Blessings Mashaya and Mugove Tafirenyika 30 January 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s deeply divided Zanu PF is likely to
face another debilitating crisis, a second “Bhora Musango” in 2018 general
elections, analysts have said.
Mugabe’s Zanu PF is being consumed by deadly factional and succession wars
pitting embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s supporters against
the party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) group.
Just like in 2008 when a clique of disillusioned Zanu PF members urged the
electorate to vote for them only and not Mugabe in what became known as
“bhora musango” (kick the ball off the field), United Kingdom-based
political analyst Alex Magaisa said “it is fair to predict that there will
be another bhora musango one way or another ” come 2018.
“Neither of the two factions like each other very much and I cannot see
why one will support the other in their quest for power. In the past they
have been able to close ranks but this time the acrimony is escalating to
levels that may be impossible to bridge,” Magaisa said in an interview
with the Daily News.
Human rights activist and political analyst Dewa Mavhinga weighed in
saying history is set to repeat itself again.
Mavhinga argued that with the increasingly frail Mugabe turning 94 years
when elections come next year, it was normal that some of his colleagues
“will do the reasonable thing and call for him to step down and make way
for an orderly succession process”.
“But if he ignores such calls, the factions will not go away, and most
likely 2018 will be another bhora musango on a massive scale,” Mavhinga
told the Daily News.
This comes as disgruntled war collaborators and former freedom fighters
have said they will not campaign for the increasingly frail nonagenarian
in the highly-anticipated 2018 elections.
Over the years, war veterans have served as Mugabe and Zanu PF’s pillar of
strength, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian
on the throne in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 national elections which
were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of
Analysts have also predicted that Mugabe will not win the 2018 polls
without the support of the war veterans, while on their part the
ex-combatants have vowed that they will vote for an opposition candidate
if the nonagenarian stands in those elections.
A meeting in April to try and mend relations between the war vets and
Mugabe failed to resolve the stalemate, with the former freedom fighters
setting difficult conditions for the nonagenarian, including that he
ditches alleged Generation 40 (G40) kingpins such as Higher Education
minister Jonathan Moyo and the ruling party’s national political commissar
Political analyst Shakespear Hamauswa also said while Zanu PF is
legendary for coalescing into a formidable front towards elections,
succession and survival fights in the party have never reached the
current dog-eat-dog levels.
“I think if the problem of succession is not resolved, they are not going
to be united come 2018. We have precedence in that regard. In 2008 the
bhora musango scenario is likely to repeat itself. In the Norton
by-election they could not unite.”
Hamauswa said while this time the fissures are deeper and cracks are
wider, Zanu PF’s saving grace will likely be that the opposition is also
weak and divided.
“We cannot certainly say Zanu PF will be history after 2018 because the
current challenges in Zanu PF have not been countered by a formidable
“If the opposition fails to unite we might have a continuation of the
current set up or we might have serious voter apathy.”
On the other hand Afghanistan based political analyst Maxwell Saungweme
said while Zanu PF supporters will most likely vote for Mugabe in 2018
they will however, differ in parliamentary and council elections
“Zanu PF members are all Mugabe’s boys and girls. If Mugabe is there, he
can whip them into line to rally behind selected party candidates.
“But like in the past we have had Zanu PF members rebelling against
imposed party candidates and this has led to independent candidates in
some constituencies winning.
“This will happen again in several constituencies. But for presidency if
Mugabe is still there, then all of them will support him. Zanu PF operates
like a political cult in which Mugabe is the lead masquerade. So no one
will dare oppose him.
“So they will all unite around Mugabe, and differ in other elections
(parliamentary and council elections) based on factions. And this is not
Asked on the possibility of another bhora musango in 2018 Saungweme said,
“anything is possible with an imploding party.”
So bad is the situation in the ruling party as the two factions continue
to wash their dirty linen in public with Mnangagwa allies recently
promising to finish off the G40 and also promised to deal with Kasukuwere
Party political commissar Kasukuwere is accused of leaning towards the G40
faction and his adversaries in Zanu PF accuse him of targeting Mnangagwa’s
He however denies the accusations and has constantly demonstrated that
whatever he does he would have the blessings of Mugabe.
Thus, Mnangagwa’s loyalists who go by the fancy moniker Team Lacoste are
of the view that Mugabe will not tinker with the commissariat department
headed by a G40 kingpin.