WHEN Lenin died in 1924, everybody expected Trotsky to take over the leadership. Instead, Stalin schemed his way into power, using his position as general secretary in a series of Machiavellian ruthless political moves. Can we draw parallels of what happened in Russia after the death of Lenin as a precursor to what potentially could happen in Zanu PF?
As the revolutionary party reorganizes itself some would argue, albeit clandestinely ahead of the December 2014 elective congress, all rules and sentiment that guided the running of the party have been abandoned as those vying for positions pull all plugs to remain relevant. The factions which have, until recently, been largely the latent creation of the media are now more apparent than ever before.
Zanu PF won the harmonized elections resoundingly barely a year ago amidst promises of bettering the lives of the generality of all Zimbabweans. Today, it seems the elephant in the room is who will succeed President Robert Mugabe. The biggest casualty of this factional fighting is the economy with those tasked to implement policies like ZIMASSET busy worrying themselves as to where they will be post the December 2014 Congress hence the stampede to align themselves with what one thinks may be the winning horse.
Up until a few weeks ago, the factional tussles have been pretty much latent for many years. But President Mugabe then witnessed first-hand for himself at the Zanu PF youth conference with the attended vote buying allegations that saw him present his closing speech in the wee hours of the morning after the election results came under dispute signalling that all was not well in the party. The women’s conference further escalated the factional fighting with both Amai Oppah Muchinguri and Amai Joice Mujuru doing little to hide their differences as they took pot shots at each other in their respective speeches.
The recommendations by both the youth and the women’s conferences to nominate the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe to head the powerful women’s league subject to confirmation at the December elective congress seems to have brought the factional tussle to the foe. Amai Oppah Muchinguri steps down at the end of her term in order to allow Amai Grace Mugabe to be elected to be the powerful women’s league boss in December. This guarantees the First Lady a seat in the Politburo, the highest party decision making organ. No price for guessing that this in itself is a game changer in Zimbabwean politics.Advertisement
There are thoughts that seem to suggest that Amai Oppah Muchinguri now stands in line to take over the powerful post of Party Administrator currently held by State Minister Didymus Mutasa. Mutasa is largely speculated to be in line for the National Chairmanship post currently held by Simon Khaya-Moyo, who in turn is tipped to become the second vice President of Zimbabwe in line with the 1987 Unity Accord between ZANU and ZAPU. This brings out another dimension to the factional fight that I will come back too in a bit.
Stalin was one of the people who looked after Lenin in his illness and during his last days. Little did anyone know that he may ascend to the helm of Russian politics. Everybody expected Trotsky to take over from Lenin. Stalin schemed with a divided Politburo and ousted any chances of him becoming Lenin’s heir apparent. With the elevation of Amai Grace Mugabe, three schools of thought seem to emerge, with one putting forward the sentiment that the her arrival onto the political scene may have put paid to the ambitions of Amai Joyce Mujuru to ascend to the highest seat in the land, that of being President of Zimbabwe.
This was further confirmed in the Ambassador Christopher Mutsvanga’s interview in The Herald newspaper who spared no detail as he shredded all the liberation hero credentials that Amai Mujuru had been riding on since time immemorial, including the one of her having shot down a Helicopter during the war of liberation as a desktop creation of Webster Shamu who was then the then party propaganda guru. Mutsvangwa further challenges Amai Mujuru to comment on the ascendency of Amai Grace Mugabe; apparently she has been mum on the matter, fuelling speculation on her real sentiments.
The other school of thought seems to suggest that the arrival of Amai Grace Mugabe will help propel Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to the highest seat in the land. The argument is that since Amai Mujuru was catapulted from obscurity to frontline politics becoming Vice President at the instance of the President, the Justice Minister must also benefit from the goodwill of the president, as Zimbabwe may not be ready for a woman president yet. The third school of thought seems to suggest that the arrival of Amai Grace Mugabe onto the political scene will not aid any of the two traditional contenders, but will instead create a Mugabe Dynasty with power remaining within the Mugabe family. The last seems a bit farfetched, but only time will tell, I suppose.
I go back to the other dimension that is being brought out by the factional fighting within Zanu PF. The Unity accord of 1987 between ZANU and ZAPU may become a casualty of the same. This accord was tentatively premised on the new Zanu PF united having two vice presidents, one from the old ZANU and the other from the former ZAPU with the National Chairperson position being also from ZAPU. The chairperson position was given to ZAPU to mitigate the fact that the ZAPU vice presidency will always be number two to the Zanu PF vice presidency.
The ZAPU vice presidency quota is to be filled by the most senior surviving former ZAPU cadre. In this instance former ZAPU members in order of seniority include former Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa, Simon Khaya Moyo and Kembo Mohadi etc. Of late, we have had utterances to the effect that the 1987 unity accord may not be strictly adhered to and that State Minister Didymus Mutasa, who may give his current post to Amai Oppah Muchinguri, will seek the position of National Chairperson in breach of the agreement in the 1987 unity accord whilst Simon Khaya-Moyo and Kembo Mohadi will seek the second Vice Presidency on a ZAPU ticket despite not being the senior surviving members of the former ZAPU. This, potentially, will affect the fragility of the unity accord between the two former revolutionary parties.
Whatever the case may be, the inconsistencies being caused by the no-holds barred fighting now taking place within the revolutionary party ahead of the December Congress is being manipulated by the opposition. Morgan Tsvangirai is calling for mass demonstrations claiming the economy is fast approaching comatose state as the elephants in the room fight. Hundreds have been arrested in recent days for illegal demonstrations.
In Bulawayo MDC-T legislature Eddie Cross in his recent article Mugabe’s Moments of Madness published on his AfricanHerd blog, opens up old wounds of Gukurahundi days by alleging that at least 80,000 Ndebele in the Midlands and Matabeleland region were killed with many more driven into exile. This figure is four times the traditional of 20,000 that had been paddled before. One is tempted to ask, why would Cross bring up such old issues at such a time, unless there is an agenda afoot?
Whether it comes out stronger after all this the revolutionary party needs to safeguard itself and refrain from doing its dirty linen in public as what is happening now has rendered it highly vulnerable to enemy attacks.