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Zanu PF splitting up?
Since last October,
plenty of column space has been devoted to the split in the MDC.
The subject has been debated and discussed ad nauseam in
the streets, on commuter omnibuses, and in the independent and government
press. Not surprisingly, the government mouthpieces, the Herald
and the Chronicle, have rapturously embraced this topic. Not surprising,
we say, because the split was assisted by Zanu PF and the CIO, and
has successfully diverted attention away from the shambles that
this country is in, courtesy of the regime's consistent failure
on all accounts. Zanu PF itself is riven by splits, as a careful
reading of the newspapers will show; how convenient for them to
be able to divert attention from their own splits by looking at
the rifts in the MDC!
So, in defiance
of their strategy, we draw our eyes away from the opposition, and
refocus on the ruling party, Zanu PF, the true cause of the country's
The cracks that
are apparent have appeared along three main fault lines: firstly,
the scapegoats or sacrificial lambs such as Christopher Kuruneri
and even Philip Chiyangwa; secondly, there is a strong link to the
succession debate as bigwigs jostle for the top job of President,
and their minions line up behind them; and thirdly, the inevitable
casualties from internecine warfare caused by personal ambition
and regional turf wars.
Kuruneri must be the shortest-lived Finance Minister ever: he was
appointed in February 2004, and just a couple of weeks thereafter
was arrested and charged with illegally exporting foreign currency,
under the Exchange Control Act. The media had a field day unearthing
various properties in South Africa purported to be owned by him,
including some palatial houses in Cape Town. He spent nearly 18
months behind bars and, in July 2005, was released from remand prison
and placed under 24 hour house arrest at his Glen Lorne home. His
trial was postponed indefinitely in September last year owing to
his poor health. He is also still awaiting sentence following his
conviction on a separate charge of breaching the Citizenship Act.
In view of the
known excesses and suspected misdemeanors of others in the Zanu
PF camp, why was Kuruneri selected for such treatment? The immediate
answer that comes to mind is that the ruling party wanted to be
seen to be acting to stamp out corruption, even within its own ranks.
Hence a scapegoat had to be found who, in biblical terminology,
would bear the punishment of many. By exposing one of their own,
and making him face the full wrath of the law, the regime could
claim that it was truly intent on defeating the Zimbabwean scourge
of corruption, and attempt to show the international community (not
least the IMF) that it was truly committed to this path. Such headline
news also provided - and this type of news continues to provide
- a welcome diversionary tactic from whatever else the regime wanted
to hide from the eyes of the public it is supposed to serve.
what appeared to be its initial role as a means to provide scapegoats,
the anti-corruption drive of the ruling party has gathered momentum
and is a useful means of publicly punishing those who might find
themselves out of favour with the power-brokers of the regime. It
is also a very effective way of reining in all Zanu bigwigs and
associates, using threats and fear to limit their power.
The man in charge
of all this, Paul Mangwana (Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies
Minister), said government had re-invigorated the anti-corruption
drive which would result in a number of high-profile personalities
being arraigned before the courts, no doubt instilling fear into
the hearts of many. It surely serves Mugabe's interests to keep
everyone on their toes, none too confident and all thoroughly subservient,
confirming the need to impose a unity of fear where there is no
Those who have
recently been punished include Bright Matonga (Deputy Information
Minister), Charles Nherera (Chairman of Zupco), John Bredenkamp
(controversial tycoon and long-time friend of Zanu PF) and Samuel
Muvuti (acting CEO of the GMB). Even Emmerson Mnangagwa, the one-time
heir apparent, has been under investigation.
and Charles Nherera were arrested in July this year on corruption
charges. The two are accused of having received USD10 000 each from
a Mr Jayesh Shah to enable Shah to supply Zupco (the state-run transport
company - and for "state" here, read "Zanu PF") with new busses.
