THE expulsion of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the country’s vice-president, as well as second secretary of Zanu PF brought into perspective the consequences of President Robert Mugabe’s failure to resolve the thorny succession issue.
Candid Comment,Faith Zaba
Mugabe sacked Mnangagwa from government on Monday. He was axed for “consistently and persistently exhibiting traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability”. The former vice-president was subsequently expelled from Zanu PF on Wednesday after deliberations at the party’s politburo meeting.
This comes three years after the dismissal of Joice Mujuru from vice-presidency, allegedly for attempting to topple Mugabe, along with several other senior party officials, among them, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo. The wrangles within the party are borne out of Mugabe’s refusal to finalise the succession debacle, as he seeks to tenaciously cling to power despite deteriorating health and old age.
What Mugabe fails to understand is that the infighting in Zanu PF is a direct result of his messy succession issue.
Zimbabwe’s problems emanate from a president who has overstayed in power, in the process running down the economy.
After failing to address leadership succession, Zanu PF has spent most of its current mandate, which it won controversially in 2013, enmeshed in suspensions, disciplinary hearings and expulsions of anyone who has directly or indirectly threatened Mugabe’s hold on power without tackling the deepening multi-faceted crisis. The succession fight has not only imploded the former liberation movement, but also paralysed government from a fragile into a failed state. The economic malaise, characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, has resulted in companies failing to access foreign currency to import critical inputs for production, an acute cash shortage demonstrated by long winding bank queues, dwindling investment inflows, plummeting from US$545 million in 2014 to US$319 million last year, company closures and massive job losses.
As Zanu PF has continued focussing on power struggles in the moribund party, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has warned in its latest manufacturing sector survey that 30% of all manufacturing companies are on the verge of collapse, with severe consequences for the crippled economy. As Zanu PF officials expend energy on factional squabbles triggered by Mugabe’s unresolved succession, more than 2 000 workers have been retrenched in the first half of this year alone.
The removal of Mnangagwa, as well as that of Mujuru and her allies, does not ameliorate the gross impoverishment of ordinary citizens. The economy continues screaming for help. The vacuum being left by Mnangagwa is being filled by maleficent elements, creating instability. Ten Zanu PF provinces, the women and youth leagues, have endorsed First Lady Grace Mugabe as Mnangagwa’s successor.
Without putting an end to the succession dispute, vicious infighting will escalate, thereby grinding the economy to a halt.
Mugabe must start listening to the ever-growing calls that he must step down without further delay.