Mugabe toys with feuding party factions

via Mugabe toys with feuding party factions – NewZimbabwe 11/02/2016

DAYS before Zanu PF’s high adrenalin politburo meeting Wednesday, the party soap opera all pointed to a Jonathan Moyo humiliation – and ouster, at worst.

In fact, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba gave the ‘hint’ in an interview with the privately owned ZiFM radio station two weeks ago.

Claiming anger on behalf of his boss, Charamba quickly put on his presidential spokesperson’s jacket and told those who cared to listen that Moyo would soon “come to grief”.

The firebrand Higher and Tertiary Education Minister had fallen out of favour with “the commanders”, it was later revealed on different media.

Subsequent protests from war veterans against Moyo and a host of other younger trouble makers in the party only buttressed the belief the noose was indeed tightening around the former political science professor’s audacious political life and those of fellow “successionists”.

Come Wednesday, the anti-climax was disappointing to those who longed for drama.

Except for Women’s League member Sarah Mahoka’s open but highly telling public rebuke of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s supposedly second most powerful man, the biggest news was the banning of social media abuse by party factions to excoriate each other.

Seemingly, this was a discomfiting low for Moyo, the perceived target for the anti-social media reproach.

But the G40 front-man was not the only one with the blushes after all.

Mnangagwa, leader of a party faction angling to take control of the party and supposed beneficiary of this anti-Moyo stance, was also left cursing his gods when Mahoka, a virtual nonentity in the beleaguered party’s pecking order, brought him down a peg or two.

“… if you let these things go unchecked, you my brother Shumba-Chikara (Mnangagwa’s totem), munofira mumba. Munofa nechekuchera (You will become a victim of your own machinations),” the Hurungwe East MP and Grace Mugabe ally reprimanded Mugabe’s deputy in the latter’s presence.

“She would not have made such a shocking statement pasina paakatsika (without the backing of more powerful individuals),” an observer said when Mahoka told the embattled VP to rein in his excitable backers who have gone into premature celebration for his supposedly winning the Zanu PF succession battle.

Mugabe can’t afford more expulsions

Events of a politburo session that was meant to be a battle zone have left observers to conclude that the parties have once again been double crossed by President Mugabe, a sneaky political fox who has kept his stranglehold on the party by playing ambitious party factions against each other.

“It gives you the fillers as to where we are headed; that the President is in fact the leader of G40,” observed Tabani Moyo, a media rights activist and academic in an interview with

“His way of balancing up factional fights is that he scales up one and gives it a false impression that it’s now in control and when it starts believing that he then comes up like a tonne of bricks and bashes it.”

The Zanu PF factions were certainly not the only ones in the party’s history who have fallen for Mugabe’s trickery.

Ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru in 2004 could have been for forgiven to believe she had one foot at state house when she was imposed as VP ahead of clear favourite and party rival, Mnangagwa.

But, as fate would have it, the foot was after all, into the unviable backwater of opposition politics.

Harare based political analyst Kudzayi Kwangwari feels Mugabe cannot afford to continue dislodging party members any more.

“An aggressive action would have left Zanu PF further divided and weakened,” he says.

“President Mugabe knows that the party cannot afford further divisions at this stage. The hope is that the fighting will die down naturally.”

Kwangwari says instead of Mugabe trying to protect his throne through setting party factions against each, he may well be “throwing bones to busy Zimbabweans with nothing while real issues affecting their livelihoods were getting worse”.

Rejoice Ngwenya, another Harare based political analyst, concurs.

He says Mugabe has no more luxury to purge any party members for fear of rocking the boat at a time Joice Mujuru’s People First party was on a recruiting drive.

“The old man is petrified by rocking the boat, he has capacity to do that as President but he knows he will open the flood gates for an exodus to People First,” Ngwenya said.

“It is not about playing factions against each other, it is about survival as an individual. He would rather run a game of attrition and in his mind, he would say, may the best man win.

“If you notice, there is a convergence in the apex where the rival factions both say they are defending his interest.

“So he does not have any moral authority to diffuse any of the factions because they all claim allegiance to the emperor.”


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