By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, February 20, 2016 – OPPOSITION People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti says President Robert Mugabe’s continued failure to manage his party’s succession question would see the party suffer the fate of some known nationalist parties on the African continent.
The former finance minister was speaking at a panel discussion in Harare Thursday evening.
Biti said Zanu PF’s current fissures that have seen factions tussling for control of the party ahead of the 92-year-old leader’s exit from politics were symptomatic of a party nearing its end.
The outspoken politician said Zanu PF was well on course into suffering the fate of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP and legendary Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People Party in Ghana.
The three liberation war movements lost power in their respective countries after their leaders were accused of clinging to power, corruption and visiting brutalities on the opposition.
“What we are seeing in Zanu PF is a state of decay, a state of decomposition. It is because they have failed to evolve and adapt. That’s why we don’t have UNIP, KANU; that’s why we don’t have Nkrumah’s party in Ghana,” Biti said.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party is caught up in a succession battle pitting two factions angling to succeed the old and frail President Robert Mugabe who has been in power for nearly 36 years.
While the parties have managed to camouflage their wars for some time, recent events have revealed frightening hatred among rival party members in what has culminated in summary suspensions on party rivals.
Police on Thursday were called to violently disperse hordes of war veterans sympathetic to ousted war veterans chairperson Chris Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa, who also doubles as war veterans minister, is a known ally to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa whose presidential ambitions are under a strong challenge from the so-called Generation 40.
G40 comprises a group of younger party politicians who prefer the First Lady, Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband.
Biti described this as a result of what he described as “tired nationalism” being pursued by President Mugabe.
“This is a critical juncture in our history because 36 years of independence is proving one truth, one theory correct, that nationalism particularly nationalism that does not evolve gets exhausted, gets tired and when it gets tired and fails to adapt to change, fails to transform itself, fails to evolve itself, it dies a natural death,” he said.
He added: “This death is not a revolution. This death comes in stages.
“What we are seeing in Zanu PF right now and in the nation state is a state of decay, a state of decomposition in the ruling Zanu PF. Precisely because the ruling national party has failed to adapt, has failed to revolve and change.
“And these nationalist parties die. That is why we do not have UNIP as I am speaking right now. It failed to evolve and adapt, it died a natural death. That’s why we don’t have KANU. We don’t have the party of President Nkrumah in Ghana because of this issue of failing to evolve and adapt.”
Biti said the current infighting among Zanu PF factions could plunge the whole country into civil war.
His co-panelist was former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo who went down memory lane and reminded the audience that he vouched for then Zanu secretary general, Mugabe to become party leader when the party was plunged into leadership crisis during the country’s liberation war.
Gumbo apologised for what he described as a mistake when fellow Zanu comrades were felt they could not have “this man” as their leader.