2018 elections: Factionalism, Tribalism in ZANU PF structures

 

 

“….Saka iniwo ndakatumwaa ne magamatox. Magamatox akati nyaya yaVaChamisa ndochaiyo… magamatox ndo aizikanwa seZANU, akabva akaita imwe chikamu chonzi G40… gamatox 40 iri, raiti kuti toda munhu ane 40 years kuti atonge, zvino 40 years dzaka bata VaChamisa….”

 

 

( “….And I too was sent by the Gamatox faction. The Gamatox faction say that Chamisa is the real deal… the Gamatox faction is what was really known as ZANU, and then it evolved into what became known as the G40 faction… the Gamatox-40 faction said they wanted people who are 40 years and below, and now here is Mr Chamisa who is 40 years old….”)

 

 

These were the utterances made by Zimbabwe People First Opposition leader Kudakwashe Bhaskiti during an MDC-Alliance rally which took place in Chiweshe on Sunday 25 March 2018.

 

 

Many opposition leaders addressed that sizeable and largely youthful crowd before Nelson Chamisa took to the podium.

 

 

Some of the leaders who attended that rally are: Mr Tendai Biti, Retired Brigadier General Mutambara and Professor Welshman Ncube.

 

 

All in all, the entire event- particularly Mr Bhaskiti’s soliloquy- was a depiction of what should be taken as a serious political warning by  ZANU-PF if that party wants achieve the electoral victory that it envisages.

 

 

I will explain why in this article.

 

 

The strategy of the MDC-Alliance

 

 

After the 2013 elections, many of us thought that the Zimbabwean opposition was politically dead, and that it wouldn’t resurrect. This was especially true after the post-2013 MDC-T split which saw Mr Tendai Biti and Mr Elton Mangoma forming their own political parties.

 

 

However, not long after that, ZANU-PF’s internal factional wars gave a lifeline to what was an all but dead opposition.

 

 

After its 2014 congress ZANU-PF’s former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru and many of her supporters including Kudakwashe Bhaskiti were fired from the party.

 

 

Immediately after that, Dr Joice Mujuru formed her own party, and straightaway engaged in coalition talks with Dr Morgan Tsvangirai. As a result, in December 2016, opposition parties met in Cape Town South Africa and that is where the outline of the current MDC-Alliance coalition was made.

 

 

Many analysts mistakenly overlooked that Cape Town indaba as simply another meaningless talk-shop where the guests would be treated to good food and endless pina coladas .

 

 

Yet, there are three pivotal themes that emerged out of those Cape-Town deliberations that are manifesting in the MDC-Alliance’s campaigns today.

 

 

The first thing is the principle of wielding the strongest candidate at every level- that is, at presidential, constituency and ward levels.

 

 

If the opposition had not made the decision to unite, then its candidates would have been scattered and this would have split the opposition vote at ward, constituency and Presidential levels.

 

 

A splintered opposition was never going to stand a chance against a united ZANU-PF.

 

For that reason, the coalition talks in Cape Town were a well-funded, and calculated effort to patch the rifts between the opposition parties and to ensure that come 2018, they would yield their strongest presidential candidate and also strong candidates at constituency and ward levels.

 

 

They have now achieved that goal and furthermore, having recognized how divisive primary elections were within their ranks in the past, they decided not to have primary elections in the MDC-Alliance.

 

 

The second theme that emerged out of the Cape Town talks is the principle that democratic political formations must contain diverse leaders from diverse races, tribes, classes, professions and regions.

 

 

Such a diverse group of leaders will strategically represent  the coalition at presidential, constituency and ward levels.

 

 

That is why today, at every single MDC-Alliance rally they allow professors, lawyers, youths, a retired brigadier general ,pastors, women, farmers and even former ZANU-PF leaders to address the audience.

 

 

The goal is to create the impression that the coalition represents every Zimbabwean, across regional, professional, and political lines and this ultimately creates a strong impression of cohesion and solidarity in the MDC-Alliance.

