‘Zim civil war looming’

Source: ‘Zim civil war looming’ – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      24 February 2017

HARARE – Former Finance minister and now leader of the opposition People’s
Democratic Party (PDP), Tendai Biti, has warned that President Robert
Mugabe’s unwillingness to groom a successor, as well as Zanu PF’s
escalating tribal, factional and successions wars, could plunge the
country into civil war.

This comes after Mugabe said pointedly last week that no one in his
warring ruling party is worthy of succeeding him, while at the same time
lavishing his influential wife Grace, with praise – including backing her
to succeed and hold her own in the brawling former liberation movement.

Since Mugabe made those controversial remarks in his annual birthday
interview with ZBC (TV), Zanu PF’s ugly ructions have intensified – with a
faction of young party Turks going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40)
fighting hard to decimate Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp, known
as Team Lacoste.

Biti yesterday said Zimbabwe was hurtling towards chaos as Zanu PF’s
factions bayed for each other’s blood. He also described as reckless,
Mugabe’s statements that none of his minions was worthy of succeeding him.

“Mugabe’s recent utterances in which he denigrated his deputies, defining
them as unfit to hold office if he leaves is not only reckless but should
not have been said at this volatile stage. If all this is not managed
carefully, the country’s delicate transition will result in chaos,” he

“The current environment is volatile and contains many ingredients for a
civil war. The toxic hate speech that is being exchanged every day across
the Zanu PF factions is at the same level with that witnessed before the
genocide in Rwanda.

“”The fact that the Lacoste faction includes the military makes it
dangerous for Mugabe to try and impose his wife in a process which must
normally be determined by a democratic election. Mugabe has always
deprived the people of Zimbabwe their right to freely choose,” Biti added.

“The recent utterances by (former Zanu PF youth leader for Mashonaland
Central) Godfrey Tsenengamu are evidence that the succession wars in Zanu
PF are a danger to many Zimbabwean lives. His utterances must be taken
seriously,” he said.

Speaking in his annual interview last week, ahead of his 93rd birthday,
Mugabe did not mince his words saying he would soldier on in power –
notwithstanding his advanced age and declining health – and would only
step down if Zanu PF asked him to do so.

“The call to step down must come from my party, my party at congress, my
party at central committee . . . I will step down.

“But then what do you see? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for
elections. They want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party.

“Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my
party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so . . .
The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor
who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” Mugabe said.

His statement was seen as slamming the door shut in the face of his
longtime aide Mnangagwa, who until recently had been touted as a
front-runner to succeed him.

Stung by this damning statement, Mnangagwa’s angry allies, including
Tsenengamu, came out guns blazing, warning the increasingly frail
nonagenarian that he faced a big fight if he continued to thwart the
Midlands godfather’s mooted presidential aspirations.

Tsenengamu also said on Monday that they would now openly campaign for
Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor, raising the stakes high in the succession

He was subsequently nabbed by detectives, a day after he held his press
conference in the capital where he let rip at Mugabe and Grace.

Tsenengamu appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday facing
three charges: violating provisions of the draconian Public Order and
Security Act (Posa) for holding his press conference without clearance,
undermining the authority of the president and subverting a
constitutionally-elected government.

Biti said the fact that Mugabe had criticised everyone while heaping
praise on his wife showed that he had most likely already made up his mind
about “imposing a dynastic arrangement on the citizens of Zimbabwe”.

He warned that if this was the case, Mugabe was taking a major gamble as
Grace was allegedly “a hard sell to the impoverished and long-suffering

“Grace lacks the capacity to lead and has no defendable stature . . . Any
reasonable individual will obviously oppose a move which is aimed at her
taking over the reins, and sadly this includes the Lacoste faction,” Biti

In his birthday interview, Mugabe heaped praise on Grace – fuelling
suspicion within Zanu PF that he could be grooming her to take over from

“She is very acceptable, very much accepted by the people. I thought you
saw her on television today (on Friday in Buhera North). It’s fireworks,
isn’t it?

“She is well-seasoned now. She is a very strong character. I saw something
quite different in her. They (critics) thought she was an ambitious woman
who would want to work herself into a position of power,” Mugabe said with
much pride.

Biti also said the infighting in Zanu PF was likely to result in the
intervention of the military.

Mugabe has previously expressed his disquiet at the military for allegedly
meddling in the party’s succession riddle, warning them to stay away from
politics during Zanu PF’s conference in Victoria Falls in 2014.

“We have a firm policy that forbids such behaviour . . . we should stop
it, yes. Tanga tasvika pekuti kwanga kwaanekupindirwa nevamwe zvekare
vatisingadi kuona vachipindira munyaya idzi. (We have now come to an
untenable situation where people who should ordinarily keep away from such
issues are now also involved).

“Some people come to me complaining asking whether it was proper for the
army, the police and intelligence . . . all telling me so and so belongs
to this and that faction. Let’s stop that. We are ruining the party that
way,” he said then.

Local think-tank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), in a 2015 report
titled “Military factor in Zanu PF succession politics”, suggested that
the military had veto power in deciding Mugabe’s successor.


  • comment-avatar

    Didn’t Chihuri together with the top army commanders a few years back say that they will never salute anybody who has not fought in the liberation war? In that case that they will never accept Grace. I wonder if these people have forgotten what they said!!

  • comment-avatar

    The sooner the better.

  • comment-avatar
    real one 5 years ago

    no civil war in this cantry