Tables turn on ZANU-PF bigwigs
AT their prime — they had the world eating out of their hands.
No one dared oppose their word, which was almost sacred.
When they entered a room, scores jostled to be seen talking and shaking hands with them.
Some hangers on would even laugh out loudly to dry jokes they made — often not even funny.
This was the life of many of ZANU-PF’s high rollers who grabbed attention wherever they went to.
The list of persons who have fallen from grace to grass almost overnight since ZANU-PF’s infamous 2014 congress keeps on growing.
Munyaradzi Kereke and Chris Mutsvangwa are some of the most recent victims of a system that seems to have suddenly developed an upset stomach and is now vomiting out many of its own.
The list of people who have already fallen by the wayside includes the likes of Joice Mujuru, Jabulani Sibanda, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and Sylvester Nguni among many other big names.
In almost an instant, their lives were changed forever.
The high office they had become used to was taken away at the click of a finger.
The perks of high office included, but were not limited to five figure salaries, executive benefits, state security, luxury vehicles and homes in some of the wealthiest spots of real estate in the capital, Harare.
The guillotine has now swung in the direction of Johannes Tomana, the suspended Prosecutor-General (PG).
A tribunal, which is supposed to report its findings to President Robert Mugabe by September, will decide his fate.
Tomana’s position is already precarious given the sentencing of Kereke to 14 years in jail last week, after he had personally blocked the case by refusing to issue a private prosecution certificate.
That the courts have found Kereke guilty is likely to open a can of worms into the world of Tomana himself.
At the peak of his romance with ZANU-PF, Tomana in 2014 defended tooth and nail his support of the ruling party.
“…It is either you are ZANU-PF or MDC. Are you saying the fact that I declared publicly that I support ZANU-PF means that I should not occupy that office?” he once quipped.
“It is my constitutional right to choose a party I want to support, of my choice that persuades me with their policies and I chose ZANU-PF and there is nothing wrong with that. I am a registered voter, I have a right to choose a political party that I want and I did that and I see nothing wrong with that. The question that should be asked is whether I am competent or not.”
The same ZANU-PF he viciously defended has not come out with so much of a woof to show support and solidarity with him.
Do they know something which Tomana does not?
Some are of the opinion that Tomana may have sealed his fate when he seemed to back early child marriages mid last year in a debate, which, at the time, sucked in First Lady Grace Mugabe, who was shocked by the PG’s utterances.
Still, there is no straight line to what has contributed to the fall of so many of ZANU-PF’ former high flyers.
Observers point to many things working together at a time.
Some had with impunity thought they were above the law, others abused their offices and the most commonly peddled view is that the bulk had become entangled with the nasty cycle of the ruling party’s succession politics.
Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education who once spent time in the mid-2000s as an independent Member of Parliament outside of ZANU-PF recently admitted that “it was cold” outside of the ruling party, with many struggles faced by being out of the warmth and comfort of the revolutionary party.
Others who have been shown the exit door out of the ruling party have tried to put on a brave face.
Mutsvangwa said in the aftermath of his expulsion two weeks ago that his relationship with the ruling party had become “burdensome” and he was glad to be out.
“To be frank, the relationship had become burdensome to me, a real albatross in these times. In a way, I am just glad that the party divested me of it…,” said Mutsvangwa.
Political commentator, Vivid Gwede, said there was a recognisable trend in ZANU-PF impunity, with the politicians who fall out of favour being the most vulnerable.
“The law enforcement, as it pertains to ZANU-PF officials, is used as a system of blackmail, where those who are loyal literally remain above the law only until they cross the paths of their handlers,” said Gwede.
“Like a mafia system, the regime works on the basis of rewards and sanctions. For those who have skeletons in their cupboards the reward for loyalty is impunity and the sanction for disobedience is persecution.”
As the 2018 polls fast approach, the court of public opinion may do well to be wary of a party that turns a blind eye to impunity in its ranks, but will not blink in tearing down its own for the sake of expediency.
Follow us on Twitter @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette