HARARE – Ahead of next month’s decisive polls, Zanu PF is fretting over threats by the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which has openly thrown its full weight behind the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa of the MDC.
On Tuesday, the G40 faction, which is rabidly opposed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration joined the MDC Alliance demonstration in Harare to lend its support to the electoral reform agenda being pushed by Chamisa’s coalition.
This was despite threats by top Zanu PF mandarins that those linked to G40 or the National Patriotic Front (NPF) fronted by retired brigadier-general Ambrose Mutinhiri, would be jettisoned from its rank and file, including those who would have secured seats in the ninth Parliament.
The threats followed recent revelations by Mnangagwa that there was a plot to impeach him by some of the aspiring Members of Parliament in the event that he wins the July 30 general elections.
Zanu PF has already recalled three legislators from Parliament namely Godfrey Gandawa (Magunje), Beater Nyamupinga (Goromonzi West) and Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central).
The party has also established a special committee to vet “infiltrators who used money to get elected on the ruling party’s ticket”.
Analyst canvassed by the Daily News said Zanu PF will find it difficult to exorcise the ghost of the G40 faction that backed ex-president Robert Mugabe during nasty succession battles that emerged in Zanu PF before the military stepped in last November to parachute Mnangagwa into the top office while ending his predecessor’s 37-year-long reign.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said G40 will continue to be a thorn in the flesh for Zanu PF until they reconcile and the faction becomes part of the ruling party again.
“It is not possible for Zanu PF to end factional fights. Zimbabwe’s political landscape has factionalism at the core of its DNA,” he said.
“No political party, Zanu PF, MDC-T or other will be able to deal with factionalism as long as our politics is based not on issues but patronage and obscene acquisition of wealth.”
Piers Pigou, a senior consultant at the International Crisis Group, said contrary to expectations that the Zanu PF leadership would completely vanquish the so-called “criminal cabal” around Mugabe given that this was the reason provided by the military when it dislodged the despot last year, it is now clear that leadership was struggling to unite the party.
“These are not homogenous entities. So I think (vice president Kembo) Mohadi’s statements reflect an effort to instil, build internal party coherence. Traditional methodologies of threatening outliers and potential obstacles should not surprise us; in the current context, it remains to be seen if they are successful or counterproductive,” remarked Pigou.
Mohadi, one of Mnangagwa’s two deputies, told Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo last week that the party will weed out G40 elements after the elections.
“We know that we have G40 and NPF candidates who won the primary elections. If there are candidates who think that after winning elections on a Zanu PF ticket they can just cross the floor, don’t think we will sit back and do nothing. We will simply recall you and have by-elections in those constituencies,” Mohadi said.
Also recently, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga revealed that there were threats by some of the party’s members to vote for the opposition in the forthcoming elections.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya said the Zanu PF leadership were talking from informed positions given their security backgrounds.
“These are people from securocratic background and through their intelligence, they know very well that whereas they removed the leadership of the G40 but the G40 is still there in the communities.
“They know that in a free and fair election, which is far away from paper-based manipulation, the decider of this election is Mugabe and his supporters — they are the ones who give anyone power in this election,” said Ruhanya.
“If the G40 people won the primary elections, it means they have got support, so what kind of a democratic party that says people who chose their candidates to represent them and if they win they will remove them? This tells you that these guys are not running a democratic party; they are running a junta, a military institution which has no regard of democratic process.
“This gives credence to the whole issue that this is an unlawful regime which took power through military force and they cannot withstand the democratic scrutiny of the membership of Zanu PF,” Ruhanya added.