Zimbabwe: A country of no young men

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My paternal grandfather, fondly referred to as vaGumbo- Madyirapazhe died at the ripe old age of ninety nine ( may his soul rest in peace). One thing he was known for was his ability to tell stories with such insightful clarity of his many political exploits and travels in Southern Africa. He remembered every incident and the full names of those he met, especially when they were of Zimbabwean extract.

By Lloyd Msipa

His stories were captivating in the sense that they captured even the most scatter-brained of his ‘vazukurus’(grandchildren). The stories made sense and they gave us an insight of how our ‘Gumbo-madyirapazhe’ bloodline developed,managed conflict and the expulsion from the village those who refused to conform to socially accepted norms.

The recent Bindura youth interface rally in Zimbabwe, for me was a vivid reminder of those days.The old man spoke or narrated rather giving us insight of the deep undercurrents in ZANU PF. The dirty linen of the internal struggles – the struggle within the struggle in ZANU PF were laid out for all to hear. Details emerged of who is really closet to the Mugabe family when it really matters, putting to rest many months if not years of speculation. A bed ridden Mugabe believing he was about to exit this world, asked to see Sydney Sekeramayi, his Minister of Defence. Mugabe did not ask to see any of his two Vice Presidents. He asked to see the Minister of Defence. The man in charge of the army. This is instructive and possibly the most important piece of information to come out of the mouth of the First Lady that day. It suggests that in the likely event that Mugabe dies suddenly, the transition period will be secured by the army. So, it is no wonder that Mugabe speaks not of nominating a successor,the successor will come about through an internal ZANU PF election insured by the army with Sekeramayi being the civilian face of that transition period.This is the true scenario. Mugabe expects the army under civilian leadership of Sydney Sekeramayi to preside over the internal election procedures in ZANU PF and choose that man who will rule Zimbabwe.- ‘that special one’. Mugabe made it absolutely clear that Emmerson Munagagwa and Mpekelezela Mpoko are not on his list and here is why.

The Mugabes made a complete ridicule of the ‘G40’ and ‘Lacoste’ political outfits insinuating that their traditional – plausible deniability defence did not fly with him, that ‘G40’ and ‘Lacoste’ are a figurement of Peoples imagination. Saviour Kasukuwere sunk deep into his chair when he was told of how the Mugabes knew of his G40 project started by the Obama hope fever that gripped the world,- “this is Zimbabwe, not America” whilst Professor Jonathan Moyo sniggered as he hid behind a speaker when he was reminded of his relationship with Emmerson Mnangagwa and the failed Tsholotsho bid to unseat Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa was not spared. If fact he got more hammering than others, living the people watching ‘live’ across the world wondering if he should hang around even after working with Mugabe for over fifty years, Mugabe literally threw his former lieutenant under the bus. ‘Factional politics’in the Midlands and Masvingo region where downgraded to ‘tribal’ politics presided over by Emmerson Mnangagwa. Seated next to his second wife, Auxillia Mnangagwa, he was reminded of how he replaced himself with his wife in Chirumanzu- Zibagwe after his appointment to the position of Vice President. Robert Mugabe made reference to how Emmerson Mnangagwa’s philandering resulted in former ZBC personality, Godfrey Majonga jumping/pushed from a second floor balcony following a run in with Emmerson Mnangagwa over a woman. Majonga has been in a wheelchair ever since the incident. Grace Mugabe has been seen several times parading Majonga at ZANU PF rallies. All this information, according to Mugabe was brought to him by members of both factions in an attempt to carry more favour-than the other.

So, what does this tell us. That Mugabe has mastered the art of ‘divide and rule’. The ‘G40’ and ‘Lacoste’ are constructs allowed to exist as they conveniently feed beautifully into the ‘divide and rule’ mugabevelian power retention module. Otherwise how else does a ninety three year old man keep young lieutenants from over throwing him. He does this by meticulously keeping them divided and focusing on each other instead of the principle. Zimbabwe is no country for young man. ZANU PF is no political party for young people with ambition for power. Joyce Mujuru was the third faction booted out without any due process despite provisions in the ZANU PF constitution. So in the absence of any fundamental change or shift in ZANU PF internal dynamics, the writing is on the wall for Mnangagwa he may not get to succeed Robert Mugabe. Systematically, his praise singers have been fired from strategic party and government positions .These include Johannes Tomana, the former Attorney General,former Bikita west MP, Munyaradzi Kereke, former youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu,most recently businessman Energy Mutodi, war veteran leader Christopher Mutswangwa and a few others. What is interesting is that, in a typical tsholotsho incident style, he denies involvement with them and does not lift a finger to defend them when they are under siege.

So, what is likely to happen between now and the ZANU PF conference in December. Well, it is no secret that Mugabe’s health continues to deteriorate despite the best of health care.He is at an advanced age, he may die suddenly. We now know that Sekeramayi has the higher authority on developments thereafter. If Mugabe remains healthy he plans to run as ZANU PF candidate, win and possibly handover to Sydney Sekeramayi towards the end of his last five year term. – www.lloydmsipa.com