By Blessing Vava
It was never a secret that President Mugabe wanted to rule Zimbabwe for life, and he never envisaged anyone other than himself to be the President of Zimbabwe as long as he is alive.
|ZANLA Commander eliminated on the eve of Zimbabwe's||Independence|
Since he took over as leader of ZANU in 1976, his tactics of intimidating, outwitting and eliminating political opponents and anyone who dares challenge his power is well documented. A great deceiver of our time Mugabe has used the ‘divide and rule’ tactic for self-perpetuation in power. Some quarters say he had a hand in the elimination of revolutionaries like General Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo to mention but a few and all elements he saw as an impediment in his road to his self-made ‘throne.’ Even in post-independence Zimbabwe the man’s dirty tactics of thwarting opponents are all written and told from one generation to the other. We all know how he plotted against the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and all the revolutionary leaders of ZAPU, as he saw Nkomo as a threat falsely labelling him a dissident. He made sure they were powerless and even unleashed the notorious Five Brigade to kill the people of Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces, all this was done to maintain his dominancy as the all-conquering leader of the Republic of Zimbabwe. One thing for sure Mugabe succeeded in his plan and most of the ZAPU leaders succumbed and, for the sake of ‘unity’ they joined Mugabe in 1987, to become ZANU PF. But over the years Mugabe never rested, his life has always been scheming and consolidating his power. Nkomo and his crew were just figureheads used under the guise of a Unity Accord signed on the 22nd of December 1987.
|Pardoned by Mugabe: Dzikamai Mavhaire|
I pity the late Edison Zvogbo, who was eyeing the Presidency and even going to the extent of amending the constitution creating an Executive Presidency, possibly to enjoy the same powers after Mugabe’s departure. His mistake was thinking that Mugabe was a democrat who will at one point leave office to pave way for another leader. That was not to be, Zvobgo got demoted by Mugabe to a Minister without Portfolio. Dzikamai Mavhaire a Zvobgo ally braved the Mugabe’s ruthlessness and became the first ZANU PF senior official to call for the resignation of Mugabe. Not only was he suspended from the party, Mavhaire went into oblivion and became a pale shadow of his former self until he was pardoned by Mugabe post July 2013 when he was appointed a minister. And he was set as an example. Mugabe has his way of managing rifts and discord within his party and always his will carries the day. Those in ZANU PF know this quite frankly. This is why both factions will be battling to bootlick him at whatever platform and expense making reassurances that he is the sole candidate at congress and that he is the party’s candidate in 2018, even if they know he is no longer capable.
For as long as Mugabe is still the leader of ZANU PF, he determines what happens in the party and who will compose the presidium and the politburo. He enjoys these factional fights because he knows that they will be pre-occupied fighting amongst themselves and not challenging his power. In fact all factional wars in ZANU PF hover around the vice presidency and never an open contest to his post. Mugabe has used patronage and fear as his weapon to weaken members of his party. He has made them to believe (though they do not necessarily believe) that he is the best thing ever to happen to ZANU PF. Given a closely knit patronage system that has evolved over the past 38 years and has been supported by state sponsored ‘disciplinary’ wings none of the ZANU PF top leadership have the guts to openly challenge his post. They cannot challenge him, they might do secret meetings behind his back, but he has an effective intelligence system and he will be in the know-how of all the plots to have him out. His comments at the luncheon after the opening of the 2nd Session of the 8th Parliament are clear that Mugabe is aware of those plotting to oust him, thereby buttressing statements echoed by his wife during her ‘Meet the People Rallies’. Mugabe is not prepared to go and from his speech it was clear that he is in support of what his wife’s sentiments. However, he was trying to appear as if he is managing both sides. It is these factional battles that maintain a balance on his power as he then appears to be the mediator reigning sanity in the party; in fact some of these factional fights have been a creation of Mugabe who lies back with an eagle eye and strikes to bring sanity before they blow out of proportion.
As the succession plot thickens in the revolutionary party, Zimbabwe’s so-called opposition leaders and some elements within the civil society and the media have gone to the extent of openly showing their allegiance and sympathy to Joice Mujuru. How short their memory is, maybe they have forgotten that she is the Second Secretary of ZANU PF, who has been part of a corrupt government acquiring vast business empires through unscrupulous means – the ‘zamu ramai Mujuru’ case in Marange cannot be easily wished away. She was part of government during Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, 2000-2002-2008 violent elections……among numerous other crimes against socio-economic and political justice. Joice Mujuru is no saint!!! She has never on a single day condemned ZANU PF or state barbarism that is an affront to the values of the liberation struggle. Any sympathy for her is a great betrayal to what Zimbabweans have been fighting for since 1997 – a free and open developmental society where every citizen is protected by the state. We have all been fighting for a democratic country, where the rule of law is respected, a free corrupt society; however it’s difficult to separate the Dr Vice President from all the ills committed by her party. In 2004 she was used to block Mnangagwa from the post of Vice President, subsequently she was elevated by Mugabe and dressed in borrowed robes as the person to fill the post of Vice President and second secretary of ZANU PF. Like all borrowed robes, those given to Mujuru are beginning to wane down because of her ‘ambitions to unseat Mugabe.’ And as Mugabe said yesterday that come congress ZANU PF will be moving in one direction, and the same Joice will be part of it. The jostling in civic society and opposition to support Mujuru has been successful in diverting national attention from building strong political movement(s) to challenge ZANU PF in the near future. Zvazviri!
Blessing Vuvuzela Vava is a defender of the Peoples Charter and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org