ZANU PF has once again shown organisational ineptitude by skirting around a desperately pertinent issue of renewal within its ranks at its recent indaba in Mutare. The level of indifference to the issue of renewal has gotten to the level where any talk of such matters is deemed blasphemous.
It is as if pushing for renewal is tantamount to questioning someone’s divinely ordained right.
Joice Mujuru, for all her perceived inadequacies, has earned her dues within Zanu PF and cannot be regarded as an upstart. The fact that she is now reportedly in trouble for trying to put the issue on the agenda speaks volumes about where Zanu PF is and where it is going. If people like her cannot put this issue on the agenda then who can? What chance is there for Zanu PF to become relevant in this era when political dinosaurs continue to roam the land?
Zanu PF can no longer claim to be a revolutionary party with sincerity. This is because instead of being a movement, it is now more of a monument to failed nationalism. It is clear that in these talk shops which they mendaciously call “people’s conferences”, there is no regard to the views of the grassroots and only one voice holds sway. The interception and quashing of the lobby for renewal illustrates the determination of the powers that be to retain the status quo at all costs.
Under normal circumstances a party led by an 86-year-old would encourage and foster the renewal process but then this is no ordinary party. This is a party that continues to trudge on, seemingly oblivious of the scalps of other liberation movement leaders that litter the political landscape across Africa. It is a party that is attempting to defy the laws of nature by refusing to evolve.
There is a glaring naïveté about their approach. They have the assumption that their antiquated methods of persuasion in creating a personality cult will somehow continue to captivate the electorate. That by some freak of nature the people who have clearly expressed, in a succession of elections since 2000 that they no longer want President Robert Mugabe, can be cajoled to change their minds.
This will come to naught as long as Zanu PF continues to be fronted by old and tired people with old and tired ideas. In the marketplace of ideas, where there is no coercion, their argument can never have any credible takers because Zimbabwe can never rely on one person. The fear of fomenting factionalism cannot be an excuse for stifling renewal nor is the threat from outside forces. Even in reclusive and repressive North Korea there is some form of renewal with Kim Jong-il priming his son Kim Jong-Un to eventually succeed him.
Ultimately Zanu PF leaves voters — however sympathetic to their cause — with little choice but to pursue alternative routes in the next election. The fact that voters in some constituencies opted to vote for Zanu PF candidates for MPs and not its presidential candidate should reinforce this argument.
Instead of seeing this clear clarion call for renewal for what it was, Mugabe opted to blame Zanu PF members for laxity in not campaigning for him. He really believes that voters let him down in 2008.
As Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo stated in June 2008:
“The mind of the electorate is now so fixed against Mugabe that if he were to contest against a donkey in the run-off, the donkey would win by a landslide not because anyone would vote for it but simply because people would vote against Mugabe and thus benefit the donkey.”
Our sentiments exactly, professor!