Zanu-PF in opposition to itself

Prof Moyo

Prof Moyo

Reason Wafawarova On Thursday
NOW that the opposition monster that rose at the dawn of the 21st Century has in every sense of the word imploded into irreversible self-destruction, it appears Zanu-PF cannot thrive without the once vicious opposing force from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

So much accustomed to acute political survival is Zanu-PF that the party seems to no longer have the will and capacity to run its affairs in times of peace, and sadly that includes its mandate to govern the country.

Last week, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba denounced what he called “successionists” within the ranks of Zanu-PF in an interview with a local radio station.

He described as “little fellas” the people he said wanted to incite unspecified civil servants to work against one of the Vice Presidents, and he warned that the attempt by these people to pretend to be championing the cause of the First Family would soon backfire, and that the “cabal” would soon “come to grief.”

He denounced the naivety of these “little fellas,” whom he said simplistically “think (they) can scale up a political ladder by tweeting,” and he also lambasted the same people for manipulating a few headlines through social media in the hope of launching “stupid ambitions.”

Mr Charamba gave a chilling and revealing warning to these Zanu-PF mischief-makers.

“But something must give in now. I am having to fend off bad Press from within Zanu-PF not from MDC, but from within Zanu-PF 24/7, from my own fellow party members, yes I am a civil servant, but I am Zanu-PF.”

So we have the President’s spokesperson working day and night to fend off bad Press against the governing party, from within the same governing party, and targeted at the very same party; like a big snake biting its own tail, and trying to fend off the effort at the same time.

Ordinarily the State President’s spokesperson must have little to do with his boss’ party affairs, where another spokesperson is usually mandated to preoccupy him or herself with such matters.

In this particular case the spokesperson publicly gives a disclaimer by declaring membership to the party in question, something perhaps not exactly unusual for a person appointed to a position such as Charamba’s.

It would be news if the man belonged to an opposition party, wouldn’t it?

Technically, Charamba is expected to be stately in behaviour, feigning apoliticalness, and to represent Mugabe the statesman, not the politician.

Clearly it is hard for Charamba to feign neutrality when politicians from President Mugabe’s party start throwing spanners in the executive duties of their own party leader, like deriding any of his deputies, and/or frowning upon their efforts to execute their assigned duties.

Since Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed to his current position in ZANU-PF and in Government, there have been unprecedented public efforts to demean and belittle the appointment itself by a section from within the party, as was done by Professor Jonathan Moyo when he told the BBC’s Hard Talk programme that the appointment only amounted to the VP being President Mugabe’s personal “assistant.”

Zimbabwe has had the Vice President’s post since 1987, and every thinking citizen knows the difference between the country’s number two leader, and the Head of State’s personal assistant.

It is hard to confuse the two, even from the viewpoint of complex semantics from a renowned academician.

Many people read disdain and intentional confrontation in the semantics used by Prof Moyo then, and that included the media in Zimbabwe.

Although Charamba did not put any names to the people he attacked in his interview, there was one man who was clearly irked by Charamba’s utterances, and he responded rather furiously through Twitter.

This man was none other than Prof Moyo, fast-establishing himself as the war man against one of President’s Mugabe’s top most appointees.

Charamba seems convinced that a price will be paid for this.

The two men have worked together in the past, for better and for worse, and this is not the first time Moyo has attacked Charamba publicly.

Both men were strong advocates for the 2013 elections, when a force within Zanu-PF led by the then Vice President Joice Mujuru was reportedly opposed to the election, arguing for a continued coalition governance with Tsvangirai’s MDC.

The two men fronted the media effort that thrashed the so-called “moderates” from Zanu-PF, and for their sterling efforts they earned themselves the tag “hardliners,” coming mainly from an incensed West, through its pliant civic organisations and private media.

The election happened, the landslide victory happened, and when the Mujuru cabal hijacked the subsequent election victory to influence the structures of the new government, Prof Moyo and Mr Charamba again led the effort to clip VP Mujuru’s wings.

At first the efforts were clandestine and subtle, but as 2014 progressed the gloves were off, and we saw the dramatic fall of VP Mujuru and her supporters and cronies.

Prof Moyo has in the past clashed with a number of Vice Presidents, and he has been accused of “insubordination,” and also of “destroying the party from within.”

Notably, he clashed with the late Joseph Msika and also John Nkomo, and of course he also publicly helped to fight Joice Mujuru.

Prof Moyo was not yet in Government when Vice President Nkomo died in 1999.

It is ironic that although Prof Moyo’s expulsion from Zanu-PF in February 2005 was officially because of his decision to run as an independent in Tsholotsho, it was widely held that the party decision to disqualify him for the candidacy through a women quota system was punishment for his perceived support for a Mnangagwa vice presidency ahead of Joice Mujuru the previous year.

The irony is that Prof Moyo now portrays himself as a bitter opponent of the man whose bidding he so frantically fronted in 2004, and there is a lot of speculation on the reasons for his somersaulting behaviour, or is it the fall out?

Well, flip-flopping is not new for Prof Moyo. When he initially coined the concept of “Generation 40” in 2011, he was bitterly opposed to the continued presidency of Cde Mugabe.

Today there is a shadowy outfit reportedly going by the same name, and supposedly led by him, which in public unequivocally supports the 2018 candidacy of President Mugabe, while at the same time it is vigorously pursuing the succession politics of the same man in the run up to the same election — vehemently declaring who should, and who should not succeed the party leader.

Prof Moyo is talented at agenda setting, as he did with the media part of the revolution during the land reform programme, and with AIPPA as well.

His inaugural efforts with the 2000 constitution-making process flopped with the NO vote, but not before the man had established himself as a political guru on the national scene.

His IMPI project introduced after he was reappointed Information Minister in 2013 backfired drastically, but Zim-Asset has also been linked to his hand.

Currently the man is pursuing what he calls STEM — a promotion of natural sciences in our higher education sector, and he has this ability to make everyone run with his agenda.

It is not advisable to personally run with Jonathan Moyo in politics. The man has had too many expendables in his political adventures. When he gets expended himself he has a way of bouncing back, but it is not always the case with those he drags along, like some of his many appointees in the public media, many of whom have ended up worse off than they were before they were elevated by the man.

If it is true that there is a rival team to Prof Moyo’s perceived shadowy group within Zanu-PF, and the two groups have gone to the extent of wearing rival promotional regalia, then one can justifiably rue the demise of the opposition in Zimbabwe.

Zanu-PF is so used to being opposed that it has had to create an artificial but dangerous opposition from within its own ranks, all at the expense of national duty.

While Charamba is trying to rein in renegades from his party, the reality on the ground is that mediocrity within some in government leadership has reached alarming levels, and that probably explains why one minister recently made headlines for saying all we need to do in order to industrialise is “pray”.

Zanu-PF now knows that political dramas can be exciting enough to keep people’s focus from their challenges, and as such the party has naturally created an opposition to itself.

If by a miracle the country were suddenly to have a rising wave of genuine opposition, the quarrelling forces within Zanu-PF would suddenly put aside their difference and regroup for political survival.

But must not the party take peaceful times as an opportunity to focus on developmental issues?

This is what the government must be doing as opposed to creating suspense and uncertainty right in the face of an expectant population.

This writer desperately hopes for a better Zimbabwe, and takes exception to the treacherous trend of factional politicking within the ruling party.

Zanu-PF cannot take people for granted on the mere basis that its power prospects are not under threat.

The greatest threat to Zanu-PF’s future has never been the opposition. It has always been the people of Zimbabwe. Revolutionaries know this.

Organised by the structures of Zanu-PF, the people can demand their right to be governed well.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

  • REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia
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