 

 

Finally, The Cape-Town meetings of 2016, and 2017 took cognizance of the bloodletting that has occurred in ZANU-PF through factionalism. First it was the 2014 “Gamatox” purges, followed by the recent “G-40” purges.

 

 

While it is true that only 11 MPs were expelled from ZANU-PF since November 2017, there has, however, been an ongoing silent and secretive campaign conducted by political certain opportunists and saboteurs within ZANU-PF structures aimed at frustrating sitting parliamentarians by de-campaigning them and labelling them as ‘members of G-40.”

 

 

As a result of this campaign of sabotage within ZANU-PF, the MDC-Alliance has deliberately packaged a political message that is intended to entice voters that have been frustrated and purged during the “Gamatox” and “G-40” purges.

 

 

That is a pivotal part of the opposition’s 2018 campaign strategy and it is directed at grass-root ZANU-PF supporters. It is a strategy that is currently working.

 

 

That is the reason why we hear Kudakwashe Bhaskiti today saying that “Gamatox” became “Gamatox-40” and that “Gamatox-40” has put its weight behind a 40 year old Chamisa. That message is not random- it is well-calculated and intentional.

 

 

ZANU-PF Factionalism, Tribalism

 

 

Personally, I give credit to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. For the last few months it has been refreshing and encouraging to see Zimbabwe represented at Davos, and at other business platforms such as the CEO Forum. I, for one, am excited that Zimbabwe has re-opened for business.

 

 

Also to his credit, at the ZANU-PF extraordinary congress in December 2017, President Mnangagwa stated that “my presidency should not be perceived as the rise in fortunes of a region, or a tribe or a totem, no. My presidency is about a united ZANU-PF, a national party with a national outlook.”

 

 

He went further to say that “let us reassert discipline, order and harmony in the party, and put behind us victimization and witch-hunting of the past.”

 

 

In light of these statements, one wonders why there are ongoing silent purges in ZANU-PF, particularly at cell, district and provincial levels.

 

 

According to reports, several ZANU-PF members have been denied the opportunity to submit their CVs by provincial officials on the basis that they were “Mugabe’s people.”

 

 

If ZANU-PF is sincere in its calls for unity then it should expeditiously stop the machinations of mischievous malcontents who have been persisting in their short-sighted and divisive chicanery.

 

 

The danger of tribalism is that it  is a catalyst of conflict, often of a bloody nature in the African context. It must be stopped wherever it rears its head.

 

 

One example occurred recently in Epworth, where a clique aligned to certain ZANU-PF individuals who are eyeing that constituency reportedly pelted the sitting MP with stones while she was addressing a local government meeting.

 

 

The allegation is that her ZANU-PF rivals are orchestrating violence against her in attempt to frustrate her into not contesting in the primary elections.

 

 

Furthermore, in other parts of Harare and in other provinces, there are reports that certain youth league leaders are conniving with saboteurs to frustrate sitting MPs and Senators into not contesting in the party’s primary elections.

 

 

Of course, if the surge of tribalism persists in ZANU-PF, then the consequences are likely to reflect at the 2018 polls.

 

 

Tribalism and factionalism does not only cause division in a political party.

 

 

These twin evils also cause frustration and apathy among a supporters, and in ZANU-PF’s case, this is true at provincial, district, branch and cell levels.

 

 

It’s simple maths. Zimbabwe has 10 provinces and 59 districts. Let’s make a low estimate and assume that as a result of these acts of tribalism, factionalism frustration among party members occurs, and 5000 votes in each  district are lost to apathy or to protest on election day.

 

 

That amounts to 295000 votes countrywide , a sizeable number that is too big to ignore.

 

 

You see, given these reported incidents of sabotage aimed at frustrating candidates in ZANU-PF, the opposition MDC-Alliance is deliberately putting the likes of Kudakwashe Bhaskiti forward at its rallies in attempt to lure frustrated ZANU-PF grass-root supporters and convince them to vote for the opposition.

