via Question time for Zanu-PF | The Herald December 5, 2013 by George Chisoko
Zanu-PF, the revolutionary party that dislodged colonial rule and brought independence to Zimbabwe, has always been conducting provincial elections, and for many years, such elections went largely unnoticed, with no cases of violence and allegations of rigging.
The party even had the liberty, in previous elections, to co-opt some people, outside the mainstream provincial or even district structures, into the provincial executive. The co-option was not a sign there was a shortage of people to take up the posts, but I guess it was then, a question of being interested or disinterested, something I doubt very much would happen today given the hunger the membership now has for provincial posts.
There is honestly something unexplained about the heightened, if not sudden interest for provincial positions in recent times. The leadership needs to proffer an explanation as to why provincial elections, which a couple of years ago, used to be a low key event, have now become a do or die affair when what is only at stake is just a party post.
If cases of violence and rigging were part of previous provincial elections, then the scale was negligible.
The question I ask the leadership today is: “What is driving the violence, what is triggering the rigging and exclusion and why this heightened interest among the membership to hold provincial posts?”
The Zanu-PF leadership has come out guns blazing rubbishing reports in the media of the existence of factions, triggered by the succession race.
It has gone on to suggest the factionalism being reported is the creation and imagination of the media but has not told the same media what is driving the hunger for positions, the violence and the rigging? It cannot be the question of ideology as members are expected to have a shared vision and common purpose belonging to the same party.
So what is it? Can it be blamed on personality differences, but again it is expected that people belonging to the same political party should be bound by the same ideology, shared vision and common purpose.
In fact the personality of an individual cannot be left at home, they carry it with them wherever they go and to that end cannot be blamed for causing havoc in Zanu-PF.
The party is bigger than mere personalities. If the violence, the rigging and the hunger for positions is not driven by factionalism, triggered by succession, as the leadership want everyone to believe, then what is it?
It is, however, clearly emerging that camps within Zanu-PF have been built around certain individuals, although no one really seems prepared to declare themselves.
What happened during the weekend provincial elections is testimony of the existence of factionalism, fuelled by the succession race and it will not do the party any good to continuously deny it is divided, going into the conference and Congress in 2014.
It does not do the party any good to spit venom on the media for problems its leadership and membership are creating when the most sensible thing to do is to admit to the existence of factions and the heat generated by the succession issue.
It pays for the party to take the problems witnessed in the recent provincial elections in its stride and as a family, seek to resolve them, not for the benefit of individuals but for the greater good of the party for the party will continue to exist beyond the life of individuals.
President Mugabe is on record saying he would not appoint a successor but the successor would have to come from the people. For me, that statement opened up the succession debate. This is why certain individuals who, in their wisdom or lack of it, think they are in the succession line have built camps or factions around themselves in a bid to influence the structures for their ascension.
They have realised that to get elected, they need to have the backing of the provincial structures so that when it comes to elections at Congress in 2014, they have people on their side to influence the direction of the vote.
Essentially the fight, for me is about succession, whichever way one looks at it. The only problem with the individuals who have set themselves of the succession path is that they do not want to expose their ambition given the post of President is still occupied.
They do not want to express their ambitions because there is an incumbent President. Period.
No sane politician would not want to think about the succession issue on account, President Mugabe can decide, if he so wishes, to retire or resign today and obviously we are seeing people, through the provincial structures, strategically positioning themselves.
How then do you reconcile, the non-violence gospel that was preached before, during and after the harmonised elections, which went on very well with few incidences which we have seen emerging at party level. I ask again, what and why are people fighting if there are no factions and if the provincial elections mean nothing in the succession matrix?
I expect to get the answers from the leadership as to why suddenly provincial elections have generated frightening interest.