ZANU-PF infighting weighing down Zim
THE incessant factional fights raging within President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party are becoming increasingly costly to the already struggling country in terms of financial resources, investor confidence, policy consistency as well as lost time and opportunities, analysts warned this week.
The analysts say the conflation between the party and government, which practically makes them Siamese twins that share a single heart, poses a serious challenge to the development of the country as public officials who are supposed to drive the country’s socio-economic engine are, to all intents and purposes, primarily seized with their own political survival.
As a result, ZANU-PF, which is in a state of paralysis resulting from a heart attack triggered by these feral factional fights, is now holding the other hapless twin — Zimbabwe — hostage in hospital, itself an ominous antechamber that might as well lead towards the much-dreaded graveyard.
Since the 52-year old party —which has been ruling the country since the country’s independence in 1980 — imploded towards the end of last year resulting in the shock expulsion of several dozens of its core members — including hitherto heavyweights like former vice president Joice Mujuru, former ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche and Rugare Gumbo among others — mortal fear of being seen to be “in the wrong basket” has become a permanent companion to many senior government officials, detracting them from their constitutional duty of serving the country.
Economist and social commentator Vince Musewe emphasised that the madhouse situation obtaining in the ruling party was making things difficult for the common man on the street.
“There is no doubt that we have a paralysed and lethargic government because there remains a thin line between the State and ZANU-PF,” Musewe said. “This has put the country on auto pilot to nowhere and we face the likelihood of collapse of formal economy and its replacement by a secret parallel economy led by ZANU-PF elite and its cronies. In fact, the latter has been in place since 2008 hence we have seen no concern by government over the job losses and unemployment.”
Mujuru’s recall from government and the dismissal of several of her alleged backers in the putative plot to oust President Mugabe from power has resulted in a number of by-elections which have proved to be costly in the fiscus sense as well as in lost man hours as senior government officials stampede over each other to demonstrate, in practical way, their steadfast loyalty to the “right basket”. Those that have been expelled from the ruling party like Mutasa and Gumbo have coagulated into a faction that they are adamant is the legitimate ZANU-PF, calling it People First.
The resultant by-election campaigns, which ZANU-PF officials, who double up as government officials, cannot afford to miss, have resulted in government business being severely disrupted.
Recently, Speaker of the House of Assembly, ZANU-PF’s Jacob Mudenda, had to read the riot act in a desperate effort to rein in Cabinet ministers who were giving the august House a wide berth as they went on one razzmatazz after another on party business.
The factional wars in ZANU-PF reached the crescendo at the party’s congress in December last year, with President Mugabe dismissing several members of his government, among them, Mujuru.
The others that took the unforgiving axe include Dzikamai Mavhaire, Webster Shamu, Olivia Muchena, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa as well as several junior ministers.
More have since followed, including the stubbon former Masvingo minister of State Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who has had the gall of repeatedly dragging President Mugabe to court as he resisted his expulsion from both the party and government.
Although a number of these government officials were not those that could be regarded top performers by any measure, their unceremonious departure — barely two years after their appointment — disrupted the smooth flow of government business as in some cases their successors would not want to be associated with programmes godfathered by people whose loyalty to the veteran ruler was questionable.
Analysts say President Mugabe’s recent mini-Cabinet reshuffle —which saw influential former information minister Jonathan Moyo being re-assigned to the lukewarm Higher and Tertiary Education portfolio — was more in response to these factional wars, than out of the sincere need to get best people in the right positions.
Political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, said as far as he can see, ZANU-PF is failing to provide a consistent and dependable government.
“ZANU-PF has a default approach to the national economy. It announces grand plans it does not implement (Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation as a case in point), pre-occupies itself with internal factional politics and keeps the masses swan-songed with the attendant soap opera of dismissals, succession politics and land evictions,” Zhangazha said.
“In essence, it leaves the citizen without an organised or consistent government. So when one looks at the ongoing spats, expulsions and by-elections they serve largely as a distraction and the opposition political parties play right along because they too mimic ZANU-PF in their paucity of ideas and inorganic politics,” he added.
Instead of getting their hands dirty on the spadework to get the country out of the current socio-economic quagmire, some government officials like Manicaland’s Minister of Provincial Affairs Mandiitawepi Chimene, have decided to busy themselves with the task of settling scores with those like Mutasa who are now considered not just enemies of ZANU-PF, but of the State as well.
On another costly front, direct and indirect court actions are being waged against Mutasa, former firebrand war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda, former Harare provincial youth chairman, Godwin Gomwe, former Hurungwe West legislator, Temba Mliswa and several others who, until recently, were darling members of the party in what is generally seen as persecution by prosecution.