HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has a lot of homework to do ahead of next year’s decisive polls amid revelations that allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa have hatched an improved version of the 2008 Bhora Musango strategy to shipwreck his re-election bid.
By Fungi Kwaramba
Relations in the ruling party have become seriously strained following the suspected poisoning of Mnangagwa last month by alleged rivals who are desperate to destroy his prospects of succeeding Mugabe (93).
Since the alleged poisoning of Mnangagwa, Mugabe and his wife, Grace, have accused the Midlands and Masvingo provinces of fanning tribalism and spreading hate through false claims of witchcraft.
The first family was said to have been hurt by allegations that Mnangagwa ate ice cream from their dairy firm, which was laced with poison.
But the 75 year old has issued a statement denying that he ate ice cream at the Gwanda interface rally where the alleged poison incident is said to have happened.
Fresh attempts to depose the leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (Znlwva) – the central piece Mnangagwa’s jig-saw puzzle – have inflamed the discord.
Mnangagwa’s allies, according to Zanu PF insiders, are now contemplating employing the same tactics used by supporters of former vice president Joice Mujuru to hit back at Mugabe and the Generation 40 (G40) faction that has coalesced around the veteran nationalist.
In 2008, in a rebellion which is said to have been led by officials loyal to Mujuru and her late husband Solomon — and which came to be known as Bhora Musango — MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and Zanu PF hands down in that year’s historic, albeit hotly-disputed polls.
In that election, Mujuru’s supporters voted for their Members of Parliament but sabotaged the Zanu PF leader.
However, the results of the elections were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities, amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former Zanu PF bigwigs.
In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in a murderous orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed in cold blood, forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.
Mugabe went on to stand in a widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.
However, the Southern African Development Community and the rest of the international community would have none of it, forcing Mugabe to share power with Tsvangirai for five years to prevent the country from imploding completely.
The Daily News can report that MPs and Senators in provinces where Mnangagwa is said to enjoy popular support are said to be planning a revolt called Bhora Mudziva – in a revolt similar to that of 2008.
Mnangagwa is nicknamed crocodile. Those that are pushing for the Bhora Mudziva campaign claim once the ball settles in the river, it cannot be retrieved because it will be trapped inside the jaws of the deadly reptile.
Apart from referencing it only on Mnangagwa, they claim Bhora Mudziva could also benefit Tsvangirai whose totem is Save (Dziva).
Media reports have consistently but not factually claimed that both Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai have their secret pact, which could see a power- sharing arrangement in the event that Mugabe either retires or is incapacitated.
War veterans, who have publicly put their weight behind Mnangagwa, are insisting that they will launch a blitzkrieg around the country to ensure Mugabe loses next elections if he does not call for a special congress this year that will settle the thorny succession issue once and for all.
Contacted for comment yesterday, (Znlwva) spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, said they would keep their strategies a closely-guarded secret.
“It will be clumsy of me to talk about our strategy when we know we have several enemies around us so I will not say a thing,” he said.
However, Znlwva chairman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, a close ally of Mnangagwa, hinted last week on the plot to play a Bhora Mudziva on Mugabe.
“We are now very clear that Mugabe is not the Zanu PF candidate for next year’s election. The candidate for Zanu PF is a G40 person by the name Sydney Sekeramayi and his spirit medium (Grace). That’s the candidate which they announced in public.
“When you cook fish and you want it to taste nicely, you have to wrap it with an aluminium foil. Likewise, the candidature of Mugabe is an aluminium foil wrapping Sekeramayi. So we are not going to be fooled to go into an election where the candidate is a foil, no.
“So Mr President, let us go for an extraordinary congress immediately for people to choose their leader ahead of the elections.
“If he wins at the congress, he is a winner with us, but if he decides to go to elections as a G40 aluminium foil, I am sorry we will meet on the ground and the he will leave office with the alumni of a G40 defeat,” warned Mutsvangwa.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, an alleged kingpin of a rival Generation 40 (G40) faction, confirmed the Bhora Mudziva plot when he warned party supporters against employing another revolt against Mugabe on micro blogging site, Twitter.
“Make no mistake about it, if you try to play the so-called bhora mudziva; you will drown!” wrote Moyo.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said they are banking on the disjointed opposition as well as the ruling party’s deep pockets to steamroll past the opposition at the polls.
“In Zanu PF, we have one candidate and that is…Mugabe who was elected at a congress and that was reaffirmed by all provinces. If they are people who are thinking of engineering the party’s loss that is their thinking,” said Khaya Moyo.
Political analysts predict a not-so straightforward election for Zanu PF in 2018.
They argue that a united opposition contesting as single bloc could snatch victory under the noses of Mugabe and his deeply divided lieutenants.
Commenting on the possibility of Zanu PF factions sabotaging the party in next year’s elections, political analyst, Alex Magaisa, said this was very likely considering the enmity between the two factions.
“Neither of the two factions (Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste and the G40) like each other very much and I cannot see why one will support the other in their quest for power.
“In the past, they have been able to close ranks but this time the acrimony is escalating to levels that may be impossible to bridge,” Magaisa said. Daily News