via Bhora Musango II beckons – The Zimbabwean 25 February 2015
The 2018 general elections will be a gruelling ball game for President Robert Mugabe, his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and all those who belong to the ruling Zanu (PF) faction.
The ball will hardly stay on the field of play and this faction, which took the reins at last year’s congress, will be busy hunting for it in the thorny bushes. Mugabe and his cohorts in the new centre of power must brace for a scalding Bhora Musango II.
We were treated to Bhora Musango I during the 2008 elections, when parliamentary candidates and members loyal to Joice Mujuru sprang a dramatic electoral sabotage. Mugabe, with whom they were angry for clinging to power for too long, lost in constituencies where Zanu (PF) parliamentary candidates won.
Voters had been mobilised to send the message that the Old Man’s time was up. Courtesy of that sabotage, Mugabe was beaten by MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe last year confessed that Tsvangirai won by 73 percent. Sadly, a partisan Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) played around with the figures for about a month to ensure that the MDC-T leader won by less than the 50 percent plus one votes that would have allowed him to form a government on his own. The result was a bloody run-off that Mugabe contested alone.
I doubt the old man has any energy left in him to stand for the presidency. He might put Grace there to do the running for him, or – less likely – Mnangagwa. He will not even sit on the bench because the likes of Joice Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Ray Kaukonde, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Fortune Chasi, Temba Mliswa, Rugare Gumbo and others will be busy shooting the ball into the shrubs. The goal post will be the last thing on their mind as they play to make sure that the Mnangagwa faction does not win the game.
Mujuru is likely to be in goals for Team Zanu (PF). She will easily let the likes of Tsvangirai, Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni bang in the goals for the opposition so as to share the spoils after the game.
The imagery and allegory aside, Mugabe, if he lives until then, will go to an old people’s sanctuary a very bitter man – because the 2018 elections are going to expose his foolery for treating Mujuru and her loyalists so cruelly during congress, where she and her supporters were dramatically removed from their posts.
While some of the bigwigs have been fired from the party or were demoted to ordinary members, they will cling to the party and play a central role in determining the outcome of the elections. They are bitter and will do all in their power to ensure that those responsible for their downfall bite the dust.
The most likely thing is that they will join hands with the opposition to make it clear that Mugabe, Grace, Mnangagwa and other internal rivals have no chance at the elections. They may even devise a plot to hand victory to the opposition – but in such a way that they will form a coalition after the elections, with Mujuru likely to be high up in the echelons of power.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa will be history and so will Grace, who will be lucky if she does not end up behind bars. The Mujuru faction already has a trump card. Mnangagwa and Grace are so unpopular among Zimbabweans that it would be wiser for the riling Zanu (PF) faction to choose a donkey as a presidential candidate.
So, as has happened in the past, will Mnangagwa et al pay Nikuv again and get the soldiers butchering voters? That remains possible, but it will not work in the long run because times have changed. A government that gets into power using terrorist means will not survive for long anymore. In any case, where will they get the money to pay Nikuv? The diamonds are gone. The soldiers are unhappy, too, and they are likely to gang up with the long suffering electorate. They will start looting shops and fat cats’ chicken farms again and they will be difficult to control. Even if one or two generals will be rooting for the ruling faction, they will be powerless against the tide of the rank and file.
But for the ball to keep in the bushes, the Mujuru faction needs to be brave and maintain the guts that the likes of Mutasa and Gumbo have shown so far. No more hiding in the ceiling. There is need to rethink the much-hyped grand coalition to include the grassroots Zanu (PF) membership represented by Mujuru. It might not be easy for her to come out in the open and join the rainbow coalition, but times are changing and Mugabe must be confronted more openly. – To comment on this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org