Nherera has also just recently been convicted in another corruption
case involving soliciting a USD5 000 bribe for each bus supplied
to Zupco by Shah. Ruling party sources said the arrest of Matonga
had sent tremors through the Zanu PF establishment, indicating the
levels of fear among them and, as evidence of the spreading net,
the lawyers of the accused have asked Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
to specify and investigate Shah, the state's key witness in both
their cases. This comes 2 weeks after the lawyer issued an ultimatum
to the Attorney General's office demanding an explanation as to
why Shah was granted immunity from prosecution in the graft case,
and asking the question: "…why is Mr Shah an apparent sacred cow?"
the acting CEO of the Grain Marketing Board parastatal (GMB) was
arrested in August and charged under the country's Prevention of
Corruption Act. He is alleged to have used workers from the grain
company to work on his private farm in northern Zimbabwe. Nelson
Chamisa, the spokesman for the MDC (Tsvangirai) said the arrest
of Muvuti confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that the ruling Zanu
PF party was the "breeding ground of corruption" and unbridled political
MDC believes that his arrest is a token attempt by a cornered regime
to be seen to be taking action on a serious scourge that has taken
root in the higher echelons of Zanu PF and the government… Muvuti
and …Nherera are just but small fish in a bigger pond replete with
corrupt sharks and tigers… A genuine commitment to arrest unbridled
corruption would basically mean this regime would have to incarcerate
On that same
subject, we think too of the use of huge numbers of civil servants
and other government employees working on Mugabe's various farms,
courtesy of Minister Made (as ever out to ingratiate himself with
his patron). How does this regime have the temerity to charge Muvuti
for offences which the dictator brazenly commits on a grand scale
and without any questions raised?
wisdom has it that the two principal contenders for the top job
were Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru, but a third has lately joined the
fray: Gideon Gono.
Until the end
of 2004, the heir-apparent to the Mugabe throne was Emmerson Mnangagwa
- that is to say, in Mugabe's eyes, he was heir-apparent; he had
many fellow contenders, but none appeared to have won Mugabe's favour
in the same way. That all changed with what has now become known
as the Tsholotsho Declaration, where dissenting heavy-weights like
Mnangagwa, Jonathan Moyo and 6 provincial chairpersons were flushed
out, caught in an apparent plot to orchestrate Mugabe's stepping
down from power, and a new person stepping in.
until four years ago, the holder of the keys to Zanu PF's business
empire, but has since been replaced. Tied in to the anti-corruption
drive is what is seen as a mission to push this man, the former
Secretary for Administration, out of Zanu PF's succession stakes.
Internal and external audits into Zanu PF companies have been threatened,
as one of the main bases for the fresh blitz on corruption. John
Bredenkamp has also been targeted and recently arrested but subsequently
acquitted on charges of holding two passports - he was cited as
a financier of his erstwhile ally Mnangagwa in a report allegedly
compiled for Mugabe by former State Security Minister Nicholas Goche
in the wake of the November 2004 Tsholotsho meeting. It was alleged
that he had provided billions of dollars to fund Mnangagwa's campaign
to become vice-president and eventually to succeed Mugabe. Bredenkamp
has denied the claims but senior Zanu PF officials, in particular
the faction led by retired army commander, General Solomon Mujuru,
continue to view him with suspicion.
The media reports
that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono also has
presidential aspirations. Until quite recently just a prominent
banker, Gono has risen to power as head of the RBZ and clearly someone
close to the ear of Mugabe. It is reported that Gono has provoked
a storm of anger in ruling Zanu PF circles, not only angling for
the presidency, but also taking upon himself powers beyond those
normally given to the head of a country's central bank, and straying
into the domain of fiscal, rather than purely monetary, policies.
Whatever Gono's credentials as Governor of the RBZ, his most striking
feature observed by ordinary Zimbabweans is his total subservience
to Mugabe and his political agenda - a banker therefore trying to
do the impossible, and not having the courage to confront the main
cause of the country's economic plight.
The Mujuru camp
is said to be seething with anger at Gono over the new currency
and has vowed to fight him to the end; they have also complained
that Gono has been attacking their business interests by closing
banks and companies. Just after the new currency was introduced,
a group of angry ministers was apparently heard at a local restaurant
in the Avenues, saying "Gono has gone too far and must be stopped
now!" They were enraged because as members of cabinet they were
not aware that new bearers cheques were being introduced on the
Tuesday, the same day that cabinet meets, and when Gono announced
the issue in Parliament, ministers appeared shocked. It appears
that only Mugabe and the army and CIO knew about this in advance,
which was seen by Zanu PF members as an indication that Gono had
become embedded with Mugabe, and with state security and the army
- widely seen in ruling party ranks as the building blocks to power.
Interestingly, Gono remarked at a public meeting in Bulawayo, shortly
after the launch of the new currency, that he would not be intimidated
by people brandishing liberation war credentials, a statement seen
as targeted directly at the Mujuru camp.
