RUMOURS of tensions between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, former military supremo Constantino Chiwenga, make it clear that electoral stagnation does not equal political stasis.
Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ)’s status as both a repressive tool and a function of intra-party division and suspicion illustrates that point.
Formed to suffocate the opposition, it has also been deployed internally to exclude undesirables from party primaries and watch carefully for signs of “bhora musango” — attempts to “kick the ball into the bush” by members who seek to “decampaign” Mnangagwa from within.
FAZ is reportedly run by elements in the Central Intelligence Organisation whose intra-party activities are said to have displeased factions associated with Chiwenga and the military.
Deciphering Zanu PF’s factions is a dark science at the best of times, but there’s ample evidence that the schismatic dynamics in the ruling party continue to spin away in the background.
The hysterical response to an announcement of a tilt at the presidency by Saviour Kasukuwere, an acolyte of the late former President Robert Mugabe who went into exile during the coup, is but one more sign that nerves are stretched taut.
Change from within Zanu PF provides few grounds for immediate optimism.
The party’s disunity doesn’t stem from a fundamental ideological disagreement.
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Theirs is not a contest over the structure of the political or economic system.
After all, the need for the opposition and a liberal democratic transition to be cut off at the knees is one aspect on which there remains broad consensus.
Rather, the factions fight because they desire the same fruits, but where the lust for money and power reigns supreme, there is not enough to go around.
That’s why the coup threw up more of the same, and that’s why any open rupture in Zanu PF is likely to be a repeat, with little to offer those yearning for real change.
For those outside the snake pit, the mantra is as it was: keep your head down and get on with it. - Stuart Doran