Blood on the floor

via Blood on the floor – DailyNews Live 13 November 2015

HARARE – With President Robert Mugabe looking increasingly frail and unable to stop the factional and succession wars devouring his ruling post-congress Zanu PF, analysts warn that the party’s ugly infighting could turn violent before, during and after its annual conference to be held in Victoria Falls next month.

While such gatherings have traditionally been uneventful and boring, this year’s is promising fireworks as bitterly-opposed factions linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace jostle to gain decisive advantage in the brutal succession war.

And with the opposing camps ratcheting up their rhetoric against each other over the past few days as tension rises, analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the threat of serious intra-party violence was becoming a distinct possibility, particularly given the past tendency by party hardliners to default to violence when their hold on power was threatened.

As it is, there have been disconcerting threats within ruling party circles this week that unaccredited rival youth groups may be bussed to Victoria Falls, which if it happens, will further raise the chances of violence breaking out at the conference.

The Zimbabwe Youth Action Platform (ZYAP) — a youth group that supports Mnangagwa — has already not only savaged the party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40), who are rabidly opposed to the VP, they have also threatened violence against these alleged mafikizolos (party Johnny-come-latelies) that include national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.

Another group calling itself the Children of Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association has also threatened the alleged kingpins of the G40, also demanding not only that Kasukuwere apologises unreservedly for having once insulted some war veterans as drunkards, but that he is also ousted from his powerful party position.

The political analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said given this “fraught climate” — as well as the fact that Mnangagwa had recently been reported to have upped his personal security, while some of the ruling party’s stalwarts such as Solomon Mujuru and Border Gezi had died in disputed circumstances — the spectre of bloody disagreements could not be discounted.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, said a person like Mnangagwa could “ill-afford to be reckless”, especially after reports that his offices had been sprinkled with cyanide in an apparent attempt on his life by alleged party rivals.

“With the succession issue becoming more vicious, nothing can be left to chance. Mnangagwa has been forewarned and given his experience in the party during the liberation struggle where eliminations were a common feature, he wants to ensure that no such thing happens to him,” Masunungure posited.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza said Mnangagwa “probably knows better that … many have died under our watch from the 1970s until today, including the suspicious death of Rex Nhongo … so one cannot rule out anything”.

Afghanistan-based political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said there were many incidences of ambitious officials who had died in mysterious circumstances that included “road accidents”.

“That Mnangagwa is reported to have upped his security is testament to what the party is capable of doing,” he said, adding that “cases of violence  involving members are well documented”.

And as paranoia continues to grip the party, the VP’s supporters are pointing out to last year’s car accident and the cyanide attack at his Zanu PF offices as some of those ominous signs that have also made his family, specifically his wife Auxillia, vulnerable.

All this is happening as Grace’s allies are ratcheting up their efforts to “checkmate” Mnangagwa’s presidential aspirations at the ruling party’s annual conference next month.

Well-placed sources linked to the G40 — who are rallying behind Grace as the race to succeed Mugabe hots up — told the Daily News on Wednesday that the embattled VP would face his Waterloo at the increasingly-important Victoria Falls gathering.

“Everyone agrees that it is now time to end all these misguided plots by secessionists (G40 code for Mnangagwa camp) that the president plans to retire soon and that their man will finally be king.

“We will end all this silly excitement once and for all in Victoria Falls, as it will be checkmate time. Just keep watching this space,” one of the sources, a senior Zanu PF official, declared boldly without giving details.

But further investigations by the Daily News showed that just like the VP’s allies are hoping will happen, the G40 faction is also hedging its bets on the Victoria Falls gathering becoming an elective conference.

This would see constitutional changes catapulting Grace to the party’s vice presidency using Zanu PF’s abandoned women’s quota system — which would in turn see Mnangagwa relegated to a lower position, possibly that of party chairperson which was dropped last year.

Under this scheme, the G40 would push for Zanu PF to revert to its old constitution, under whose Article 7 (31) it declared that four members of the party’s central committee were supposed to be a president and first secretary, two vice presidents and second secretaries — “one of whom shall be a woman” — and a national chairperson.

“We will be pushing to see to it that Dr Amai Grace is nominated to the vice presidency post, while Comrade Mnangagwa may become the chairperson, which currently alternates between him and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko,” a confident women’s league official said, arguing that the old party constitution was “in line with the Unity Accord” which was agreed by Mugabe and the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo in 1987.

“VP Mphoko should keep his post by virtue of being the Zapu representative, which will mean that Comrade Mnangagwa has to be accommodated somewhere else,” she said.

The Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday reported at the weekend that with Mugabe looking increasingly frail due to advanced age and failing health, there were also moves within the warring post-congress Zanu PF to push the long-ruling nonagenarian to announce his retirement and anoint a successor at the party’s conference next month.

Well-placed sources told the weekly that allies of Mnangagwa were sensing that they had “weathered the political storm” that had surrounded the embattled VP over the past few months, and that they now needed to move with speed to press home their advantage.

“Ngwena’s (Mnangagwa) allies think that the worst is over and that the tide is beginning to turn against the VP’s real enemies, the G40, who have been trying to set him up against Amai (Grace).

“This is why some of them see the party’s annual conference in Victoria Falls next month as a possible opportunity to press their advantage and encourage the president (Mugabe) to not just announce his retirement roadmap there, but also to actually anoint his successor,” one of the sources said.

This comes as the warring ruling party is awash with talk about the possibility of Mugabe relinquishing power before the end of his current term, which ends in 2018 — amid a counter push by the G40 and other Grace supporters that the first lady should take over in that unlikely event.


  • comment-avatar
    mandevu 7 years ago

    Don’t let these side shows distract you from the main objective – which is to get rid of Zanu PF once and for all