via Zanu PF fights spill into Parly – DailyNews Live by Mugove Tafirenyika 4 APRIL 2014
The vicious factionalism within Zanu PF has spilled into Parliament — disguised as a fight against corruption — as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe intensifies.
While factional fights in the ruling party have previously been confined to the politburo and other organs of the party, the election to Parliament of young turks has seen the theatre of action shifting to the august House.
Fiery Zanu PF legislators in the mould of Temba Mliswa (Hurungwe West) and Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Gokwe-Nembudziya) have recently made stunning revelations in Parliament about corruption involving party bigwigs.
The two are widely believed to belong to the two main factions in Zanu PF, one led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Many lawmakers believe that the current anti-corruption crusade was a smokescreen for a deeper Zanu PF factional war bubbling under.
Officials say the main focus in the National Assembly has been to advance factional interests as the race to succeed the 90-year-old Mugabe gathers momentum ahead of the Zanu PF congress in December.
Opposition lawmakers say they are watching in awe as Zanu PF factions turn their guns on each other.
James Maridadi, Mabvuku-Tafara MDC MP, said opposition legislators had become spectators both in the House and in committees as rival Zanu PF factions tore into each other during deliberations.
“I happen to have attended a portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (chaired by Wadyajena) as an observer when Green Fuel was giving oral evidence and I could literally touch the acrimony and feel the contestations whose origins I could not tell,” Maridadi told the Daily News.
“The tragedy of Zimbabwe’s politics is that whenever Zanu PF sneezes, the whole country will catch a cold. On that day, the committee’s work was heavily compromised as the guests and members had become mere spectators.
“We just wait to see where the contestation that is playing out not only in Parliament but also publicly will take us but I can assure you the destination is not a safe one. Zimbabweans can as well fasten their belts and say Lord, here we come”.
A lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “If you look at the trend, you will notice that (Temba) Mliswa’s contribution in Parliament seems to target the Mnangagwa camp. That is why he is so obsessed with Green Fuel and the Unki deal.
“Wadyajena’s committee, on the other hand, seems to be targeting the Mujuru faction’s activities in the diamond industry. That is the game, it is about power.”
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said the contestations in Parliament were a sign of democracy not factionalism.
“Some issues like the Mliswa and Rautenbach feud have nothing to do with Zanu PF. They are personal differences and should not be misconstrued for factionalism and they do not affect the work of Parliament,” Gumbo told the Daily News.
Both Wadyajena and Mliswa have denied belonging to any faction, insisting they were loyal to the party leadership.
Dewa Mavhinga, a civil rights activist, said the so-called fight against corruption was meant to curry favour with Mugabe, much to the detriment of Parliament’s credibility.
Mavhinga said at the end of the day, Zanu PF was abusing public institutions and turning them into mere talk shows which only served to divert people’s attention from fundamental issues of an economy almost on its knees.
He said what was important in the final analysis was what remedial action was taken when cases of corruption are exposed.
“That there is corruption is common knowledge and people are not interested in the perennial talk about it without the right steps that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of culprits being taken. Talk is cheap,” Mavhinga said.
“Far from fighting corruption, all they want is to endear themselves with the dear leader, to be seen to be doing great work for the party more than the other faction.”
Despite denying allegiance to any faction on Tuesday, Mliswa accused Information minister Jonathan Moyo of belonging to the Mnangagwa camp and alleged the minister was using the State media to fight the ruling party’s factional wars.
But Moyo immediately rubbished Mliswa saying his mandate was national and emphasised that he did not belong to any faction.
Mliswa also spectacularly fingered Mnangagwa in “Mafia” activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and said he would take the matter up in Parliament.
Charity Manyeruke, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, dismissed claims that it was Zanu PF factionalism playing out.
Manyeruke accused some top officials of engaging in corrupt activities and trying to hide behind factional fights when they are asked to account for their actions.
“There is really nothing factional about fighting corruption,” Manyeruke said. “Parliament is only playing its oversight role and those who make such claims are the ones who engaged in corrupt activities in the name of the party.”
Zimbabweans are however getting apprehensive at both the escalating and the brutal tone in the battle for supremacy.