Gono has not
endeared himself either to Herbert Murerwa: not even Murerwa, the
Finance Minister, had been consulted in advance on the new currency
initiative! Mutumna Mawere, a now-exiled top Zimbabwean businessman,
comments: "Through a combination of patronage and intimidation,
Gono is now a feared man in Zimbabwe. He is effectively the CEO
of Zimbabwe Inc. and has effective control of the state machinery
and anyone who dares challenge him risks a lot".
Vice-President Joice Mujuru appeared to be the front-runner in the
succession stakes, it now appears that her plans have been torpedoed
by her rivals: Mnangagwa and Gono. Even her own husband now appears
to concede that she does not have what it takes to run the country
and Zanu PF.
The issue of
who is to succeed Mugabe is clearly causing mighty divisions within
the party, although one commentator noted that to expect Mugabe's
voluntary retirement is day-dreaming, when he no longer trusts anyone.
As The Standard newspaper reported at the beginning of September,
"the false ray of hope created by misguided reports on Mugabe encouraging
Zanu PF members to discuss his succession should be contextualized;
those who dared to democratically influence the composition of the
presidium were humiliated, sacked, demoted, managed, jailed and
forgotten. Ask Prof Jonathan Moyo." In the meantime, the party is
splitting along its main fault lines.
ambitions and turf wars
is a dirty game for the unscrupulous. It is therefore a good place
to get even with one's enemy; certainly a good opportunity to wash
someone else's dirty linen in a public place.
most bizarre and unlikely of all the divisions emerging in the ruling
party is that public example currently being made of Patrick Chinamasa,
the Minister of Justice. Rather, as with Mnangagwa, it would have
seemed inconceivable a few short years ago for someone so close
to Mugabe to be allowed to be taken to court. Justice simply would
not have prevailed, and any valid legal case would have been dropped
quietly; it follows then, that the court case against Chinamasa
has almost certainly been sanctioned by the top man himself.
been brought to court in a complicated legal case, or rather series
of cases. The background is as follows: James Kaunye, a war veteran,
himself facing attempted murder charges, brought a charge against
the supporters of Didymus Mutasa (National Security and Land Reform
Minister), accusing those supporters of attacking him to try to
stop him from running against Mutasa in the Zanu PF primary elections;
those supporters have since been convicted of this crime; Chinamasa
has now been charged by the state ("the state" - note carefully!)
of trying to get Kaunye to withdraw the charges against Mutasa's
supporters, promising him a senatorial seat if he did not challenge
An added twist
to the already complicated tale is that magistrates in Rusape refused
to preside over Patrick Chinamasa's trial, alleging that Mutasa
had accused them of being MDC members!
acquitted in early September after the court ruled that the state
had dismally failed to prove a prima-facie case against him. However
appeal papers have now been filed at the High Court, as the Attorney
General claims that the lower court had erred in its judgement.
Interestingly, after his acquittal, Chinamasa spoke to journalists
and said that the motive of his prosecution was to humiliate and
embarrass him and to cause him to be kicked out of the system. Clearly
Chinamasa has fallen from grace. Not only so, but for reasons best
known to themselves, those who wield effective power under Mugabe
are clearly determined to fix him.
All sorts of
other ministers, senators and Zanu PF followers have also been reported
as being at loggerheads with each other, often in petty personal
or regional vendettas. These don't have the national implications
of, say, the succession debate, but they do portray a party which
is hopelessly divided. Such an outcome is hardly surprising, given
that ZANU PF has no other real core convictions now, apart from
the frenzied desire to stay in power and to plunder whatever national
resources remain: the only unity possible is that imposed by the
Godfather over the Mafia.
the regional infighting detailed earlier in this article concerning
Bright Matonga and the Zupco chairman, Nherera, which has its roots
in the Mashonaland West power struggles. Matonga is involved in
a fight for land with farmer Tom Beattie, a self-confessed financier
of the ruling party; it seems that senior Zanu PF officials in the
province had sided with Beattie in the struggle, and "Matonga is
paying the price", we are told.
in Mashonaland West, Hurungwe West MP Cecilia Dausi Gwachiwa has
been suspended, as she is suspected of cohabiting with a suspected
MDC sympathizer - the newspapers have had fun with this one! The
provincial executive, led by John Mafa, is seeking her ouster from
the ruling party, but it seems that tribalism and regionalism were
behind Gwachiwa's ordeal, as she is viewed as an outsider, coming
originally from Manicaland. Heavily armed security agents have also
stormed her government-allocated farm allegedly in search of weapons.
