By Prince Tongogara
A new political trend is emerging in Zanu PF since 2013 general elections. The party’s control and leadership is steadily going into the hands of a few families, the top leadership, and they have not hesitated to use their influence to create dynasties.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December rose to the party and state’s second in command after the contentious 6th Zanu PF congress where President Robert Mugabe was given imperial powers to appoint his deputies and the party’s politburo.
Mnangagwa has not wasted anytime to start building his empire based on his newly acquired powers. His elevation to office of vice-president caused him to cease being an MP for Chirimanzi-Zibabgwe constituency necessitating a by-election.
A record ten party members expressed their interest to contest in the internal primaries but strategically withdrew when Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxillia, entered the race. Auxillia was recently confirmed as the party’s candidate after all withdrew without giving reasons giving rise to speculation that they were concerned not to be seen as antagonistic to the vice-president who for now is leading candidate to succeed Mugabe.
Auxillia told the media that she was grateful for the respect shown by the candidates who withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour.
This statement can be read to mean certain pressure was applied to the candidates to withdraw or they were promised some future political favours for their loyalty.
Speculation in the party circles is high that Mnangagwa’s eldest son Emmerson Jnr is also ready to enter the political fray as a candidate in Kwekwe if the factional purging continues.He had earlier been tipped to take over from his father.
This trend is not unique to Mnangagwa as he seems to have learnt from his mentor Mugabe himself that you can pull strings without seeming to. Mugabe since 2000 has encouraged and abetted his relatives to contest for political power.
At one point he had four relatives in parliament namely sister Sabina, nephews Leo Mugabe and Patrick Zhuwao and Phillip Chiyangwa.
Mugabe in the run up to the 6th Congress encouraged and supported his wife, Grace, to be the party’s women’s league boss. Once Grace’s candidature was announced, all the party structures and senior leadership stampeded each other to endorse her.
Former Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu at the last general election maneuvered his wife Constance to be elected on the party’s proportional representation ticket.
The trend was also seen in Matabeleland North where Obert Mpofu and wife are now MPs for the province. Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and his wife Tambudzai have both been Beitbridge legislators of the upper and lower houses for some time.
However, the emerging dynastic politics remains worrying as strong families start to choose one of their own succeed their seats. Tsitsi Gezi, widow of the late hero Border Gezi is now in parliament so are late vice president Simon Muzenda’s children Tongai and Tsitsi who also got ministerial positions.
Mike Gava was allowed to succeed her late mother Ratidzo as an MP for Mhondoro constituency. Others like Tabitha Kanengoni-Malinga deputy minister of youth, Albert Mugabe chairperson of Zinara come from a background where their parents were very close to the ruling establishment.
Based on the aforementioned facts, it can be concluded that a proper elite ruling class is emerging in the country on the basis of lineage and not ability and competence. This development has been further spurred by the new Zanu PF constitution that makes ascendancy to higher offices is by appointment and hence does not encourage debate or open contestation for power.