THE raging battle within government pitting Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa over compliance of the financial services sector with indigenisation requirements is symptomatic of the crisis engulfing the nation caused by fierce succession power struggles in Zanu PF, former Finance minister Tendai Biti has said. Biti said indigenisation, which is now the new political battlefield for Zanu PF succession wars, was destroying the economy.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Zanu PF has two main factions, one led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and another coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe fighting over President Robert Mugabe’s succession.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week Biti, who is also the leader of People’s Democratic Party, said it was important that Zimbabweans do not become idle bystanders as Zanu PF persists on a path of destruction.
Biti said none of the two main Zanu PF factions would bring about real change in Zimbabwe given that the G40 faction wanted “to see the reproduction of the old order of exclusion, violence and fear”, while the Mnangagwa faction, associated with draconian laws, purges of the judiciary, electoral theft and Gukurahundi and other gross human rights abuses, wants to introduce economic reforms without democratic reforms.
Zhuwao, a G40 member, and Chinamasa, a Mnangagwa ally, are embroiled in an ugly public row that was torched by the Finance minister’s statement last week that foreign-owed banks had complied with indigenisation requirements. It sparked an angry rebuttal from Zhuwao who accused Chinamasa of being ignorant of the empowerment laws.
“The public spat is a micro-cosm of structural, deep-rooted crises arresting the state. Indeed, the spat is mere manifestation of real battles being fought by the beleaguered Zanu PF regime faced with the reality of Mugabe’ s imminent departure,” Biti said.
“In short, the indigenisation battle reflects Zanu PF’s unresolved succession problems and associated issues.”
Biti said Zimbabweans must rally to stop the ruling party from leading the country to irretrievable ruin.
“The generality of Zimbabweans cannot be innocent spectators to this Zanu PF madness and narrative of destruction,” Biti charged.
“The citizen must quickly reorganise and seize control of the transition underway. The danger of not providing the requisite thought leadership, the danger of not coming together to act means allowing ascendancy of the G40 clique which will subject Zimbabwe potentially to another 36 years of desolation. Such a thought is as scary as it may be reality.”
The PDP leader said the need for a united opposition could not be overemphasised, but warned that “certain elements and their supporters in the opposition ranks” need to undergo their own processes of change, reinvention and renewal or face extinction.
Biti said the contradictions in Zanu PF are mainly based on differences of how take the country forward, but none of the factions have solid and workable solutions to Zimbabwe’s economic malaise.
“There is a bloody fight in Zanu PF, largely behind the scenes, between those that see the inevitability of change and those that believe in the retention of an old order based on the doctrine of preservation of the political kingdom. Regime retention and preservation is the last thing Zimbabwe needs now.
“Mnangagwa is seduced by the idea of change, particularly economic reform but predicated on the Chinese model of free market economics within an authoritarrian framework. The Chinese model of political hegemony sprinkled with a neo- liberal economic discourse. The idea that Zimbabwe could be another China after 1978 with Mnangagwa being our own Deng Xiaoping or Singapore with Mnangagwa as our own Lee Kuan Yu is simply ridiculous.” Biti said the Mnangagwa’s faction had successfully sold this dream “to a few gullible Western embassies and capitals”.
“Suddenly there is now growing verbiage that Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, does not need, and cannot cope with democracy. What Zimbabwe needs is a strongman able to lead economic reform, and that man is Mnangagwa. The inconvenience of regular democratic elections will be by-passed through a continued dosage of competitive authoritarran regime electoral shenanigans. After all, stolen elections are now the new normal in Zimbabwe,” Biti said.
The PDP leader said the G40 faction was vicious and keen to maintain the current order as shown by its rigid support for Mugabe and everything he represents.
“Up against the Mnangagwa faction is the vicious cabal known as Generation 40 whose greatest weapon is the controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe. This is a group of fanatical and reckless elements without any restraint. G40 is using a scorched- earth strategy based on continued reproduction of the predatory rogue regime. Indigenisation being an example of that, continued farm invasions being another.
“The battle in Zanu PF is therefore not about reform or democratisation. It is not an ideological or policy battle.
It’s about putting lipstick on a pig and how to do it.
“The difference is therefore one of tactic not principle. The Mnangagwa faction recognises that old methods of isolation and bashing of the West cannot work. So change without reform is the new buzzword among some diplomats.”
Biti said Chinamasa is the Mnangagwa faction’s face, adding that the Finance minister’s mandate is to extract money from Washington and Paris “without the pain of reform”. He said what Zimbabwe needs is serious leadership, political and structural reform and change, not tinkering.