THE red hot issue of President Robert Mugabe’s succession – which is said to pit Vice President Joice Mujuru against Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa – has reached new heights and, as things stand, it is an issue that’s asking to be thrown into the public arena. The nation is weary of rumours, they need to know what’s going on behind the curtains. What’s really happening at Shake Shake house? This seemingly inconsequential intraparty melee between two senior members of Zanu PF is in reality a wedge that is threatening to injure Zanu PF from within.
The fight must commence therefore, in the clear view of the public. Failure to resolve the matter will only serve to divide the ruling party, disable it or worse- give Morgan Tsvangirai the opportunity to remind the public that Zanu PF is a decaying, shady organisation that cannot be trusted with running the nation. In the coming months, the party‘s ability and skills to resolve problems will be tested – tested to the limit – bold words will be exchanged, weapons will be swung, all to be followed by a solution or dissolution.
It has to be noted that the public and some political analysts have voiced strong criticism about various inadequacies in the present presidential succession mechanism. An (orderly) transfer of power is necessary if the nation is to be protected from the possibility of floundering in the ocean of confusion and uncertainty.
The first act of real significance therefore would be to rectify any ambiguities and deficiencies in the current constitution. In the main, attention has to be focused on three subjects – the vice presidency, the present succession law and the party’s handbook. At present, because of the deafening noise coming from foot soldiers aligned to the different factions, it may be tempting to enter the maze of constitutionalism. But any competent observer will see that constitutionalism is not the crux of the problem.
The problem lies in concealing the debate, thereby rendering it a sacred cow. To resolve matters, it is necessary to open up the debate to allow constitutional specialists, interested parties and the masses to carefully scrutinize the constitution to establish whether it is fit for purpose. If there are inadequacies, the time to eliminate them is now – while the President is still alive.Advertisement
Having reserved Constitutionalism to specialists, it’s now appropriate to dwell on three points that are of significance to both the nation and Zanu PF members, members who are at present unwitting victims of a power struggle. First, the recent provincial elections tumult in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and the Midlands which required the intervention of President Mugabe’s heavy hand has left many wondering whether Zanu PF members have a say on important issues and whether party leaders would be capable of holding things together in the absence of President Mugabe.
It is true that internal rebellion, even though it may be limited to a few constituencies, evolves from the standpoint of the whole, because it is a protest against the established order, the party‘s grounded rules – Zanu PF ‘s rules. This is the reason why such quarrels should be taken seriously by the leaders. One may, perhaps, swiftly enquire whether Zanu PF members have the power to select or support candidates of their choice? Consider the outrageous expulsion of Munyaradzi Kereke from the party. Then consider Zanu PF’s embarrassing U-turn after a short-lived court battle! One has to feel sympathy for innocent members of the party who received a stern kicking in the teeth for supporting Kereke.
On July 31, thousands took time off their daily business, walked long distances to the polling stations to vote for a candidate of their choice. Kereke won resoundingly. Unknown to his supporters, Kereke was a reject, he was targeted because he is a special advisor to one of the alleged clan leaders. Shortly after the elections, spears were sharpened, Kereke had to be dealt with, he was condemned, condemned by association. As a result he was tactfully elbowed out of the party. Thankfully, the matter was heard by learned judges who ruled that his expulsion was illegal and charges against were withdrawn.
The Kereke witch-hunt brings me to my second point: there is a general agreement in the lower ranks of the party that the time has come for Zanu PF to modernise itself. The party has to evolve into an organisation that has a “special” relationship with its supporters. The party must not be seen as muting the voices of the powerless in its lower structures – that in itself is an attack against party morale and democracy. Instead, Zanu PF should open its doors to every member; enable them to freely share their thoughts and contribute to a debate that is probably the most important in the history of the party. After all, there is only goal in sight: that is ensuring the party remains strong well beyond President Mugabe.
In addition, the party has to maintain its position as a party of the masses, a party that has as its core values: The Economic and Political Empowerment of Zimbabweans. It would be a grievous mistake to permit this battle of clans to continue in secret, away from the public eye. Doing so would only serve to dishearten party members and suffocate the little trust they have in party leaders. What is more, it creates a depressing environment for the masses who feel that anyone who takes over after President Mugabe would have done so through devious means.
Certainly, this will not go down well with the public who often feel that their pleas for accountability and transparency are largely ignored. Party leaders must not only be seen as listening to party members, they must be seen to be acting on the concerns of party members. Who stands to gain from Zanu PF’s infighting? It’s not the faction leaders battling to replace President Mugabe; it’s not Zanu PF members but the embattled leader of MDC T, Morgan Tsvangirai who is recuperating from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Zanu PF.
This brings me to my third and final point. Appearances on the surface suggests that the MDCs are going through the final stages of grief. They made grave mistakes during their time in the GNU and they have learnt great lessons. Only feckless statesmen would deny that opposition forces are re-grouping. More importantly MDC- T is back in the contest for a fourth round. Recently, Tsvangirai was in the UK, home to his sponsors, it is reported that he travelled all the way from Zimbabwe to Oxford, England to give a lecture on “Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond mining industry”. Morgan Tsvangirai is at it once again, he is doing what he does best: that is throwing a dim light on Zimbabwe ‘s troubled politics.
Once again, he is exercising his weakened political muscles; the ardour is partly inspired by the fractures In Zanu PF. And why not? Wasn’t he promised by his prophet, TB Joshua of Nigeria that he would in the near future rule Zimbabwe? Now that the opportunity has arisen in the form of Zanu PF infighting, Tsvangirai is licking his lips hoping for the better by expecting the worst in Zanu PF. In Nigeria, at a sermon titled the University of God, Tsvangirai was advised to persevere in the face of adversity. TB Joshua assured him a place at the University of God but Tsvangirai has to be schooled first and it’s only then that he would be able to rule Zimbabwe. The fractures in Zimbabwe are tutorials for the MDCs and, like keen students, they are learning patiently. The time will come, they hope, when the lessons will be used to bury Zanu PF.
The conclusion brings us to a simple question. What happened to Zanu PF revolutionary motto, Pamberi neKubatana pasi nevatengesi (Forward with Unity, to hell with detractors)? Where is the unity? Who is responsible for this great division in the patriotic front? You see, the art of true leadership consists in consolidating the unity of the party against adversaries and taking great care that nothing will tear the party into different fragments.
Why are boilers cackling as if demented, could it be that the cock is crowing at sunset? Are we reaching the end of an era, an era so dominated by President Mugabe? In recent articles by Nathanel Manheru, articles which are very informative by the way, he advises Zanu PF leaders to stop bickering. When reading his able work, it is impossible not to be struck with the spirit and strength of his style, an ardent tone of his thoughts, and particularly with that impressive manner which blows winds of truth to the whole. Why are retrogressive elements in the party not taking heed of his wise words? Party members aligning themselves to power mongering elements are extinguishing the liberation ethos on behalf of dwarfs in giant robes. Zanu PF must set its house in order or suffer owls to rule the roost.