ZIMBABWE’s party-state conflation and its attendant dangers have never been as evident as it is now. Over the years, Zanu PF have done a good job making sure that their party Zanu PF is synonymous with and conflated to the state.
It is trite that politburo decisions supersede cabinet decisions. In other terms, Zanu PF and its s leadership have become the state and the state a captive of Zanu PF whims and caprices. This has elevated Zanu PF to more than being just a ruling party.
Indeed Zanu PF has become the state and the state Zanu PF. Thus the leaders of Zanu PF are also the leaders and commandeers of the state.
Equally captured are key institutions of government and civil service including but not limited to the police, army, intelligence, statistical offices, electoral bodies and many others.
This makes the current Zanu PF dynamics very significant for the country and its future.
Thus the current succession heatwave that has gripped Zanu PF since the unceremonious departure of Joyce Mujuru and her allies has equally affected the country as a whole. After the ouster of Joyce Mujuru, there was a sense that President Mugabe had finally chosen his successor, a perception which Jonathan Moyo was quick to dismiss.
What has not been clear is whether Jonathan Moyo’s dismissal of Emmerson Mngangagwa as Mugabe’s successor was a personal opinion or both a party and government position. Neither President Mugabe nor any other officials have buttressed or refuted Moyo’s rather candid assertions.
What is certain though is that Moyo has enjoyed some impunity and even scaled up his public disdain and undermining of Zanu PF and government’s supposedly second in command and possible the next occupant of the highest office in the land.
The crusade to undermine Mngangagwa took a sharp turn when it was joined by Saviour Kasukuwere and other powerful and viciously ambitious young Turks who have cometo be known as the G40.
The main strength of this group is their proximity to, and influence over the all powerful first lady Grace Mugabe who now appears to be the defacto President and now seeking to make this position dejure. There are many theories why the gang of G40 is operating under the big skirts.
The first and least likely is that they are being used by Grace Mugabe with her husband’s tacit approval .
The second is that instead the G40 is using Grace to get power for themselves. This theory follows the simple notion that Grace would be a weaker opponent to Emmerson Mngangagwa in the post Mugabe era and therefore much more easier to get rid of.
The main question is whether Mugabe initially genuinely intended to appoint Mngangagwa as his successor and if so why the sudden change or lack of clarity. There are a number of issues that seem to be at play. The first one is an ethnical one which historically has played a key role in the Zanu PF internal matrix.
The power dynamics have always and continue to exhibit a delicate negotiation and balancing of the various tribal and ethnical groupings within the party and indeed in key government positions. To date, one of the two vice presidents ought to be a Ndebele as part of their internal Memorandum Of Understanding.
With Jonathan Moyo providing the vital and much needed intellect,the G40 gang has been quick to pick on this and perhaps try to convince Robert Mugabe to nominate someone from his Zezuru clan, which also appears to be the core of the majority of G40 members.
A couple of names have popped up such as Grace herself, Saviour Kasukuwere, Gideon Gono and two dark horses Sydney Sekeramai and army commander Dr. Constantine Chiwenga.
Meanwhile Mngangagwa seems to enjoy very limited support from the three Mashonaland provinces and Harare the four of which are predominantly zezuru. In 2004 for example, in the race to ascend to the vice presidency, Joyce Mujuru, a Zezuru from Mashonaland central had secured nominations from all the above four provinces and Emmerson Mngangagwa had secured the remaining six with Masvingo and Midlands provinces being his core sponsors.
Masvingo and to some extent Midlands is predominantly Karanga, a group to which Mngangagwa proudly belongs. This enthic and tribal consideration appears to have cascaded down to opposition parties as well as to citizens in their individual capacities. I personally know a lot of people who support leaders merely on the basis of these tribal factors. The race to succeed Mugabe has been marred by the tribal card and the G40 seems intend to use this to convince the president to dump Mngangagwa for a Zezuru candidate.
The second major factor at play is the trust issue. The President has never been known to to trust nobody let alone with the highest office in the land and with protecting his family and their interests when he is no longer there.
This has played a major part in the fierce battle to win the succession race from the king and kingmaker Mugabe. There is a stampede to loyalty and allegiance to him by the groups in the succession race .
Short of saying and I am related to the president decades before even Grace knew him Mnagwagwa has be laboured to drive this point home, articulating his timeless, infinite and unshakeable loyalty and allegiance to his Excellency. Indeed the he has served the president with distinction in the afore mentioned aspects.
Although the 2004 Tsholotsho Indaba dented him slightly, he was still able to prove that when push comes to shove he would stand by his long time boss and mentor.
While addressing Zanu-PF supporters in Headlands, he revealed that it was him, who after Mugabe’s defeat in the 2008 elections, by then opposition stalwart Morgan Tsvangirai, when many of Mugabe’s comrades had retreated to their rural sanctuaries, the he alerted Mugabe of a constitutional technicality that could prevent Tsvangirai from taking over power.
Moyo perhaps more than any other knows all too well the capacity of the appointer to disappoint as he learnt the hard way after the Tsholotsho indaba. The Tsholotsho indaba itself provides a good insight into the frosty relations between Moyo and Mngangagwa. But in addition to their 2004 fallout, Moyo feels further betrayed by Mngangagwa in the post 2014 congress. After all the hard fight that Moyo put up presumably to place Mngangagwa in the best position to succeed Mugabe, he was appointed a mere secretary for ICT in the politburo and later removed from his favourite ministry of information which he had used effectively to project his own agendas. All this appears to be at the instigation and agreement of Mngangagwa with the President.
The recent reshuffles reflect a strong Ngwena influence including the slashing of Kasukuwere functions on his local government ministry,significantly the removal of chiefs who are perceived to be key gatekeepers in the rural areas to a new ministry altogether entrusted with Abdenico Ncube Mnagangwa’s key ally. As the succession heatwave reaches blast furnace temperatures, it is clear that the ethnic and trust issues, in addition to holding the party together have become Mugabe s key dilemmas. The ability to hold the party together is very critical as it would make no sense to try and protect Mugabe’s legacy and family interests by condemning Zanu PF to the doldrums of opposition politics through either picking a wrong candidate or allowing the party to disintegrate to the point of losing its cohesive ability in itself and over state organs to prevent the opposition from taking over power. The curious issue that stand to be seen is Grace and Mngangagwa relationship.
Promise Mkwananzi is a political analyst based in Bulawayo and the views expressed in this article do not in anyway reflect the news website ‘s editorial policy but are entirely the author’s individual opinion