Relegated Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has expressed fears the party's escalating and "anarchical" demonstrations are fast reaching a tipping point where they can easily lead to Zimbabwe becoming as ungovernable as what happened during the damaging North Africa and the Middle East uprisings that came to be known as the Arab Spring.
The Arab Spring refers to the waves of chaotic anti-government protests and armed rebellions that hit the region three years ago and quickly spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and surrounding regions, including North Africa.
Zimbabwe has over the past few months witnessed a spate of orchestrated violent demonstrations countrywide, that are stretching the capacity of police as Zanu-PF's factional and succession wars boil over, amid ominous warnings by economic analysts that the ugly infighting could sink the country's ailing economy and bring it to levels witnessed five years ago during the height of record hyperinflation.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Gumbo said the party's demonstrations and ongoing putsches against sitting provincial chairpersons needed to stop now, not just because they were not synonymous with Zanu-PF's values, but also because they posed the real danger that they could spiral out of control.
"If this is left to go on it could result in something that we cannot contain, like the demonstrations that took place in Tunisia and Egypt. We don't understand where this is coming from. All this shows that there is no discipline in the party. It's unZanu-PF-like. Zanu-PF does not behave that way. The party has been infiltrated and compromised as true Zanu-PF supporters don't behave that way. It's unheard of."
"What we are seeing is lawlessness and we are aware that there are certain elements in the party fuelling this behaviour. That is how the Arab Spring started," he added.
As a result, Gumbo called on the police to be on extra guard to control the deteriorating political situation.
"These activities are not only destroying Zanu-PF, but are also destroying the government and Cabinet, discrediting our country in the process. There is a danger, if we do not contain the situation, that it can turn into something else," he said just before being suspended to officially speak on behalf of Zanu PF.
Yesterday Zanu PF's politburo meeting expelled war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda and suspended party Gumbo as the bid by Vice-President Joice Mujuru to retain her post as President Robert Mugabe’s second-in-command suffered a major blow.
The politburo also upheld the suspension of four provincial chairpersons — Amos Midzi (Harare), Killian Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Jason Machaya (Midlands) and Matabeleland South’s Andrew Langa.
Another Mujuru ally, Manicaland provincial chairman John Mvundura, was given a written reprimand. The suspended chairpersons are linked to the faction led by Mujuru. Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa lead factions angling to succeed Mugabe.
Party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo assumed the role of spokesperson immediately after Gumbo’s suspension and apprised journalists late last night of the developments.
He, however, would not take questions.
"I want to say that I am speaking to you not just as national chairman of the party, but also as spokesperson of the party from today," Khaya Moyo said.
Gumbo said he has been reduced to a mere spectator.
"I will watch developments from the terraces," Gumbo said.