via Zanu (PF) factionalism paralyses govt | The Zimbabwean 25 June 2014 by Tawanda Majoni
Intensified factionalism within Zanu (PF) represents probably the biggest threat to the resuscitation of Zimbabwe’s national socio-economic-political fortunes between now and the next elections in 2018. While the factionalism has been present for a long time, it is bound to get fiercer and more debilitating as President Robert Mugabe sinks further into the twilight of his political career.
He has already hinted that he could come up with a preferred successor ahead of 2018, thereby heightening anxiety and excitement among the Zanu (PF) pockets of power that wish to control the party in the post-Mugabe era. Even if he survives long enough and gets a competent surgeon to be fixing his troubled eyesight past 2018, the wolves in the party have smelt the blood and have already sharpened their teeth for the kill.
At the surface, this may look like an internal crisis, but the truth is that it has far-reaching ramifications for millions of Zimbabweans who don’t necessarily care a hoot about the party. What must be appreciated right from the start is that Zanu (PF), following last year’s elections, is firmly in power. That means our fate is in their hands. Whatever they do or don’t do directly affects us all. To make matters worse, the opposition is at its lowest ebb, and cannot do much to influence our national processes.
Zanu (PF) has the majority in Parliament, runs all public institutions and, of course, determines what happens in the private sector. It formulates policies and laws and, being the Zanu (PF) we have always known, has the luxury to do so without input from the citizenry. We saw that happen recently when the Electoral Amendment Bill was railroaded to State House without the involvement of key stakeholders.
Public structures are being run primarily along factional lines. My friends in national intelligence tell me that they have to be careful about what they say, from who they take orders from and how they go about their duties. This is because whatever they do—or not do—is bound to be interpreted with factional lenses. Those at the top have built their own camps within the spy agency. Real work has become secondary; what is of paramount importance to them is how it will serve their localised interests and build power.
The same goes for ministries, parastatals and virtually every other public office. Most of the people in leadership positions belong to this or the other camp. Those that don’t are severely compromised and precariously vulnerable. The politicians continually sway things in their desired direction – and progress and development suffer. The situation is so bad that even statistical data has to be doctored to suit the faction leaders.
It comes as no surprise to me that Christopher Mutsvangwa, the Foreign Affairs deputy minister, had no qualms in publicly dressing down his boss, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, describing as too incompetent narrow-minded to lead such a crucial portfolio. If that does not betray the factional cloaks he and his boss are wearing, I wonder what would.
I would be surprised if this ministry is functioning well. It is highly likely that, instead of working on effective foreign policy, directors and less senior staff are busy spying on each other and fostering suspicion among employees.
Zanu (PF) factionalism explains the glaring discord among ministries and other government departments. Clearly, there is no coordination – everyone is doing things as they deem fit, without prioritising co-ordination or efficiency.
Some are deliberately sabotaging their colleagues as a way of increasing their chances of getting closer to power ahead of Mugabe’s departure. In reality, there are parallel governments within government. This combines ominously with the president’s apparently increasing tendency to listen to any person who comes to his office.
There is too much rumour-trading in government as the factions fight to undo each and feather their power bases. It does not help matters that the factions keep sprouting. We used to hear of the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions—but now we have Mugabe loyalists, Generation 40 comprising the young Turks, those aligned to the military, etc. The more they are, the bigger the problem, and the less the chances of anyone in government seriously managing the social, political and economic problems we are saddled with. – To comment on this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org