There is no denying that Zimbabwe is one of the most peaceful countries in the region. All that despite the punishment the nation has been subjected to for daring to recover, in the past 16 years, its natural resources, particularly land, from white minority settlers. But that peace and stability have come under test in the past few months. Strangely, the biggest threat to that peace and stability has not come directly from the white settlers who have been dispossessed of land, nor their white kith and kin in Britain, America, Canada and Australia.
That threat has not come from the local opposition, although it is prone to making reckless statements. The biggest threat to the national stability and peace of this country in the past few months has come from the governing Zanu-PF, fighting itself along factional lines in pursuit of a successionist agenda.
Thankfully, this threat has not gone unnoticed by the party and national leadership.
President Mugabe called for an end to the factional wars in his State of the Nation Address at State House on February 19. He said we all belong together and to one another. We are all Zimbabweans. “First and foremost,” warned the President, “whatever you might say, shut up and let us not hear any divisive voices from the G40 or what you call Lacoste whatever, shut up.” The First Lady would say “Stop It!”
President Mugabe did not pretend that these dog fights in the party were a new phenomenon. He acknowledged the contradictions which manifest from time to time in any liberation movement, and in Zanu-PF in particular.
What has distinguished those contradictions of the past from the madness of the past few months, President Mugabe observed, is that in the past “the party had an ideological direction”.
That is what is missing now. Instead the ideology of the past has been superseded by loyalty to individuals pursuing political power, naked power without any guiding principle or ideology. That is what we have witnessed in the past few weeks and months. And that is why we view it as the biggest threat to national peace and stability.
When contradictions in the party are informed by a broader party ideology, cadres don’t lose their heads and discipline, for those are the attributes which make for order in any self-conscious organisation.
President Mugabe, however, had a lot to lament in the current state of Zanu-PF. “Now, if contradictions develop, they should never be of the nature that is antagonistic, too negative, where people start fighting each other, insulting each other, abusing each other,” said the President. And that is precisely what we have witnessed, what we believe constitutes the biggest threat to national peace and stability.
It is a terrible situation in the party, when we hear babies who were not even in their mothers’ wombs when Zimbabwe won its independence through the barrel of the gun in 1980, threatening to engage in a physical fight with those who brought that independence.
In other words, these born-frees are prepared to fight the entire leadership of the party and Government, from the President, and the echelons of the Army, the Police, the Prisons and Intelligence services, for those men and women constitute the hierarchy which commanded the liberation movements, the war veterans, of this country. And these misguided Zanu-PF youths, as personified by one Kudzanayi Chipanga, are not fighting for the ideological integrity of the party. They want to fight war veterans in furtherance of successionist politics.
It’s a shame; it’s disgraceful. Shame on these misguided, overfed youths. We don’t know where they derive their audacity from. But we agree with President Mugabe that they lack discipline and we believe for our part that time to restore order in the governing party is long overdue. It’s time for ACTION.
“There is need for a whip of discipline now to be shown and to be used,” the President said.