President Robert Mugabe’s failure to work out a clear succession plan in Zanu PF is to blame for the factionalism tearing the party, analysts have said.
Zanu PF has been gripped by infighting among rival factions led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The infighting within Zanu PF reached new highs when First Lady Grace Mugabe went on an offensive by saying Mujuru was unfit to occupy the Vice Presidency, alleging she was corrupt and plotting to oust Mugabe.
Political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza said Zanu PF was at war because Mugabe failed to work out his succession plan and had remained in power for too long.
“The way he is standing by his wife or trying to retain power shows that he is the most unpopular person,” Mandaza said.
“As we are, Mujuru is the most popular person in the country now. It goes back to the death of her husband Solomon Mujuru and the public turnout at the Heroes Acre will tell you that the public was angry at his death and that was sort of an endorsement of Joice as the next leader.”
Mandaza said “nothing can happen in this country until Mugabe goes, everybody is tired of Mugabe and he should have left a long time ago”.
Mandaza said those who were baying for Mujuru’s blood were not any better as they were also anti-Mugabe.
“They are all pledging loyalty but they don’t like him at all too,” he said.
Mandaza said Mugabe had created a negative perception domestically and internationally and his supporters appeared to be blind and oblivious to that.
He said Mugabe had defied the national mood which wanted him to leave office back in the 90s. He also defied the region, Mandaza said.
Mugabe is Africa’s oldest and one of the longest serving Presidents since coming to power 34 years ago.
Mandaza said the factional fights were secondary and as long as Mugabe was there, “there will always be a problem, and Mnangagwa knows that too”.
Another analyst Charles Mangongera concurred with Mandaza, adding that Mugabe was selfish and putting his own interests and that of his family first.
He said Mugabe was “even prepared to see a whole liberation movement being decimated by factional fights”.
“He is 90 and still wants to be seen as the most intelligent person in the party. He doesn’t want to see anyone with ambition succeed him. It’s regrettable and I don’t know if he ever looks around him, around the region. They have all had leadership succession but he is the only one who hasn’t been succeeded,” Mangongera said.
He accused Mugabe of propping up a faction and then crushing it when it threatened his interests.
“One thing that unsettles Mugabe is being told that someone wants to topple you and that is what the other faction has just done; that is why Mugabe is behaving like this.”
Another analyst who declined to be named said Mugabe had few supporters in the party.
“Everyone is against all that is happening in the Zanu PF party. Mugabe knows that many people in his party want him to go but he is still clinging on to power,” she said.
Sources within Zanu PF say Mujuru fell out of favour with Mugabe because of what they termed “soft spot for the West”.
“There is one thing that can never be traded for in this country and it is the revolution of this country. We do not want to go back to the pre-independence era and there is a feeling that if Mujuru takes over, that will take us back there because of her close ties with the Americans,” the source said.
Mujuru’s alleged ties with the West were revealed in the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks cables which suggested she clandestinely met with former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray “under cover of darkness” on December 6 2009, after dodging her security and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
The whistleblower website also exposed that other senior Zanu PF officials such as Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo
and his Environment, Water and Climate counterpart Saviour Kasukuwere met with officials from the US Embassy.