By Sij Ncube
Harare, July 12, 2016 – SIGNIFICANT political events have come to pass in the past week in President Robert Mugabe’s faction-riddled Zanu PF in what critics say have a bearing in the succession politics in his party.
Within seven days, Mugabe has suspended Attorney General Johannes Tomana for alleged abuse of office, fired fire-brand war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa together other perceived rogues in the party while he forgave others.
On Monday, the world collapsed around Zanu PF MP for Bikita West Munyaradzi Kereke, whose misfortunes have roots in Tomana’s own troubles.
Kereke spent his first day in the slammer on Monday night after being jailed for 10 years for allegedly raping a minor relative nearly six years ago.
However, debate rages as to whether this entire episode has any links to Zanu PF’s succession wars.
Kereke, a former advisor to the then governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gideon Gono, who has resisted conviction for the past five years or so, has widely been believed to belong to a Zanu PF faction linked to first vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The so-nicknamed “Team Lacoste” view Mnangagwa as the natural heir apparent to Mugabe, a charge Mugabe and other factions in Zanu PF vehemently resist, hence suspicions abound Kereke’s jailing Monday is linked to last week’s suspension of Tomana.
Both are said to have belonged to the “wrong political basket”.
Analysts see a political coincidence with the firing from Zanu PF the same week of Mutsvangwa who has had several run-ins with Mugabe and argue there is methodology in the proceedings in which Mugabe is seen using state and party institutions to flex his muscles as the only centre of power in Zanu PF.
The analysts claim the events of the past week have been choreographed by the willy Zanu PF leader to send a clear message. The buck stops with him.
There are allegations Tomana could have been complicit in the delayed prosecution of Kereke while Mutsvangwa has suffered collateral damage as his fate has coincided with the two events which have a huge impact on the Zanu PF succession imbroglio.
Reward Mushayabasa, a political commentator closely following political developments in Zimbabwe, says the events of the past few days serve as another salvo to those in the Mnangagwa faction who want to challenge Mugabe’s grip on power.
“They will suffer the same fate and there will be no ‘untouchables’ or ‘sacred cows’,” said Mushayabasa.
“The events once again serve to reaffirm that there is one centre of power within Zanu PF and that centre of power belongs to the Mugabe dynasty and thrives on a system of patronage. Anyone who challenges it certainly is doomed into political oblivion.”
Admore Tshuma, a transitional justice expert, believes it is the beginning of the end for Zanu PF.
Mugabe is seen content to use these incidents to nip dissent within his rank and file as it emerges fissures in Zanu PF are escalating.
Tshuma added: “The potential end of Zanu PF is political. The jailing of Kereke is typical of a troubled institution. They are most likely to disagree amongst themselves.”
The turmoil in the restive province of Masvingo is understood to have greatly unsettled him; a development critics say has been compounded by the general civil unrest in the country over bad governance and maladministration of the economy.