Constituency members say that the incident was indicative of how
the Zanu PF leadership in Mashonaland West was determined to kick
Gwachiwa out of the party by raising "petty" personal issues against
have the long-standing regional turf war being played out in the
City of Harare, where the residents are the only losers, and there
are no winners. Zanu PF's Harare province Secretary for Information
and Publicity is reported as saying that there was concern among
party members over Chombo's continued appointment of people from
Mashonaland West to the commission running the affairs of the City
of Harare; Chombo is the Minister for Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing. There has been a recent, unprecedented, outburst
from the Zanu PF executive in the capital, condemning Makwavarara's
administration at Town House (she crossed the floor twice - once
from Zanu PF to the MDC, and then back again, and has been put in
charge of the interim commission appointed to run the City of Harare
following the ouster of the MDC mayor). Zanu PF central committee
members in Harare have publicly given her a vote of no confidence,
but further action against her has been forestalled by Chombo's
dogged defence of her and the party's concerns over an all-out war.
The powers that be in the Harare province of the ruling party believe
that Makwavarara does not have the capacity to turn around the fortunes
of the city, once dubbed Sunshine City.
It is reported
to be Zanu PF politburo member Tendai Savanhu (believed to harbour
ambitions to run the affairs of the city himself), versus Makwavarara
and Chombo. Savanhu appears to be the force behind the Zanu PF faction
baying for the lady's blood.
The crux of
the matter is in this: Zanu PF Harare province has said that the
continued extension of the Makwavarara commission's term would jeopardize
the ruling party's chances of making an impact in any election in
Harare. Now that is something of great concern to Zanu PF, who are
determined not to relinquish power for fear of the benefits they
will lose, and for fear that their past sins will be uncovered by
a new regime. "Makwavarara's case is being discussed in the highest
echelons of Zanu PF….", we're told - we can believe it!
And not to be
outdone, Matabeleland has its fair share of regional infighting
too. Andrew Langa (the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism,
and MP for Insiza) has reported his Zanu PF colleague Sithembiso
Nyoni to the Police (Nyoni is the Minister of Small and Medium-Scale
Enterprises and Development - the one who can't seem to win any
election of her own). Langa alleges that Nyoni threatened him on
the phone following a farmers' meeting in Fort Rixon to discuss
stock theft. At that meeting, Langa apparently told the farmers
that senior politicians in the area were behind the stock thefts,
but did not mention any names; Nyoni saw this as a personal attack,
and thence followed the phone call leading to the charge against
And party members
from the Women's League demonstrated against the MP for Bubi Umguza,
Obert Mpofu, on allegations of untoward behaviour against the party
members and leadership. Only the Zanu PF National Chairman, John
Nkomo, seems to have seen the light, calling for unity of purpose
among party members and the leadership in Matabeleland North province,
and urging them to desist from gossip which is threatening to destroy
do we make of all of this?
are indeed implications in all of this for both the party and for
individuals within the party (including, of course, Mugabe).
above, the only voice of reason (looking at it from the Zanu PF
side) appears to be John Nkomo. Interviewed recently in the government
paper, The Sunday News, Nkomo called on the party to remain united
at all times, following with the warning:
"…but as we
pursue this spirit of openness, let us do so in the spirit of building
the party, our party. Let it be constructive criticism. I am against
rumour-mongers. There are some of the people [sic] who peddle lies
and in so doing contribute toward the disintegration of the party….Mind
you, those calling for the regime change are looking at the cracks
that could be coming up. Let us make sure that no cracks come in
to divide us. Let us be one, but there must be openness among party
members. Nobody is bigger than the party."
This is the
party that got its biggest fright ever in the 2000 Parliamentary
Elections, where the opposition MDC gained 57 of the 120 elected
seats - an unprecedented challenge to a party that has been largely
unopposed since Independence in 1980. Despite its impressive wins,
the MDC was cheated, as the regime rigged the results not only in
this election, but also in the 2002 Presidential Election and again
in the 2005 Parliamentary Election. Had they been free and fair,
and that means a free and fair environment too, Zanu PF did not
have any hope of winning any of these elections. It simply does
not have the support of the people any longer. And the wise among
them know this.
