via ‘Grace’s feud with Mujuru divides Zanu PF’ – DailyNews Live 10 December 2014 by Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – Analysts say the fight between First Lady Grace Mugabe and former Zanu PF vice secretary and Vice President Joice Mujuru, as well as the chaos this has spawned, could split the ruling party and also lead to scores of legislators quitting the movement.
The ruling party wrapped up its damp squib “elective” congress last weekend, with key figures, among them Mujuru and former close confidant to President Robert Mugabe, Didymus Mutasa, conspicuously absent from the gathering.
And with Mugabe confirming that he is now kowtowing to the whims of his wife, who curiously has no liberation war credentials, analysts and party officials who spoke to the Daily News this week said they feared for the future of the party.
With Mujuru, Mutasa and a coterie of former senior party officials now thrown out, the analysts and insiders said the party was now weak and only managing to keep its hold on power because of the weakness of the opposition.
Insiders told the Daily News the feud between Grace and Mujuru was so strong that it had forced Mugabe to drop his number two because “it is impossible to put both women in the same room”.
For example, according to a senior party official Mujuru had planned to attend the funeral of Kotsho Lloyd Dube at the National Heroes Acre last Sunday, but she did not go there in the end because Grace apparently indicated that she would not attend the funeral if the outgoing VP attended.
“She (Mujuru) was on the programme and she went to Stoddart Hall, but later got word that the First Lady wasn’t ready to see her and she made a hasty retreat,” a senior party official said. “The First Lady has made it clear that she will not entertain her.”
Grace, who has slapped an assortment of damaging allegations against Mujuru, has previously infamously refused to shake the hand of Solomon Mujuru’s widow, with insiders claiming that their feuding goes beyond politics.
Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, said Zanu PF was now a weak political entity.
“It is now clear Zanu PF is Mugabe and that mere revelation severely weakens the party. The way in which the party’s constitution was literally trashed dealt a fatal blow to a fragmented and disintegrating party,” Mavhinga said.
While Mugabe’s weekend admission that he was now under the control of his wife might rattle some of the party’s most ardent supporters, Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), said the First Lady’s influence on him would weaken with time.
“There is no way Zanu PF can remain strong after removing the VP and 10 Cabinet ministers and nine provincial chairpersons.
“It will be weaker structurally and institutionally. There will be no morale in Zanu PF, but it will be more ruthless.
“There is no longer elite consensus and naturally an organisation becomes weaker and we know Zanu PF is more ruthless when it is weak. It becomes criminal,” Ruhanya said.
Asked if the new appointees to the presidium could influence the direction of the party, the ZDI founder said: “The power rests with Mugabe. Those who will be appointed will serve at the pleasure of Mugabe and not the people. The congress only served to illustrate that Zanu PF is a personal project of Mugabe.”
Asked if Grace, who boasted of having destroyed Mujuru’s political career, was now the kingmaker, Ruhanya said, “This is only temporary.
“We are soon going to see the revival of the Mujuru faction. This Grace thing is a passing phenomenon.
“She can only be here and there during the life of her husband.”
Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, said whenever there were changes of the magnitude witnessed in the party, the organisation was likely to become structurally weak.
“Logic detects that when you disrupt anything in a major way, it will have negative effects on the organisation,” he said.