Gift Phiri 21 April 2017
HARARE – Under-fire Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour
Kasukuwere’s fate is now up to President Robert Mugabe’s mercy, analysts
This comes as the chorus for his ouster is getting louder, as seven
provinces have so far demanded his ejection from the ruling party, with
the Mashonaland East provincial executive council on Wednesday becoming
Manicaland, Matabeleland North and Matabelaland South are the only
provinces yet to pass their resolution on the combative Local Government
minister – popularly known as Tyson.
Mugabe has apparently ordered all Zanu PF structures to stop the current
push to pull the trigger the politician, and his brother Dickson Mafios –
the party’s Mashonaland Central chairperson.
The nonagenarian was apparently concerned about both the impact of the bid
to oust Kasukuwere from his powerful position in the troubled ruling party
– particularly with the watershed 2018 elections around the corner – as
well as the inability or unwillingness of those at the forefront of the
push to follow due process.
Until now, Kasukuwere and Mafios’ political careers had hung by a thread
after their party nemesis hit them with a slew of damaging charges,
including claims that they were plotting to topple 93-year-old Mugabe from
power and were fanning factionalism in the warring former liberation
This saw several anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations – which are kisses of
death in the faction-riddled ruling party – being mounted in Mashonaland
Central, Midlands and Masvingo, amid swirling speculation that Mugabe
wanted the Local Government minister out.
The no-confidence votes signal Kasukuwere’s fall from grace, insiders say,
and marks one of the most stunning upsets in the ruling party’s
54-year-old political history.
It is perhaps the most significant jolt to the establishment since the
start of a crusade allegedly spearheaded by his rival party faction
rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential
aspirations. Kasukuwere fronts Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF foes, which goes by the
moniker Generation 40 (G40) and are rabidly opposed to him succeeding
Professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies
at the University of London, Stephen Chan, said: “I would view him as a
first major casualty within the Zanu PF struggles, particularly within
what was the G40. It means there is no coherence in terms of personality
or programme with which to confront the faction spearheaded by Mnangagwa.
“The lack of a personality – a standard-bearer – and a programme is one
thing. Hanging your dirty washing out on such public view only indicates
the depth of division.”
Political Analyst Phillip Pasirayi said Kasukuwere’s prospects looked
“very bleak” unless Mugabe changes his mind.
“Kasukuwere’s blunder for which he is now paying a price was to show
ambition. I think he will be removed from his party position but still
keep his position in government.
“This is in a bid to `contain’ him and ensure that he does not continue to
manipulate party structures to suit his political agenda. It is clear now
that the President is clearing the ground for his wife to take over when
he steps down. Kasukuwere’s ouster is part of the re-alignment of forces
within Zanu and more people will be shown the exit until this goal is
achieved,” he said.
This comes as Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is rising to Zanu PF’s top ranks, amid
suspicion that the leader could be grooming her to eventually succeed him.
Kasukuwere was touted as a potential successor within the party, analysts
see the crusade against him as meant to neutralise him as a threat.
Piers Pigou, senior consultant at the International Crisis Group said in
response to the public demonstrations against Kasukuwere, Mugabe pointed
to Zanu PF having its own internal processes to address allegations of
“This afforded Kasukuwere a measure of protection, and certainly
highlighted his dependency on the president for his protection, at least
from a procedural point of view,” Pigou told the Daily News.
“What follows in terms of statements from provincial executives several of
whose own configuration is questionable, as well as the Youth league,
appears to be a part of choreographed efforts, some argue that is driven
from within the presidency, to re-calibrate internal factional dynamics
and reinforce loyalties.
“It is unclear at this juncture whether Kasukuwere will meet Mujuru’s
fate, and or whether his position as commissar will be put on hold pending
a long winding disciplinary process,” he said referring to Mugabe firing
his deputy, Joice Mujuru, in 2014 in a power struggle over the choice of
“Will Kasukuwere fight his corner or submit in the hope of fighting
another day? After all, Mnangagwa made it back from the ministry of Rural
Sanitation to VP in 10 years.”
Pigou said Zanu PF needs an unencumbered political commissariat in place
to work with and mobilize party structures ahead of the crunch 2018
“Given Kasukuwere is increasingly seen as divisive, it seems unlikely that
it is in Zanu PF’s interest to retain him in this position,” he said.