 

 

So far, that strategy is working.

 

 

If ZANU-PF wants to win in a truly free and fair election in 2018, then that party would need to expeditiously arrest the surge of tribalism and factionalism that is currently decimating its lower structures.

 

 

Tau Tawengwa

 

Executive Director

 

Email

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Zimbabwe 2018 Elections: Voter Behavior and Demographics

 

The 2018 election is perhaps the most interesting election in Zimbabwe’s history so far, for a number of reasons.

 

Firstly, It is the first election in the country’s history that does not include Mr Robert Mugabe on the ballot paper.

 

Secondly,in this election the predominance of voters are below the age of forty- about sixty percent in fact.

 

For that reason, many analysts and politicians are putting their money on youthful candidates prevailing at ward, constituency and national levels.

 

The overall logic that youthful candidates are likely to prevail because the majority of voters are youthful is understandable, but misguided all the same.

 

The fact is that elections are complex processes, and voter patterns and behaviors are complex as well.

 

A number of factors come into play when attempting to deduce voter patterns within the various demographics in the forth-coming elections.

 

I will attempt to discuss some of those factors here.

 

Age and Region

 

Nearly 5.3 million Zimbabweans have registered to vote in the 2018 elections.

 

This is comparable with 5.8 million who registered to vote in the 2013 harmonized elections.

 

Within the 5.3 million registered voters, there are three subgroups theoretically speaking.

 

These are: 1) “non-voters” (those who are registered but never have voted) 2) “occasional voters” and 3) “frequent voters”, that is, those who vote in every election.

 

It is often the case that the frequent voters are the elderly in society (or the forty percent who are over forty years old) and this group consists of people who have a sense of ‘civic duty’ and citizenship.

 

The “non-voters” who have registered to vote for the first time are an erratic group.

 

This is because it is not guaranteed that first time voters will spend election-day in queues waiting for their turn to vote.

 

In fact there is a high chance that many youthful first-time voters will treat election day as a holiday and take the day off.

 

It is indisputable that the figure of 5.3 million registered voters was arrived at over a period of years.

 

therefore it is highly unlikely that 5.3 million voters will turn out at polling stations on election day,especially considering that the 2013 harmonized elections saw only 59 percent of registered voters turning up to vote on election day.

 

Furthermore, the generally held ‘rational model’ for judging voter participation suggests that individuals will decide to vote when the benefits of voting exceeds the cost of voting.

 

This means that voters will participate in elections when they feel they have something tangible to gain, or lose.

 

In light of this we are likely to experience a high voter turnout in agricultural and rural areas, which consist largely of people  who have benefited from land reform or agricultural inputs.

 

These people will turn out in their numbers because they have something tangible to gain or lose and are therefore likely to vote.

 

However the urban areas are perhaps more likely to experience voter apathy because of a lack of tangible benefits for voting.

 

It is likely that Harare Metropolitan and Bulawayo Metropolitan will suffer from voter apathy among first time voters.

 

Gender

 

While many analysts are putting forward the argument that sixty percent of voters are below the age of forty, they are forgetting to mention that about fifty-four percent of our national population consists of women.

 

This means that we can assume that fifty four percent of registered voters (even those below the age of forty) are women, and this will have a significant impact on the electoral outcome.

 

Research from different parts of the world reveals that women vote at higher rates than men.

 

Furthermore It is also my perception that a significant number of women voters relate to women candidates irrespective political affiliation, primarily because women leaders understand issues relating to women far much more than men.

 

For this reason, we may find that women voters may prefer to choose female candidates at ward, constituency and presidential levels in the 2018 elections.

 

Such a scenario will see the Mujuru-Khupe alliance secure a significant number of votes in the forthcoming elections.

 

 

Political Affiliation

 

I think it’s fair to say that historically in Zimbabwe, the members of a political party will automatically vote for their party.

