Zanu PF apparatchik Christopher Mutsvangwa recently laid bare what we already know about the workings of his party, describing any challenge to President Robert Mugabe as “perilous”.
Column by MuckRaker
No one would dare openly challenge Mugabe without his approval, Mutsvangwa told The Zimbabwean.
“Anyone who challenges Mugabe for the top job does so at his own peril. Any party official who wants to succeed him will only do so with his (Mugabe’s) blessings,” Mutsvangwa averred.
Clearly Mutsvangwa was not reading from the official party script.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo would have us believe Mugabe’s candidature is a result of the collective will of the “people”.
“Even if, as a senior member of the party I might want Mugabe to go, who am I to go against the will of the people? Let the people decide,” Gumbo said.
Mutsvangwa has called it as it is, Cde Gumbo, there is no need to pretend any longer!
The state media has been awash with claims that Zanu PF provinces “unanimously” endorsed Mugabe’s candidature to represent Zanu PF in the forthcoming elections.
Mugabe prefers to take a posture of humility on the issue, resorting to his oft stated “as long as the people want me to stay”, a refrain underpinning his vice-like grip on the party.
Mugabe is on record stating he will not groom a successor assigning the responsibility to the “people” who “when the time comes shall decide”.
“For as long as the people want me to stay but not for eternity, of course,” Mugabe said in 2004.
The identity of these “people” becomes even vaguer considering Gumbo’s opinion of party members pushing for leadership renewal and opposing Mugabe’s candidacy in the next elections.
Opposition to Mugabe’s candidacy was being spread by Zanu PF’s enemies, Gumbo declared last month.
“It is not for individuals to decide, but for the people,” he said. “I think it’s mere rumour or propaganda from the MDC to destabilise the party.”
We are very keen to know what Gumbo and Mugabe mean by the “people”.
Big Man syndrome
Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan was scathing in his description of the “Big Man” system which he said is creating dictators in the mould of Mugabe.
Annan told New African magazine many dictatorships in Africa were a result of politics encouraging the cult of the personality.
“The support for the Big Man system –– Robert Mugabe an example –– created a political culture that simply encourages autocrats and dictatorships,” Annan said.
“The struggle that led to independence in many African nations, sometimes led to the creation of national movements, and not necessarily political parties.
“When independence was achieved in these countries, they often found themselves in one big group. This led to the party-regime where the leaders did not tolerate differences, and stay on.”
“The sort of qualities that make dynamic and revolutionary fighters, are not necessarily the same qualities you need to run a nation,” he said.
He couldn’t have put it better!
Ideology of looting
A war of words has erupted between the sponsors of the MDC-T’s Juice and Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.
The Juice proponents say their programme stands for Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment. It is designed to address the chronic unemployment stalking the land, we are told.
But Zanu PF has retaliated with accusations it is a “stale plan” with ideas borrowed from other parties. Saviour Kasukuwere rubbished the MDC-T document saying it did not have a shred of pro-poor content.
“If you don’t have an ideology and clear plans, no amount of putting lipstick on a pig will change it,” he said.
That, by the way, is a cliché. Anyway what has it got to do with ideology? Kasukuwere must know political parties are dumping ideologies around the world precisely because they are stale and unattractive.
What happened to the Soviet Communist party? And the SED in East Germany? Tony Blair was a success as Labour leader because he moved his party to the political centre ground and dropped all reference to nationalisation after 80 years of socialist posturing by his predecessors.
South Africa has yet to heed the lesson. Nobody seriously talks of ideology now. It is the kiss of death. In any case, does anybody in Zanu PF have a clue what ideology is about? Indigenisation is about a post-liberation aristocracy clinging to power, not uplifting the poor. We can all understand that.
As for the MDC-T, their success will derive from good governance, not some coterie around a fading power structure. By the way what happened to economic blueprints, Restart and Bridge, now that there is Juice?
MDC-T’s own goal
Since the formation of the inclusive government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T officials in government have been throwing plaudits to President Mugabe and Zanu PF, however, without reciprocation.
Tendai Biti described Mugabe as a fountain of knowledge and stability while Nelson Chamisa, applauded Mugabe’s “visionary” leadership, claiming “the president has provided leadership from the cockpit and we are prepared to be the passengers”.
Chamisa went on to say Mugabe’s “wisdom” makes sure the plane does not crash.
Following in this disingenuous path is Tsvangirai who last week said his party would have caused chaos if it had gone into government without the “apprenticeship course”, under Mugabe’s mentorship.
“It would have been chaos and fighting each other if we had gone straight into power, but God had a plan,” the Herald quotes him saying.
“God has a purpose for everything. He did not allow us to go straight into power, but allowed us to go through an apprenticeship course where we have been taught how to rule and know where the keys to govern the country are found.”
Taught by who, we wonder? We hope it is not Zanu PF. Such daft comments are unlikely to inspire confidence in voters ahead of elections.
The ‘chosen’ one
We are amused by the brickbats being exchanged between erstwhile chums National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku and the MDC-T.
Madhuku had lambasted Tsvangirai who he said exhibited “childishness” over the constitution-making impasse in contrast with Mugabe who he said approached the issue with the “highest level of sophistication and intelligence”.
The MDC-T responded with a stinging statement dismissing Madhuku as “simply confused”.
“It is one thing for Madhuku to constructively criticise our president (Tsvangirai) and another thing to hurl empty insults at him as if someone is on the Zanu PF payroll,” the statement read.
The NCA hit back, dismissing the MDC-T statement “with the utmost contempt”. In April Madhuku, who said he would soon relinquish his post at the NCA and venture into active party politics, claimed to have been approached to help topple Tsvangirai and replace him with an academic.
“There is a mentality throughout Western embassies that MDC-T must be led by an academic.
“They have confided in and consulted me on the best candidate to lead the party instead of Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” he said.
Judging by Madhuku’s approach could he be the chosen one?
Finally a reader has texted us to say that now Not-so-Bright Matonga is no longer in the news, his place seems to have been taken by No-Brains Kunonga! Quite interesting.