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Another congress, the same Zanu PF

Gift Phiri

THE ruling Zanu PF will next month hold its congress amidst growing concerns about President Robert Mugabe’s continued hold on power despite his policy failures.

Analysts say no one in Zanu PF has the courage to tell Mugabe that he has failed and should hand the baton to a successor.

They say it is unlikely that anyone will raise the issue of Mugabe’s long overdue grip on power against a background of economic and political crises, which have been Zimbabwe’s key destabilising factor.

“It is highly unlikely that anyone in the ruling party would tell Mugabe to go if past experience is anything to go by,” said political analyst Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change advisor.

“Mugabe runs his party with an iron fist. There is no independent policy on issues of succession. He has got total control. Zanu PF does not function as a democratic organisation but a totalitarian one.”

The congress, scheduled to be held at the Harare International Conference Centre during the first week of December, is expected to endorse Mugabe as the leader and adopt a motion confirming the forthcoming legislative polls as an “anti-Blair” election during which the ruling party is expected to “bury” the “British sponsored MDC”.The congress is also expected to map out strategies for the election next March.

As is the norm at Zanu PF congresses, there will be endorsement of candidates for the party’s presidency – comprising the president and his two deputies, and the party’s national chairman.The party’s Women and Youth Leagues held their congresses recently and confirmed Mugabe as their leader. This ensured that Mugabe won’t be challenged at congress.

The Women’s League also resolved to push for the election of a woman for vice president at the forthcoming congress. While Joyce Mujuru has been put up as woman candidate for the vice presidency, there are other contestants as well. Powerful administration secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been touted as the most likely candidate.

But his candidacy could be contested by national chairman John Nkomo, who not only has support in Matabeleland, but also enjoys the support of party members opposed to Mnangagwa. Mugabe is also expected to make new politburo appointments.

The commissariat wing of the party is likely to be broadened with two new deputy secretaries being appointed to coordinate with the secretary. The existing politburo team of 38 is expected to be expanded to allow other relatively junior members to take positions on the sub-committees to be created by Mugabe.

Currently there are 22 full secretaries in the politburo.

Deputy Information and publicity secretary Jonathan Moyo will, apart from coordinating the information department, head a new politburo sub-committee of a combined external, information and commissariat desk, it is expected. Another sub-committee on transport and security will be placed under Nicholas Goche as the party restructures itself ahead of the legislative polls.

However, Mugabe’s position will remain unchanged despite the crisis gripping the country.

“Political thugs have been unleashed on the electorate in the name of campaigning,” Brian Kagoro of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said.

“Scores of people have been killed in this murderous campaign. Mugabe’s regime has seized productive private farms. Court rulings seeking to end this anarchy have been contemptuously ignored.”

Kagoro said Mugabe launched his fast-track land redistribution programme to buy the votes of an angry nation baying for his blood.

Not only did Mugabe refuse to obey his own government’s laws to implement the land reforms constitutionally, Kagoro said, he told the entire international community which had been ready to fund the scheme to literally “go to hell”.

His actions capped a remarkable 20 years in power during which he, more than anyone else in his administration, drove the economy to its knees, he said.

Analysts said Mugabe has used unworkable policies to antagonise both local and foreign investors. They noted that mass poverty and record joblessness are problems currently pervading a nation that once prided itself as a beacon of hope for Africa.

Now, as the fallout from his economic failures threatens to bury him politically, Mugabe has dramatically risen to cow the nation with whatever ammunition he has in the hope that he can somehow change his fortunes.

“Mugabe must go and he must go now,” constitutional law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku said. “He has become a clear and present danger to himself and the whole nation.”

Madhuku however said there was no one in Zanu PF with the capacity to take over from Mugabe. He said Mugabe was actually an asset to Zanu PF and a liability to the nation.

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