So the cracks,
yea rifts, that are appearing in the regime are vigorously ringing
the alarm bells in the corridors of power. How long can a party
which is riven by in-fighting go on?
Zanu PF as we
have known it for the last 26 years is busy imploding.
does not have a future - he is a pathetic old man, rattling on about
liberation politics and the conspiracies of the West. It is time
for him to step down, but his party is not yet clear on who should
most important evidence of the deep cancer within Zanu PF's body
politic came a few weeks ago when the Zanu PF Secretary for Information
Nathan Shamuyarira announced that plans were being considered for
Mugabe's term to be extended from 2008 to 2010. Within days Mutasa
debunked that idea and said there were no such plans. Shamuyarira
was then forced to try to save face by saying he was "misquoted"
- that wonderful hiding place politicians try to use when they have
been publicly humiliated.
Let us make
the point that there can be no greater crisis within any political
party than a disagreement over how long a party leader should remain
in office. One just has to look at the furor created in Britain
over when Tony Blair will stand down to see what divisions such
a debate can cause within a political party. But of course that
has happened in the Labour Party, a party which for all its faults
does not settle its differences using AK 47s.
Zanu PF on the
other hand has a long history of settling its internal problems
and political contestations violently. The stakes are now very high
because there is clearly a fundamental disagreement as to when Mugabe
himself should go. Clearly some want his term to end in 2008 whereas
others want him to continue until 2010.
It is not fanciful
to speculate that it is the Mujuru faction which is happy for Mugabe's
term to be extended for it is that faction that needs more time
now that Joice Mujuru hasn't worked out as they had hoped. They
are the ones that need more time to get an acceptable candidate
in place. On the other hand Mnangagwa appears to be gaining the
upper hand within Zanu PF and his faction are clearly happy to see
the back of Mugabe by 2008 so that Mnangagwa can contest for the
leadership of Zanu PF and the presidency of Zimbabwe.
to be pulling out all the stops - the recent reports that he is
behind the arrests of businessmen (thus further harming the economy)
and the evictions of productive farmers in Chipinge and Kwe Kwe
(also further damaging the economy) indicate that he is doing all
he can to undermine Joice Mujuru's efforts to resuscitate the economy.
That, although despicable, is politically understandable, because
if Mrs Mujuru manages to stabilise the economy prior to her run
for the top job in 2008 her chances of succeeding will be greater.
However, and conversely, if during her "watch" the economy continues
to crumble, that will enhance Mnangagwa's claim that he is the only
Zanu PF leader who has the business acumen to turn the country around.
But all of this
is of course a high risk strategy. One cannot help but think of
all the frantic maneuvering of the Nazis in the final days of the
Third Reich. Himmler, Goebels and Bormann were consumed with jealousy
in Hitler's final days over the question of who would succeed Hitler
and lead the "next Nazi government". These power struggles took
place as late as April 1945 when Russian tanks were only a few blocks
away from the Fuhrer bunker. To all objective observers the power
struggle was an absolutely pointless exercise as there was no possibility
that the Nazis would survive the Allied onslaught - but jostle for
power they did even in the final days.
in Harare may not have Russian tanks anywhere in its vicinity but
there are other hostile tanks around - such as inflation, economic
collapse and the mounting anger of the people. The days of this
regime are numbered and the increasing infighting within Zanu PF
is the surest sign of its impending collapse.
As for the country,
the divisions and splits can only be good news, presaging the end
of a regime which has dealt out death and destruction - quite literally
- to millions. Its demise cannot come too soon. If there is to be
any hope of beginning to repair the terrible damage that Zanu PF
has inflicted upon Zimbabwe there must be fresh elections, held
soon and under credible international supervision, to ensure that
the people of Zimbabwe, as distinct from a privileged clique of
discredited politicians, can pass their (long delayed) judgment
on this delinquent regime and usher in an altogether new dispensation
based on justice and the rule of law.
We hope that
a time will come in the not too distant future, when we can go to
the polls again; not amidst violence and intimidation and cheating,
but peacefully, and supervised by impartial, international observers.
We need democracy,
and the demise of the present Zanu PF power structure is a pre-requisite
for that fundamental shift.
We need an end
to Zanu PF as we know it. We need peace, stability and prosperity.
Let us work together to make this happen. Viva Zimbabwe!
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