via ‘Army wields veto power over Zanu PF succession’ – DailyNews Live 27 August 2014 by Fungi Kwaramba and Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s military will influence the outcome of the forthcoming Zanu PF congress to ensure their proxies triumph and secure their interests, analysts said yesterday.
President Robert Mugabe, who has entrenched his rule on the backing of the securocrats, is heading off a deepening factional war in his ruling party that he has led since 1977.
With the party now hurtling towards a crucial elective congress pencilled for December, the increasingly influential military is expected to flex its muscles to influence the congress’ outcome, analysts say.
At 90, many within and outside Zanu PF believe that Mugabe might be nearing the end of his ironfisted three-and-a-half decade rule.
In the past few months, unprecedented jockeying for posts has intensified with two major factions, one reportedly led by vice president Joice Mujuru and the other by Justice minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, having engaged in serious fights that analysts predict could get even uglier as December approaches.
Although the army has so far remained largely in the shadows, insiders say they are watching with a keen interest the unfolding succession drama.
Retired colonel Tshinga Dube last week waded into the vicious Zanu PF succession wars when he publicly threw his weight behind the party’s chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to ascend to
the post of second vice president.
Khaya Moyo is facing stiff challenge from the likes of former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko and politburo members Kembo Mohadi and Ambrose Mutinhiri, who all claim to be more senior and deserving of the VP post than the incumbent chairperson.
Joseph Mujere, a war studies expert and a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), said the security establishment may not necessarily want to seize power “but rather to influence the outcome of the Zanu PF congress”.
“They would want to see their proxies triumph in the congress for two main reasons: One is because they are the major beneficiaries of the land reform programme and also that they
would want to ensure the security of whatever they got through the indigenisation policy,” Mujere told the Daily News.
Wesley Mwatwara, a War and Strategic Studies lecturer at the UZ, said stakes were high as the military establishment moves to protect their vested interests, politically and socially.
“The military is so keen not only to be involved in the party’s succession politics to the extent of even seeking to eventually take over after Mugabe because they would want their interests taken care of,” he said.
“It is all because of the party’s patronage system that goes beyond ordinary party cadres to include the military element and that makes them a very important variable in the succession matrix.”
After a devastating loss to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the 2008 elections, Mugabe and his party fell back on the military to overturn the poll defeat.
“It is evident from the fact that we have seen generals taking up posts in the party while others have been influential in the ruling party’s campaigns; they will certainly influence the party’s elective congress in December therefore,” Mwatwara said.
“Mutsvangwa’s tirade against the likes of (Didymus) Mutasa, his language, to me, seems to suggest that the military element in the party does not see politicians in a post-Mugabe era taking custody of the party to their liking so they would prefer a situation where one of their own is in charge.”
In a study titled the Military Factor in Zimbabwe’s Political and Electoral Affairs written by respected War Studies professor Martin Rupiya, a retired brigadier general noted that Zimbabwe’s politics was now intricately linked to the army.
“Since Zimbabwe’s attainment of independence from colonial rule in 1980, the security sector, particularly the military, has played a significant role in the political and electoral affairs of the country,” the report says.
“The visibility and influence of the military rose gradually over the years to the current position of dominance and de facto veto power over Zimbabwe’s civilian affairs.”