Zanu-PF: Unite or perish

Zanu-PF: Unite or perish Sarah Mahoka
Sarah Mahoka

Sarah Mahoka

Reason Wafawarova on Thursday

The Women’s League used to be the bastion of dignity, and respect, but now you have an unknown woman standing up to deride senior leaders in front of a multitude of followers.

Last week was eventful for ZANU-PF, starting with the comical show at the party headquarters where one Sarah Mahoka sought to challenge the party’s First Secretary as well as Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

She did not get a response, neither did she get any reprimand from the organisers of the event for her off protocol move. Rather, she got a smile and some nodding from Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who looked amused by the Hurungwe woman’s theatrics.

Mahoka went on to dare Vice President Mnangagwa to declare whether or not he had aspirations to become the President of Zimbabwe, expressing happiness that the other Vice President had already indicated that he did not have such ambitions.

Like President Mugabe, Vice President Mnangagwa maintained his cool and ignored Mahoka, who went on to utter one or two disguised insults in the direction of the VP.

The setting for all this was supposedly an appreciation rally in celebration of President’s sterling performance as the AU 2015 Chairman, as organised by the Women’s League in collaboration with the Commissariat Department.

But how do you celebrate your leader’s heroism by picking a fight with his long-serving lieutenant right in front of a rally of supporters without undermining the authority of the same leader?

Mahoka had a list of up to six questions for President Mugabe and his deputy Mnangagwa, and the questions had absolutely nothing to do with celebrating President Mugabe’s achievements at the AU.

There is no evidence Mahoka has an idea what the AU is, or does.

What we know for a fact is that here was a politician in charge of the Women’s League’s finances addressing the party in regards to the politics of succession. Only the commissar knows how the finance secretary in the league became the point person for political affairs at a platform pitting the entire Politburo, and hopefully an answer will be provided.

ZANU-PF is known to run on the “gwara remusangano” philosophy, or party protocol. This is the unity and cohesion that defines the identity of the party. But not anymore, not with the current disjointed outfit.

Now you have war veterans that can threaten to evict a member of the Politburo with little regard for the authority behind such a member’s appointment. You have youths that disregard the dignity and honour of the liberation legacy by deciding to go physical against war veterans who brought about the independence the youths seem to recklessly take for granted. And you have Politburo members that as excitable as to engage in puerile social media games in total disregard for the party’s policy and procedure diktats.

The Women’s League used to be the bastion of dignity, and respect, but now you have an unknown woman standing up to deride senior leaders in front of a multitude of followers.

Jonathan Moyo

Jonathan Moyo

We do not know what happened in the Politburo meeting after the ranting show fronted by the Hurungwe woman ended, except snippets given to us through Twitter by Professor Jonathan Moyo, a man who cannot keep anything inside his mind or heart.

What we know for a fact is that the Politburo meeting did not help unite the party after the Hurungwe woman derided the leadership in the name of celebrating the achievements of the President at the AU.

If anything, the aftermath of the Politburo came with the announcement of a rally in Chiweshe, attended in a suspicious pattern when one looks at the composition of the top leaders in attendance.

The rally did not exactly preach unity, as one would have expected. It gave a platform for unhelpful tribal utterances, divisive rhetoric, threats, excitable jingoism, and warnings to those reportedly angling to usurp the President’s powers.

Well, it is hard to hail a strategy of addressing national security matters through political rallies or the media. People using this strategy must just stop.

Matters of treason, treachery, mutiny and so on are high security matters best left to specialist security personnel.

In an interview granted to the BBC by Jonathan Moyo after the 2014 ZANU-PF Congress, the Tsholotsho MP told his interviewer that criminal allegations raised at political rallies are “just political banter”.

This would not be worrisome if Moyo was not actively involved in the planning and strategising that has given us these political banter gatherings.

