ZANU PF Masvingo 2016 Congress starts, ‘Poison fear at dog eat dog circus’

ZANU PF’s 16th Annual National People’s Conference in Masvingo

Charles Mabhena

The much talked about ZANU PF’s 16th Annual National People’s Conference roles into action in Masvingo following a crunch politburo meeting held in Harare yesterday.

The Masvingo Congress starts amid reports of tight security as party rivals gather to chat the way forward.

The 2016 meeting was highly publicised as a dog eat dog circus, in the midst of growing tensions after Mugabe’s failure to deal with the factional wars on who will take over from him when he retires.

Some analysts have predicted major changes that would see the party become weaker and possible reshuffles after the conference, as they believe factional wars would rule the roost, more so after the its fallout with the war vets, who allegedly put it clear that they will snub the event. While others are of the notion that it would emerge stronger as some of the trouble causers would have been booted out, and may see the readmission of those who had been suspended.

As a sign of the simmering wars, yesterday morning Jonathan Moyo who was once the ‘Information Tsar’ took it to twitter to lambast what he termed successionists, twitter is now his favourite platform after finding it hard to use state media, which is now under the other faction’s control.

“Successionists wasting time plotting the downfall of individuals to capture power; will suffer real grief. Power comes from the people. Icho!,” he twitted. Moyo is believed to be one of the godfathers of the G40 faction, which is opposed to the Lacoste faction that is backing Mnangagwa’s ascendency.

According to Obert Gutu of MDC-T, ZANU PF wars have reached fever pitch to the extent that its senior members including its MPs and ministers may favour dining with members of opposition parties than their party colleagues.

“ZANU PF members no longer feel comfortable with their colleagues to the extent that they fear being poisoned by their party friends. During dinners or any other events where food is served they can move around with their cups in hand fearing being poisoned if one puts his or her cup down,” he said recently in an interview with Studio 7.

Gutu believes ZANU PF is fading owing to factionalism. “2018 will be a game changer. Zimbabwe will never be the same again. A lot of things are happening behind the scenes,” says Gutu.

However, contrary to this, some political analysts still believe ZANU PF has a stronger edge over the currently disjointed opposition.

According to a respected political analyst, Professor Eldred Masunungure the ruling party is organisationally, ideologically fitter, more coherent and at least rhetorically and intellectually better than its rivalries. He says though Mugabe’s succession could be potentially violent, but from the balance of forces ZANU PF will be in charge before and after elections. Masunungure says Mugabe rules not only through coercion but also through legitimisation. “ZANU PF is at its weakest but the difficulty is that its rivalries are even weaker, therefore the future is in its hands,” says the Professor.

He adds that the Zimbabwe is dominated by power politics, where search for power at any cost is the dominant imperative. “The opposition is hopelessly fragmented share little in terms of ideologies, but, have a common power agenda, marred by personal egos and jealousies,” he says.

Prof Masunungure’s comments seem to resonates with the current discord in the main opposition camp MDC-T.

The Herald reports that senior MDC-T members that include party Vice-President Thokozani Khupe. National chair Lovemore Moyo, and national organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe have boycotted a fundraising dinner that was meant to mobilise funds for Morgan Tsvangirai’s cancer treatment. According to the state owned publication, reliable party sources said Khupe and company were absent despite having had attended the National Budget presentation an hour before the dinner kicked off.

Khupe was billed to have given the opening remarks at the dinner, with Nelson Chamisa the other VP being given the honour to call the president (Tsvangirai) to the podium, and the third VP Elias Mudzuri was to give the vote of thanks.

It is believed the main MDC lost the Matebeleland support base after the elevation of Chamisa and Mudzuri into vice presidents’ positions, a move that angered Khupe’s supporters as they viewed it as tribalistic.