize the threat from America.

According to Putin, there is no guarantee that American missile delivery systems are not carrying nuclear warheads. Intelligence at hand suggests that Russia has successfully created anti-missile electronic weapons that can completely neutralize America’s systems, thereby rendering them incapable of launching their missiles and antimissiles. Missile systems are designed to be both defensive and offensive.

Russia can neutralize America without having to become the greatest military power on earth, and the world should be grateful to Russia for this. The world is much closer to having a balance of power again. This would mean that no country is willing to be the one to fire the first shots. This is just as well given that many conflicts on the world stage today can be traced back to America.

Donald Trump’s fire and fury will be held back indefinitely regardless of what North Korea does. America can only negate this thinking at the risk of starting World War 3 or at the very minimum, a war with North Korea, China and Russia with devastating implications for South Korea and Japan. Well-equipped Chinese and Russian war ships are currently on the high seas shadowing the American armada headed to the Korean Peninsula.

We now shift our attention to Zimbabwe to see what has happened, what is happening and what might still happen. Our analysis starts with China’s infamous Gang of Four comprised of Mao Zedong’s ambitious wife, Jiang Qing, and three others.

After marrying Chairman Mao in 1938, Jiang Qing began working towards the realisation of her ambitions. She consistently mounted bids for power in the hierarchy of the Communist Party. Eventually she became leader of the Gang of Four, whose members included Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen.

The Gang of Four took power in every cultural institution in China and ordered many questionable actions. Numerous ancient books were destroyed as were buildings and paintings in a campaign that tainted China’s Cultural Revolution.

Some historians estimate that no less than 500,000 people perished in the three year period encompassing 1966-69. The torrid Cultural Revolution is often attributed to the Gang of Four.

Zimbabwe’s Gang of Four notably are First lady Grace Mugabe and three G40 cabinet ministers: Professor Jonathan Moyo, Saviour ‘Tyson’ Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao, a nephew to the President.

We wonder what Robert Mugabe will do in the circumstances that are unfolding, whether he will endorse her or reign her in? Whatever course of action he chooses there will in the end be certain permutations for ZANU-PF in particular and Zimbabwe at large.

The first lady has ascended to power in ZANU-PF’s Women’s League, something which has enabled her to enunciate certain concerns and demands including the telling inclusion once again of a woman in the party’s presidium. That woman is, of course, likely to be herself. Such an eventuality would place her firmly within reach of ultimate power if she chooses to go for it.

While the ZANU-PF Presidential youth interface is nowhere near the scope of China’s Cultural Revolution, certain similarities are observable. China’s red guards with their little red books of Chairman Mao’s thoughts were the force that drove the Cultural Revolution like a hurricane. China’s Cultural Revolution superseded everything else to the extent that production plummeted as famine spread and thousands starved.

In Zimbabwe, it is not yet clear whether or not there is a schism between the war veterans and ZANU-PF. And if such a schism exists, as may be suggested by the expulsion of War Veterans chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa and others, just how deep the schism is, is a question still to be determined.

It will be interesting to see what the collective will of the body of war veterans, war collaborators, restrictees and detainees impacts upon the elections and how it impacts on the politics of the day.

Will a group be embedded in the people like fish in water in true Maoist fashion or are we going to see another clandestine pact such as that which created Simba Makoni’s Mavambo project? If that should happen Zimbabwe could be heading for another hung parliament.

The Kenyan situation might yet again prove to be instructive and we might soon get to know why Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere were seen in the unlikely company of Alex Magaisa (former advisor to GNU premier, Morgan Tsvangirai).

Although at the on-going youth rallies Grace Mugabe has been urging President Mugabe to name his successor, when finally he addressed the issue he said he would never do so and that even though he might have his personal candidate that candidate would have to fight it out with other interested persons at a properly-constituted party congress. Mugabe also said he would not do anything that might make the country say he had imposed his wife.

The first lady claims that there is no such thing as the G40, but President Mugabe asserts the opposite. In his words certain people in ZANU-PF decided that 40 was a significant number given that Obama became President in his forties. That was how G40 came about and how Kasukuwere nicknamed Obama Kasukuwere.

Vice President Mnangagwa had his fair share of roasting with Mugabe linking him to the Tsholotsho debacle and asserting that Tsholotsho was the explanation for the disenchantment between Jonathan Moyo and Mnangagwa.

According to the President, feeling used and betrayed by someone he had supported, Jonathan Moyo vowed never to support Mnangagwa again. In the same breath Mugabe questioned the wisdom of Mnangagwa allowing a coffee mug with an inscription proclaiming him to be the boss to ruin his chances of ascent.

According to Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo showed a video in the politburo. The video alleged that Mnangagwa was plotting against the President. In response, Mnangagwa has since told his boss that he has an 85-page refutation of the video. It would appear that the drama is not yet over, but as they say, time reveals all things.

Robert Mugabe once professed loyalty to the gullible Bishop Muzorewa but later released what became known as The Mugabe Diary in which he asserted ZANU’s independence regardless of other things going on to unite African nationalist forces in Zimbabwe.

One wonders how many of those who profess loyalty today may, in fact, be plotting the fall of the house that Robert Mugabe built.

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