Tendai Kamhungira and Andrew Kunambura 13 November 2017
HARARE – Analysts have warned that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF
cannot afford to have wholesale purges to former vice president Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s allies saying doing so would be akin to scoring an own goal,
especially when elections are looming large on the horizon.
This comes as the Zanu PF National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) is set to
hear and determine cases of more than 100 senior officials said to have
been backing Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed Mugabe.
Among those facing the chop are ministers – Patrick Chinamasa, Kembo
Mohadi, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Josaya Hungwe, Christopher Mushohwe,
Christopher Chingosho and Win Mlambo – whose hearing dates are yet to be
At the same time, some of these ministers may not be eligible to
participate in the central committee elections which get underway this
week as Zanu PF has given a directive that those appearing before the NDC
can only contest after they have been cleared.
University of Zimbabwe politics lecturer Eldred Masunungure said Mugabe
was unlikely to sanction wholesale purges of Mnangagwa’s allies.
“It would be very unwise for Mugabe to undertake such comprehensive
expulsions. He is likely to be more cautious. He knows he cannot be
alienating himself from too many provinces.
“He may select a few of the most troublesome for expulsion but over 90 of
them may survive.
“The day is not far when the party would turn into a one-man army, and the
president would go to a mirror and say to himself: Comrade, I expel you,”
Masunungure told the Daily News.
Another political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, concurred with Masunungure
saying Mugabe was likely to take a different approach as elections were
“Mugabe may employ the divide and rule tactic whereby he targets the most
influential of Mnangagwa’s allies and uses them as an example. The
intention is to avoid the regrouping of Team Lacoste. We may not witness
the expulsion of so many,” Mukundu said.
A Zanu PF insider told the Daily News that he had already showed such
signs during last week’s politburo meeting.
“The clearest manifestation of that was at the politburo meeting on
Wednesday when he stopped (Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour)
Kasukuwere from reading a list of names of persons which had been
submitted to his office by respective provinces for expulsion. This was
soon after ED had been expelled.
“The president interjected Kasukuwere as he read the third name, saying
the meeting was not meant for purging party members and he suggested that
the issues raised should go through disciplinary procedures laid down by
the party’s constitution,” a politburo member told the Daily News.
However, political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said Mugabe was likely to
sanction wholesale purges as he was determined to rid the party structures
of Mnangagwa’s trace.
“It seems such a decision won’t make political sense. But the Mugabes are
not worried about the future of Zanu PF but security of the first family
once Mugabe is gone.
“All decisions the old man is making are from his wife who is getting
influenced by political opportunists who want to secure personal wealth
and political interests post Mugabe.
“So nothing makes much sense in Zanu PF but everything is calculated in
such a way that once Mugabe dies Lacoste will have no control whatever of
any Zanu PF organs or government functionaries,” said Saungweme.
Another political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said basing on history,
Mugabe was capable of dismissing all of them from the party.
“But in light of his political strategies, he might spare a few. This will
be done to retain some semblance of stability in some other provinces.
“But this will not mean Zanu PF factionalism will be coming to an end. The
problems will end when Mugabe passes on the button,” he said.
Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe on Monday, in a decision which surprised
many Zimbabweans who had erroneously believed that the former VP would be
dumped after Zanu PF’s December extra-ordinary congress.
The longtime Mugabe aide was also booted out of Zanu PF on Wednesday when
the party held its politburo meeting where it recommended tens of
officials accused of supporting Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed the
93-year-old, to go for disciplinary hearings.
Until last Monday when Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, the two men had shared a
very close relationship dating back to the days of the liberation
Mugabe first met Mnangagwa, 75, when he was working as a teacher in
Mapanzure, a remote rural village in Zvishavane from where his deputy
It is believed that the two’s relationship blossomed when Mugabe came back
from Ghana where he was teaching to join the liberation struggle.
Mnangagwa, until his dismissal on Monday, had been with Mugabe for almost