 

Of course, there have been incidents where this did not happen such as the 2008 ‘bhora musango’ campaign which saw traditional ZANU-PF members voting for their ward and constituency candidates, but not for their presidential candidates.

 

In 2018, I do not foresee a ‘bhora-musango’ scenario.

 

However, the MDC-T political infighting that has occurred over the last few months may see the Chamisa led MDC-Alliance lose a significant number of votes among party members, particularly in the Matebeleland regions.

 

Nevertheless, ultimately, this election will be determined not so much by the popularity of the Presidential candidates, but rather by the popularity of the ward and parliamentary candidates as these are the people who represent their parties in the various communities on a daily basis.

 

As things stand, it still seems as though ZANU-PF has the upper hand, particularly in rural Zimbabwe.

 

Tau Tawengwa

 

Executive Director

 

Email

zimrays@gmail.com

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Davos and 2018 elections: What to Expect

 

 

 

 

 

In 2017, I made the argument that ZANU-PF would win the 2018 harmonized elections based on three fundamental reasons.

 

 

Firstly, ZANU-PF has a more conscientized membership than any other political movement in the country, where political consciousness refers to the levels of awareness and knowledgebility around a party’s political and ideological positions among its core and potential supporters.

 

 

Secondly, the success of the Command Agriculture government initiative in the 2016/2017 agricultural season will resonate in the 2018 elections as an advantage for ZANU-PF.

 

 

This is because government has enough stored food in its silos to feed the population affected by this season’s drought. In this light, ZANU-PF will raise Command Agriculture as one of its key electoral points.

 

 

The third reason is the youth vote. Statistically, about 60-65% of the population is below forty, and between the 2013 and 2018, it is ZANU-PF that has had the most active and visible youth league among all the major political formations in the country.

 

 

Furthermore, the MDC-T’s “no reform no election” lobby which saw the country’s main opposition party boycotting by-elections since the 2013 harmonized elections until the MDC-Alliance was formed in 2017 means that for four years the country’s main opposition has lost the opportunity to conscientize the electorate on its policy and ideological positions.

 

 

Put plainly the opposition’s “no reform-no election” agenda was a disservice to itself.

 

 

Nevertheless, the key aspect as to why ZANU-PF will win in 2018 is centered on events which began in November 2018.

 

 

 

The Post-Mugabe era

 

 

 

The opposition’s main political impediment since 2000 is that they centered their politics around the “Mugabe must go” mantra, and they credited themselves as the only political party which could unseat him.

 

 

Fast-forward to January 2018, and we find ourselves in a Zimbabwe, where former President Mugabe has recently stepped down, and the credit for his deposition lies within ZANU-PF in general, and with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and VP Chiwenga in particular.

 

 

In this light, voters that previously sympathized with the MDC’s “Mugabe must go” politics in previous elections will arguably sympathize with ZANU-PF in the 2018 election, because that is the party that orchestrated his departure.

 

 

Furthermore, the MDC-Alliance’s intense succession intra-party politics will cost that party votes in 2018.

 

 

Yet the main reason why we can expect ZANU-PF to win the elections in 2018 is that there is no other candidate in the country who is able to match President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership.

 

 

That observation is not based upon sentiment or speculation, but upon certain scientific analytical tools.

 

 

Here’s the thing: there is a three-tier criteria for judging leadership and authority in an individual. The best leaders in history arguably possess all three characteristics combined, while lesser leaders possess one or two of the three traits.

 

 

These three characteristics of authority are:

 

 

  • Traditional authority which is legitimated by the sanctity of tradition and traditional leaders. In Zimbabwe, recently, the president of the Chief’s Council acknowledged President Mnangagwa as the rightful Zimbabwean leader consequently implying that he has the necessary traditional authority to lead the country.

 

 

  • Charismatic authority which is found in a leader who inspires others by his personal history and his vision. Leaders like Joshua Nkomo and Nelson Mandela undeniably possessed this trait. In Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s economic vision is inspiring to all Zimbabweans and at this point, Zimbabweans across race and class are willing to give him the opportunity to implement his vision.

