via Mugabe racing against time — analysts April 7, 2014 in NewsDay by Everson Mushava
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s recent repeated calls for unity in Zanu PF is an indication that the 90-year-old leader is now in panic mode and racing against time to stitch together the warring factions before he quits active politics, political analysts have said.
Of late, Mugabe has bared his soul and named some of the alleged faction leaders in a bid to kowtow them into a united Zanu PF family and ensured the party survived after he was gone.
However, the internal fights have since increased, giving the nonagenarian sleepless nights, analysts said.
“The way factionalism is spilling into Parliament, the media and everywhere else, Mugabe can no longer afford to ignore it at this stage. He wants to leave a legacy,” analyst Alexander Rusero said.
“Mugabe has never condoned factionalism, although it was working well for him in the past.
“But now, at 90, and sure that he would not seek another term in office, he definitely has to do something about it or his party will go with him.”
On the eve of his 90th birthday celebrations, Mugabe pleaded for unity among party supporters and chastised party bigwigs angling to take over the reins. He said he wanted to leave Zanu PF a solidified party.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were believed to be the two leading faction leaders, but they have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions.
Mugabe on Friday, told members of his Gushungo clan at Murombedzi Growth Point, that he still had unfinished business which he did not elaborate.
“But it will be a tall order because due to his age, it was only natural for party officials to jostle for positions,” Rusero said.
He added Mugabe’s biggest challenge was that factionalism was being perpetrated from the top by people who at a certain stage contributed to his long hold on power, making it difficult for him to punish them.
“Remember Mujuru’s husband, the late General Solomon Mujuru, was the one who helped him become the leader of Zanu PF,” Rusero said.
“On the other hand, Mnangagwa has helped him remain in power after the March 2008 loss to Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe has been good at balancing power between these factions.”
Another political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said: “Yes, he has said he wants to leave Zanu PF as a solid party. He is worried about the developments.”
Regional think-tank, Sapes Trust, director Ibbo Mandaza said Mugabe contributed to the factional fights in Zanu PF by procrastinating on appointing a successor.
“It is within his power to stop it. He should simply declare the constitutional position, in both the party and government. Why is he hesitant to say the obvious?” Mandaza queried.
On possibilities that Zanu PF would disintegrate after Mugabe, Mandaza said: “People should not care about his (Mugabe’s) ranting. Zanu PF is bigger than him, so is the country.
“He should be more careful and understand the mood within Zimbabwe.”