Zanu PF is falling apart with the party’s rules being discarded as junior party officials – fronting factional interests – openly tear apart Vice President Joice Mujuru in a desperate bid to discredit her ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.
This development comes as it emerges that Mujuru will be challenged at the congress by either Oppah Muchinguri or Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vice presidency of the party.
Analysts said President Robert Mugabe, in one of his typical but well-known divide and rule tactics, could have deliberately sparked Mujuru’s troubles when he ordered that every post be up for grabs when the party holds its congress in December.
As he officially opened the Zanu PF Women’s League conference last week, Mugabe said all members in the politburo were supposed to resign come congress, a statement reportedly meant to open up challenges against Mujuru, who is involved in a vicious fight with the Mnangagwa faction to succeed the 90-year-old president.
Ironically, Mugabe has already been nominated by the influential women’s league, while Mujuru has been left in the cold.
In the past, Mugabe and Mujuru would be automatically nominated but this time around, the foxy Zimbabwean leader has left his number two open to be devoured by vultures.
At the conference, Oppah Muchinguri, the league’s boss openly boasted that Mujuru had landed the top post riding on the goodwill of the league.
Sources said Muchinguri’s statement was a carefully crafted salvo in an ongoing and comprehensive assault on Mujuru – whose political power and standing was at the weekend
questioned by junior minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, believed to be a key member of the Mnangagwa camp.
A top Zanu PF official told the Daily News yesterday that the Mnangagwa faction had now decided to take Mujuru head-on and would field a candidate to challenge her at the congress.
“It’s now free-for-all at the Zanu PF congress in December.
“The Mnangagwa faction realises that constitutionally, they have no chance against Mujuru because she will succeed president Mugabe if anything happens to him.
“Mnangagwa has no chance under the sun for now and the only way they can get the presidency in future is by dislodging Mujuru at congress.
“They (Mnangagwa faction) have now roped in First Lady Grace Mugabe in their corner and in the process, president Mugabe. With the Mnangagwa faction being left with one option, which is of challenging Mujuru at the congress, they will definitely go for it.
“The only question is who will have the guts — Muchinguri or Mnangagwa. This time it will be easier because president Mugabe has completely lost control of the situation, he has been misled by the Mnangagwa faction through the wife and it’s now a dog-eat-dog affair,” said the highly-placed Zanu PF official.
University of Zimbabwe political commentator Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News yesterday that “things have now fallen apart in the ruling party.”
“It is now dog-eat-dog, gloves are now off and this reveals the natural fights in Zanu PF. The language used by deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa on his senior (Mujuru) reflects that the cardinal rule, to respect seniority in the party, has been eroded. In this struggle, there are no rules to be observed but only self-generated rules,” said Masunungure.
In the past few weeks, the Mnangagwa camp has employed all sorts of tactics to derail Mujuru’s ascendancy including the master stroke of pulling Grace into their corner to easily influence Mugabe.
Masunungure said it would be foolhardy for the Mujuru camp to expect a stroll in the park come congress in December.
“You cannot rule out a challenge on the VP given the ferocity of the struggle. Age-old rules are no longer applicable. Only the president is now immune to any challenges,” said the respected analyst.
Muchinguri, a liberation war icon in her own right, belongs to the Mnangagwa camp and recently relinquished her influential position as the women’s league boss handing it on a silver platter to Grace.
Contacted for comment, Muchinguri said she was in a meeting and successive efforts to speak to her later were fruitless as her phone was unavailable.
Although Mnangagwa recently distanced himself from harbouring presidential ambitions, high level sources say his camp — which has repeatedly lost to the Mujuru camp in internal elections — is now positioning itself in preparation for the party congress set for December.
The decision to rope in Grace was widely seen as a major coup by the Mnangagwa camp which recently demanded that Mujuru speak openly on the nomination of the First Lady.
As the plot to derail Mujuru thickens, sources in Zanu PF told the Daily News over the weekend that businesses ran by the VP, her associates and alleged sympathisers are also being targeted in a bid to financially cripple the high-flying faction.
United Kingdom-based analyst Brighton Musonza traced the open fights between the two factions to Mugabe.
He said the 90-year-old Zanu PF strongman is employing divide-and-rule tactics in order to entrench his rule.
“At the end of the day, Mugabe is fomenting rivalry in his party Zanu PF to make sure he dies in office. Divide and rule is the game-plan. He has empowered the Mnangagwa faction to challenge the rival Mujuru faction.
“Soon, he’ll be going back to the Mujuru faction with sweet candy and get them to raise their game. By the time they emerge out of the congress in December, Zanu PF will have handed over life presidency to Mugabe and this whole term of his presidency he will be managing warring factions and not the well-being of the subjects,” said Musonza