All love lost in ZANU-PF

Source: All love lost in ZANU-PF | The Financial Gazette April 21, 2017

All love is lost, so carry the cross;
Cause there’s no human in us left;
We are music made for the deaf
They play a game that they know they’ll never win;
Sick and tired of the world they’re living in;
The messiah showed up high on heroin;
On heroin,’ so goes a chorus in Swedish musician, Fredrik Nordström’s latest hit song: All love is lost.

These words aptly describe the state of affairs in the ruling ZANU-PF party where warring party cadres are fighting the biggest political battles of their lives at the moment.

And if the way they behaved at a Central Committee meeting a fortnight ago is anything to go by, then all love may indeed have been lost among those belonging to different persuasions over who should succeed President Robert Mugabe — the man who has led the revolutionary party for exactly four decades: And still counting.

The bitterness among the party’s officials is now so evident that no one is making any effort to hide their hatred towards each other.
The last Central Committee meeting was the latest of a string of events where ZANU-PF officials showcased rivalry.

Embattled ZANU-PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, was very much the centre of attention at the event which was pregnant with implicit indicators of the poisonous factional cargos buried in the hearts and minds of President Mugabe’s senior lieutenants involved in a venomous fight over his succession and general control of the party structures.

The meeting came in the middle of an implosion around Kasukuwere, whom some party functionaries want out.
Kasukuwere is widely linked to a grouping of younger politicians going by the moniker Generation 40, or simply G40 which has dared the rather conservative old guard amalgamating around Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The group, known as Team Lacoste wants Mnangagwa to be Zimbabwe’s next president, a scheme which G40 is vehemently opposing.

Anticipating an explosive affair at the Central Committee meeting where high stakes political gamesmanship was expected, the Financial Gazette arrived at the ZANU-PF national headquarters in Harare very early and lay in wait to avoid missing on any interesting developments.
The ZANU-PF officials did not disappoint as they gave away their factional proclivities, even without uttering a word.

The animated springing step, which has of late been synonymous with “Man-of-the-moment” Kasukuwere was missing that Friday as he entered the conference room clutching what appeared to be a heavy briefcase, making quick, giant strides past an army of journalists before taking a seat next to fellow Politburo member, Jonathan Moyo, who is widely believed to be the brains behind G40.

And as soon as he took his seat, Women’s League national political commissar, Marble Chinomona, who boasts of a beautiful singing voice that would have otherwise made her an national music star had she not chosen a political career, suddenly belted the song: “Hokoyo, hokoyo, tangatakarara asitapepuka iwe hokoyo (Beware, beware, we were asleep but now we have awoken, so beware),” as if taking aim at Kasukuwere. The room erupted into song and dance.

Chinomona, who is also the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, is one of the Women’s League officials who reportedly told the wing’s meeting recently that she was having no peace because of Kasukuwere’s interferences.

Having arrived well ahead of President Mugabe, the wait proved to be too long for a seemingly restless Kasukuwere who kept pacing up and down, mostly to answer calls on his mobile phone.

During the period when Central Committee members were waiting for the President’s arrival, party members could be seen in small caucus groupings.

Kasukuwere’s sympathisers from his Mashonaland Central province, Women’s League secretary for external relations, Tabeth Kanengoni-Malinga; deputy president of the Senate, Chenhamo Chimutengwende and equally under-fire provincial chairman, Dickson Mafios were seen standing in a corner conversing with provincial affairs minister, Martin Dinha in hushed tones.

Dinha has taken it upon himself to be Kasukuwere’s aggressor-in-chief, dishing out stinging criticisms of the political commissar in the State media.
It was also interesting to note the sitting arrangements, which also appeared to have solemn factional subtexts.

Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Patrick Zhuwao supplied this both in jest and in fact. The dreadlocked youthful minister wandered into the building and instead of occupying his usual seat next to Kasukuwere and Moyo, he chose a row behind the duo.

Then, just before taking his seat, a woman who sat right behind his chair tapped his shoulder as if to remind him she needed his greeting. He turned around and, with a hard smile, retorted: “Imi handina problem nemi, problem munhu wamakagara naye uyu (I have no problems with you, but the person you are sitting next to is problematic).”

He was referring to Mafios, who only gestured a blank smile and proceeded to shuffle a pile of papers.
Also interestingly Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Transport Mininster Jorum Gumbo sat close to Moyo and Kasukuwere, but hardly exchanged words.

Also to signify the heavy tension that engulfed the hall, Central Committee members strangely wore stone faces throughout President Mugabe’s 60 minutes long address; some kept their hushed conversations, while others concentrated on taking notes and shuffling papers.
Those who had little to worry about or contribute in the subsequent deliberations, which promised to be explosive, took the opportunity to enjoy a late afternoon nap.

Normally, President Mugabe’s humour-strewn speeches are met with enthusiasm by his captivated lieutenants, but that Friday afternoon, cheers and applauses only came at the tail end of his address and were expressively short-lived.

The address itself showed how President Mugabe was concerned with the public bickering by his senior officials, telling them to use proper channels to bring wrongdoers to account. – By Andrew Kunambura and Tendai Makaripe