Mugabe’s party hit by divisions

Mugabe’s party hit by divisions

Source: Mugabe’s party hit by divisions – DailyNews Live

Andrew Kunambura      6 April 2018

HARARE – Insiders say the new National Patriotic Front (NPF) – which has
the blessings of ousted former president Robert Mugabe – could suffer a
stillbirth, amid damaging internal accusations that the fledgling party’s
leader Rtd brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri is “incompetent”.

Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said there were
already serious ructions within the political outfit, with Mugabe’s wife
Grace and a few of the former Zanu PF bigwigs who are linked to the new
party apparently now saying Mutinhiri lacked both the capacity and the
energy to go toe to toe with the ruling party and the MDC Alliance in this
year’s national elections.

However, sympathisers of the former securocrat and Mashonaland East
provincial minister leapt to his defence yesterday saying he had been “set
up to fail” when he was surprisingly catapulted to the leadership of the

“There is war inside the party, with Grace and her close former G40
kingpins now pushing for Mutinhiri’s ouster, claiming that he is
incompetent and that she (Grace) is better qualified and placed to lead
the party into this year’s elections.

“I really sympathise with Mutinhiri, as looking at the issue in retrospect
it’s now clear that he was set up to fail, as NPF only exists on paper
with neither a structure nor followers.

“It is also clear now that he was used, just like what Grace and the G40
kingpins did to poor (former Cabinet minister Sydney) Sekeramayi whose
name they expediently threw into the Zanu PF succession mix last year when
they in fact wanted Grace to succeed Mugabe,” one of the insiders said.

This comes as the NPF was due to announce its full team in the run-up to
Easter, but inexplicably failed to do so – although it was not immediately
clear whether this was linked to the emerging differences.

However, NPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire accused President Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s government of peddling falsehoods against the party.”I have
not heard any complaints about … Mutinhiri’s leadership and therefore
cannot comment on falsehoods planted by the junta to elicit information
about our party.

“We have all our feet on the ground and our hands on the wheel. We will
shake the regime in a big way and will certainly save our people from the
shackles put on them on November 15, 2017.

“We will send Mnangagwa and his fellow coup organisers out of government
through the harmonised elections this year,” Mawarire said.

The NPF spokesperson also said they had deferred releasing their list of
the party’s leadership after learning of the intelligence community’s
“machinations” – which he claimed had been foiled by their delay.

“We know the junta has been desperate for that list, and has tried to come
up with its own list of our leadership and we are enjoying the desperation
and panic shown by this illegal regime.

“We are strategic in our planning and the execution of our strategy. We
are a party formed in the midst of a coup and operating in a country under
a military junta, hence it will be both unprofessional and unstrategic for
me, or any organ of the party for that matter to lay bare our strategy to
our opponents.

“We have clear plans and processes that we are following which will
culminate in the unveiling of the full complement of our leadership and
the portfolios they are occupying. This process and related events are
determined by our party, not the junta or its agents,” Mawarire told the
Daily News.

The NPF, whose interim leader Mutinhiri abruptly resigned from Zanu PF,
was said to be Mugabe’s antidote to Mnangagwa and the ruling party,
following the nonagenarian’s stunning fall from power last November.

Mugabe has surprised both authorities and ordinary Zimbabweans alike in
recent weeks by re-entering the political arena, and holding several
meetings with opposition leaders – including openly lending his support to
the NPF. The NPF has since revealed that Mugabe has endorsed the party,
after he met Mutinhiri at his “Blue Roof” mansion in Harare, although it
denies that the 94-year-old has a formal role in its activities.

Political analysts also told the Daily News yesterday that Mutinhiri
lacked both the charisma and the popularity that was required to win
against Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance.

“I would agree with those saying he is not popular enough. He is actually
a big unknown and I don’t think he will leave a mark at the elections,
especially given his links to the G40 and former first lady Grace Mugabe.

“It (NPF) was meant to be a spoiler but not a very big spoiler. I don’t
think it would have sufficient time to craft its message, build and
consolidate its structures before the elections.

“It doesn’t have any chance to make any big difference on the outcome of
the elections,” Eldred Masunungure, a respected University of Zimbabwe
political science lecturer, said.

Another political analyst, Tawanda Zinyama, concurred with Masunungure
saying both Mutinhiri and the NPF would be a “hard sell” to the discerning
Zimbabwean electorate.

“I don’t think it (NPF) will be sellable to the electorate. The characters
are not known and Zimbabwean politics is about personalities. The
association of the party with former president Mugabe also undermines its
credibility,” Zinyama said.”

“Any party formed on the basis of an agenda other than to serve people is
bound to suffer a stillbirth as the demons of power contestations will
manifest as soon as possible.

“Other than expressing unhappiness with the manner of Mugabe’s removal, I
have not heard what else NPF represents,” another analyst, Rashweat
Mukundu, said.

When it emerged last month that Grace was facing a probe over her alleged
dealings in illegal ivory trade, the NPF leapt to the defence of the
former first family, and accused Mnangagwa of harassing the Mugabes.

“If Zimbabwe is open for business, it should be open to political
business. Hence, people – regardless of their past positions in government
– should be allowed freedom of association, choice and expression.

“These rights are fundamental to the freeness and fairness of the
forthcoming election, and we hope ED goes beyond his mantra of a free
election and acquaints himself with the Sadc guidelines and principles
governing democratic elections in the region.

“These are very clear on what constitutes a free and fair election and we
believe he should leave … Mugabe and his family to freely participate in
the next elections if they so wish, because it’s their constitutional
right to do so … we have engaged regional powers to look into the matter
of Mugabe,” Mawarire said then after the NPF had written letters to
regional leaders to protect Mugabe from the nonagenarian’s alleged
political harassment.

“If you ignore this … you will ignore the Constitution of Zimbabwe,
history and your responsibilities and obligations as Sadc, and the
consequences will be too ghastly for everyone concerned, in Zimbabwe and
in Sadc and the African Union,” the NPF added then.

Mugabe’s 37 uninterrupted years in power were brought to an inglorious end
when the military launched Operation Restore Legacy on November 15 last
year, which saw the nonagenarian and his then influential wife being
placed under house arrest. Several Cabinet ministers linked to Zanu PF’s
vanquished G40 faction, who had coalesced around Grace, were also targeted
in the operation which ended just before Christmas – with the military
only retreating back to their barracks after five weeks of executing the
operation. The annihilated G40, with the visible help of Mugabe and Grace,
was – before the military intervention – locked in a bitter war with
Mnangagwa and his supporters for control of both Zanu PF and the