Moyo does not have a very impressive history of loyalty to ZANU-PF. He reportedly deserted the war effort during the armed struggle, became a chief critic of ZANU-PF governance after independence, left the country to work with America’s Ford Foundation for a decade, charmed the party as its policy admirer in the 1999 constitution-making process, and vigorously defended the party’s policies between 2000 and 2004.

He then mistook the strength of his portfolio for his own, that way creating numerous enemies in the top leadership. He got kicked out of the party in 2005, resorted back to become the critic-in- chief of President Robert Mugabe and his party.

He then went into an unholy alliance with Tsvangirai’s MDC in 2008, won the Tsholotsho seat unchallenged by the opposition in the general election the same year, beating his ZANU-PF contestant.

Moyo then applied for readmission into ZANU-PF in October 2009. He was readmitted, after which he wrote in 2011 about the need for what he called “Generation 40” to take over ZANU-PF.

He helped in drafting the 2013 ZANU-PF election manifesto, got appointed Information Minister after the subsequent election victory. He brought in his own preferred staff in the public media, and was heavily criticised for that. Dogged by the highly criticised appointments, and also by the ill fate of his IMPI project, he eventually got reshuffled to the Higher Education Ministry.

He has gone on a warpath with war veterans, and has relentlessly attacked Vice President Mnangagwa on social media.

Now Moyo’s critics accuse him of fulfilling what he once suggested; that the best way to destroy ZANU-PF is to do it “from within”. He argues that he said “to reform”, not to destroy. But who reforms an institution from outside anyway? Did a whole professor need such tautology?

Moyo has allies in the political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao, and it seems the three are united by a shared distaste for VP Mnangagwa’s political career. It is not clear if the motivation for the distaste is a shared one, but what is clear is that the triumvirate has caused disunity in the revolutionary party.

The role of the Commissariat in any revolution is to mobilise and to unite the people. When the commissariat converts itself into a purging tool for a section of party membership the party cannot grow any stronger.

We had the laughable purging of a virtually unknown woman whose crime was said to be the chanting of an anti-G40 slogan. The pettiness of the matter was a serious indication of the deterioration in the revolutionary party, and unless President Mugabe intervenes immediately, the party is likely to degenerate like UNIP and KANU in Zambia and Kenya respectively.

We are told there are two factions branding themselves with regalia other than the official party outfit, and the two groups have had the audacity to don their rival labels openly at party functions.

If young people in ZANU-PF believe antagonising the veterans is the way to take the party into the future then there is a problem.

No one has the ability to relegate the power of history. President Mugabe comes from history, ZANU-PF comes from history, the revolution is rooted in history, and the future of ZANU-PF will only be shaped by its history – not by the short history of young people, some of whom now believe they can take over the party at the expense of its institutional memory.

That will not be allowed to happen, and this is for the simple reason that it plays so well into the regime change agenda – itself the grand destruction plan from the country’s known detractors.

We know who wants President Mugabe to die and go with the ZANU-PF ideology. We know who benefits most from the ultimate demise of ZANU-PF. We know who has lost most through the revolutionary ideology that shapes ZANU-PF policy.

Those who think the war veterans have diminished and can be discarded as a yesteryear force must reconsider this misguided view.

I come from the National Youth Service background, and I know that there are tens of thousands of youths out there who have embraced the ideology that shapes the thinking of our war veterans of today – the thinking that defines Zimbabwe’s national interest, its founding values and its principles. These young people can read a reactionary from a hundred miles.

Ideologically ZANU-PF has passed on the baton to the youth fairly well, and it is dangerous for anyone out there to imagine they can wake up with a reactionary leadership steering ZANU-PF away from its own foundations.

From where I stand the vanguard of the party will have to unite against the emerging reactionary forces, or the party will perish. Gladly the unity stands.

Anyone who wishes to set President Robert Mugabe against war veterans does not have love for the man. President Mugabe is defined in revolutionary terms; he is a product of the war of liberation.

He cannot be separated from himself, from his own identity, and from the people who make up the party he leads.

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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