 

 

  • Legal-rational authority which is authority that is possessed by an individual owing education and even the bureaucratic positions that a person holds. In our context, President Mnangagwa is a lawyer who has served in government in various ministries including defense, security and finance.

 

 

Essentially, President Mnangagwa inhibits traditional, charismatic and legal-rational authority and therefore the electorate will give him the opportunity to take the country forward.

 

 

Now, I’ve read various reports and opinion pieces arguing that President Mnangagwa should not call for elections in Zimbabwe until fundamental electoral reforms have been implemented.

 

 

This is noted.

 

 

However, after hearing President Mnangagwa reiterate in Davos that Zimbabwe is open for business, and after observing his interactions with world business leaders, I have come to the realization that international business is not going to listen to the calls of a splintered and weak opposition that is struggling to appoint a successor to its longtime leader.

 

 

Furthermore, I’ve noted that investors are primarily concerned with protection of property rights, ease of doing business, and the government’s guarantee that their investments will be safe in the country.

 

 

In this light, the protestations by opposition politicians that reforms should be implemented before elections, alongside their attempts to convince the world not to invest in Zimbabwe until electoral reforms are enacted are naïve and misplaced.

 

 

The fact is that constitutionally an election is due in Zimbabwe, and the constitution must be upheld. Electoral reforms can be implemented after the 2018 harmonized election.

 

 

At the end of the day, after observing Zimbabwe’s 2018 appearance at the World Economic Forum, two things are particularly clear to me: firstly, Zimbabwe is open for business and secondly, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF will win the 2018 harmonized elections.

 

That is what we should expect. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tau Tawengwa

Executive Director

Email

zimrays@gmail.com

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The Politics of Succession

Human Capital refers to the skilled personnel possessed by any state, business or organisation- often referred to as Human Resources.

 

There are two fundamental reasons why human resource departments are generally considered to be part of the pivotal pillars of organisations.

 

The first reason is that despite the rapid technological advances taking place in the world, it will always be skilled human beings who are needed to oversee the technology and to implement technology related policy.

 

Put plainly, you need skilled and experienced people in order to implement policy. This is true at both micro and macro levels. As a result people are the biggest contributors to organizational success.

 

Secondly, it is the department of human resources in any organisation that is tasked with executing succession related organizational policy.

 

In fact, some of the most successful global organisations today task their human resources departments to prioritize succession planning policy as a fundamental part of business strategy.

 

The reason is that organisations without a succession strategy lack continuity when a key senior member exits the bureaucracy for any reason.

 

This is true in all organizations; even political parties, governments, multi-national corporations and family businesses alike. Every bureaucracy needs a clear succession plan.

 

The reason is simple: without a clear succession strategy in place that runs in conjunction with a clear operational strategy, your organisation risks collapsing when any one of the organization’s key leaders exits for any reason.

 

This is because where there is no clear strategy on how to replace a leader  with  someone who is equally as critical, cohesive, commanding and charismatic, then factional conflicts and divisions will inevitably lead to the organisation’s uncompetitiveness and ultimately its demise.

 

As reported in the New York Times concerning succession planning in family businesses, “business owners who do not form a succession plan create a time bomb that can not only destroy their companies but tear apart their families.

 

“A lot of families fight and fight until the business is gone.”

 

I’ve written before about how family businesses typically collapse within three generations.

 

This is portrayed well by a certain Mexican adage which says, “Father, founder of the company, son, rich and grandson poor.”

 

Put plainly, the founder establishes a competitive business, the founder’s children reap the fruits of his labour, yet unfortunately they leave the founder’s grandchildren with a shadow of the original entity.

 

This is usually because of a lack of clear and methodological succession planning.

 

Of course, such a fatalist foreclosure is preventable in family businesses, large corporations and political parties alike.

