Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe is a totally confused and tormented man today – close to virtual insanity.
On Thursday Mugabe, in typical hallucinatory fashion, claimed at the Zanu PF Women’s League congress, that him and all the others in the party’s top leadership should resign at the December congress.
Some, probably who don’t clearly understand Mugabe, took him seriously. I knew right there that the old man was firing into the bush – or letting off hallucinations. The following day Mugabe was all smiles and waving clenched fists, after the women’s group had purportedly ‘endorsed’ him to be the Zanu PF presidential ‘candidate for the 2018 elections’.
That was that, the previous day’s claim, or pledge, or resolution to ‘step down’ in December had just vanished into oblivion, within a mere 24 hours. Such confusion and utter contradiction is wholly symbolic and emblematic of the situation that Mugabe is presiding over in Zanu PF today.
It is a permanent component of the sum total of the myriad forms of chaos and political drama playing out in Zanu PF. At the core of it all is Mugabe’s plunge into a serious disaster over the Zanu PF leadership, or succession fix. The old man is in trouble, because his plan and desires are in disarray.
In fact, he is in the danger of both being condemned to an inglorious end to his long political career and humiliated – by his own system. And, in my view, the source of that is Mugabe’s deputy Joice Mujuru.
Here is how and why
After being propelled to starve off the plot of Emmerson Mnangagwa and take over as the Zanu PF vice presidency in 2004, Mujuru went on to do what is anathema to Mugabe’s vision and desires.
Mujuru seized the opportunity and worked on establishing, in reality, her camp within Zanu PF, to effectively exist and gradually, as well as meticulously, scheme to take over power.
Whatever forms of camps that had existed hitherto, were largely cosmetic and symbolic, without any real effect and threat to Mugabe. That includes the Mnangagwa camp, which had largely been a loose network, lacking enough conviction – the reason why its 2004 Tsholotsho plot was easily, and effectively crushed.
That was the trend with whatever camps existed in Zanu PF. I remember the years we spent a lot of time writing about the Solomon Mujuru or Zvobgo camps, but which would prove to be non-effective or not influential when it came to the real power games and dynamics in Zanu PF.
That way, Mugabe always managed to keep everyone at bay and further his political scheme of suppressing any attempt to manouevre on the succession issue. He succeeded in isolating or crushing ambitious individuals, who, at the most, would eventually be forced out and many tried to form their own parties.
Examples go back to Edgar Tekere, Enock Dumbutshena, Margaret Dongo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Daniel Shumba and Simba Makoni. Mugabe, l have no doubt now, always wanted to stay put until the end of his life and without any threat to his power. He still has the same plans and desires today.
The Mnangagwa camp was effectively dealt with after the Tsholotsho debacle and forced to retreat into its cocoons or ‘repent’ for the larger part until recently. In fact, it became a pliable tool of Mugabe whenever he needed it and deliberately avoided causing a threat to him.
That gave an upper hand to the Mujuru camp, which went down to work on the ground, in the opposite direction. Mujuru, in collaboration with very subtle, crafty and effective members of her camp, quietly and gradually laid down a plan over the years, that has plunged Mugabe in trouble.
The Mujuru camp meticulously worked right from the lowest levels, to take over structures and members into their camp. They, very significantly, made progress and the main objective was always aim at ultimate power take-over, from Mugabe, at whatever juncture and under whatever ripe circumstances.
It is part of that project by the Mujuru camp, which posed serious problems for Mugabe in 2008 elections, of the ‘Bhora Musango’ strategy, which contributed to Mugabe being defeated by MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Individuals such as Ray Kaukonde, a Mujuru camp stalwart, were later discovered by Mugabe as having been behind the ‘Bhora Musango’ game of 2008.
Fast forward to today, the reality on the ground shows that the Mujuru camp is in virtual control of key organs and structures of the Zanu PE party, save for the women’s group. The Mujuru camp overturned the 2004 situation and now has the backing of more provinces than the Mnangagwa faction.
The Mujuru camp is in strong position to take over and seal off the party’s presidium structure. Mujuru has done her work thoroughly and effectively to the extent that Mugabe has now realised he is in trouble.
The Mnangagwa faction is defeated all systems out in the power battle, by the Mujuru camp, whose guns now target Robert Mugabe – because, one way or the other, the push may just come to shove in the succession matrix.
The growing succession sentiment, discourse and chaos has made Mugabe assess the situation, upon which he must have shrank with horror, at realising the Mujuru camp has taken over the party. That leaves Mugabe, certainly, unsure about his hold on power and security of his plan to die in office.
He must have reminisced at the previous close escapes, such as the 2008 ‘Bhora Musango’ plot, and hence jumped into swift action. Mugabe has sprung into battle and teamed up now with the Mnangagwa faction to take on the Mujuru camp in what l view to be breaking point for Zanu PF.
He, very desperately, has been resorting to anything available, from throwing his wife into the ring, to trying and abuse his son by railroading him and plunging him into the deep end. The Mnangagwa faction has become invigorated and inspired to be the trojan horse of Mugabe’s desperate fight.
At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Mnangagwa group to regain ground on the Mujuru faction and attempt dismantling its unassailable lead. But, the real game now is between Mugabe and Mujuru, for which the stakes are extremely high and options significantly narrowed to very delicate levels.
Source: Nehanda Radio (Written by: Itai Dzamara)