via ‘Mugabe losing control of Zanu PF’ – DailyNews Live by Lloyd Mbiba 6 APRIL 2014
Mugabe has “completely lost control” of Zanu PF, as factional fights and other political clashes have become more public, and dirtier, analysts have said.
This comes as Hurungwe West legislator Temba Mliswa touched off a political storm after he made stunning accusations alleging that Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa connived with businessman Billy Rautenbach to use members of the Zimbabwe National Army in their mining deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when the country’s military intervened in that country’s political crisis just over 15 years ago.
He also alleged Information minister Jonathan Moyo was abusing State media to wage factional wars, an accusation immediately rubbished by Moyo who said Mliswa had been caught with “his hands in the till” and should be fired from the chairmanship of Mashonaland West province because he has confirmed that he belonged to a certain faction.
In another indication of deepening factionalism within Zanu PF, Foreign Affairs deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa openly attacked his boss Simbarashe Mumbengegwi saying he was unprofessional, undiplomatic and blundered on the First Lady’s denial of a visa to the just-ended EU-Africa summit.
Mutsvangwa accused his boss together with the ministry permanent secretary Joey Bimha, of running the ministry like a fiefdom.
Mutsvangwa also attacked the government on Wednesday, telling students taking Joint Command and Staff Course No. 27 at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare that the country was a bad debtor.
He said the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) squandered a $70 million loan from China accessed to embark on a tractor company venture.
To add more fuel to the factionalism, Mugabe last week attacked the State media for using extraordinary measures to impose a media blackout on retired Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, saying he would kick out those responsible.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) — a conflict-prevention, non profit, non governmental organisation with branches all over the world, said the dog-eat-dog situation in Zanu PF was an ominous sign that Mugabe was losing grip of his party.
Piers Pigou, ICG Southern Africa project director, said the turmoil provided ample evidence that the president was no longer in total control of the party.
“He may not be on the verge of dying as some claim or even hope for, but it is self evident that his capacities are waning significantly,” Pigou said.
“That key figures feel emboldened to speak out vociferously against one another, either means they have little fear of censure, or realise that they must raise the stakes if they are to maintain ‘a dog in the fight’.
If Mugabe does maintain control, one has to ask what benefit he, the party accrue from such a damaging situation.”
Pigou was quick to warn that Mugabe is a foxy politician who has a penchant of playing one faction against the other and as such is allowing the factions to fight so that he retains leverage and relevance.
“At one level, it certainly reflects a failure of leadership.
“We, of course, do not know how much of what is going on he is actually aware of and how and by who he is being briefed,” Pigou said.
“It is likely to be selective and reflect partisan interests at some level, but he cannot be blind to the growing dysfunction and dangerous dynamics.
“During his birthday interview on ZBC, he tried to affirm he was still in control and going nowhere.
“I thought his comments on ‘not leaving his party in tatters’ was very telling, as it clearly infers that’s how he sees it — that is, his party is in tatters.”
Pigou said the president should exert his authority and rein-in senior party officials who are not toeing the line.
Mugabe needs to appoint a successor, Pigou said, as this would ease fights between factions angling to succeed him.
Charity Manyeruke, a University of Zimbabwe political analyst, said people should not read too much into the fights as they are normal in a political establishment.
“It’s normal in political formations to have misunderstandings but the leadership has a responsibility to rein-in such situations,” Manyeruke said.
“When individuals attack each other, it is not Mugabe’s problem but some of them like to also test their power. It is the nature of politics; there are no written scripts.”