 

However, such prevention is only pursuant to the implementation of clear and strategic succession policy which runs concurrently with the operational policy of the organization.

 

This brings me to the context of Zimbabwe’s current socio-political quandary.

 

Zimbabwe’s Succession Politics

 

I’m a born free Zimbabwean, meaning that I was born after independence in 1980.

 

This also means that I’ve lived through three phases of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic history: The honey-moon phase, the structural-adjustment phase, and the crises phase which we are still experiencing today.

 

I don’t intend to argue how, when or why we are in this crisis because that has been written about extensively and that literature is readily available.

 

However, the key concern of many a citizen is how do we as a country extricate ourselves from this current crisis and chart a cohesive way forward?

 

The answer is in clear succession planning.

 

It is my view that the reason why so many Zimbabweans were disappointed when Ex-Vice President Dr. Joice Mujuru was expelled from party and government in 2014, and also, why so many people are disappointed by ex-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s expulsion today, is because Zimbabweans had placed their future hopes in these individuals ,who they perceived as the embodiments of a tacit succession plan.

 

Yet, as I mentioned earlier, a succession plan should not be secretive, informal or tacit- it must not be based upon secret agreements done amongst politicians in the liberation days or presently.

 

Instead, a succession plan must be open, clear, transparent and progressive.

 

As it stands, arguably, the palpable political disgruntlement amongst Zimbabweans, particularly war veterans and the Masvingo and Midlands regions is perhaps based upon perceptions of the betrayal  of certain informal and secret agreements done amongst politicians in the liberation days or presently.

 

Unfortunately, however, where there is no record or trace of such informal agreements, then the only way to settle the dispute is through conflict… and conflict is always the culmination of poor succession planning.

 

History shows this to be true in family businesses, corporates and political parties alike.

 

Nevertheless, where  there is an open, public, clear and concise succession plan that is agreed to by all the influential personalities in an organization, then conflict is avoided and continuity prevails.

 

Now, it seems that ZANU-PF has been deliberately expelling its strongest personalities for some time now, notwithstanding at the expense of the socio-political and economic stability of Zimbabwe at large.

 

 

It was Dr. Joice Mujuru yesterday and now it is Honorable Emmerson Mnangagwa today.

 

This systematic elimination of ZANU-PF’s strongmen and women over time has arguably been motivated by a dynastic agenda, which is now being formalized and presented to the public at the expense of historical informal, secret agreements allegedly concluded amongst politicians in the liberation days and recently.

 

Nevertheless the reality is that Zimbabwe is at an all-time low.

 

The way out (as I perceive Eddie Cross has tried to initiate) is to invite all the influential anti-dynastic and disgruntled forces to one negotiating table where they must discuss and establish two things.

 

Firstly, a sound socio-political and economic governance plan designed for Zimbabwe for the next ten years that will be implemented by a Government of National Unity similar to what we saw in the 2009-2013 period.

 

Secondly, the negotiations must draw out a formal, irrevocable, transparent, clear and concise succession plan that will be guaranteed by SADC, the AU and the UN.

 

Such a succession plan will run concurrently alongside the aforementioned economic governance operational strategy.

 

In this light, it is the hope of the Zimbabwean people that Dr. Joice Mujuru, Honorable Emmerson Mnagagwa, The MDC-T, war veterans and other influential, progressive and anti-dynastic forces can come to the negotiating table and chart a way forward.

 

 

Such an arrangement should be mediated by Former president Thabo Mbeki or Cyril Ramaphosa.

 

The fact is that too many Zimbabwean lives and livelihoods across races, regions, and tribes have been sacrificed for too long at the altar of political self-gain and expediency.

 

In all truth fifteen years from now, students of economic history, political science, and sociology will look back at this time and ask why the various disgruntled Zimbabwean leaders could not find common ground to defeat this crisis.

 

This is their opportunity to do exactly that.

 

Tau Tawengwa

Executive Director

Email

zimrays@gmail.com

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