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

zimrays@gmail.com

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Elections 2013- Analysis

 

 

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Elections and Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe

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According to the principles of Security Sector Reform as set out in the United Nation’s Secretary General’s 2008 report entitled “Securing Peace and Development: The Role of the United Nations in Support of Security Sector Reform,” Security Sector Reform (SSR) is described as “a process of assessment, review and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation of the security sector led by national authorities.” In the same report, the Security Sector is defined as “the structures, institutions and personnel responsible for the management, provision and oversight of security in a country.” The report also states that the goal of SSR is “the enhancement of effective and accountable security for the state and its peoples without discrimination and with full respect of human rights and the rule of law.”

Zimbabwe’s top securocrats have recently rejected the notion of SSR in the country, arguing that it fortifies a western-led anti-ZANU-PF regime change agenda. This has consequently ruffled the political feathers of pro-SSR parties in the country who are demanding that reforms are enacted before elections can take place.

It should be observed that when it comes to security sector related issues the world is full of contradictions. In fact, while it is acknowledged that SSR is intended to promote “human rights and the rule of law,” it also controversially argued that so-called non-democratic regimes such as Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisa are most urgently in need of SSR. This is a misconception.

Instead of attempting to delve into the debate of SSR in Zimbabwe, I deem it a priority to argue that on the contemporary global arena, no single nation-state has the moral high ground when it comes to the relationship between the security sector, human rights and the rule of law.

For instance, Professor Christof Heyns, the U.N. special rapporteur on executions recently stated that robotic weapons systems with varying degrees of autonomy and deadliness are being tested or used by the United States and Britain (countries often perceived to be at the forefront of the human rights discourse) without debate on moral and legal issues. These weapons, commonly known as ‘drones’ are believed to have killed more civilians than militants in Pakistan and Yemen. Furthermore, the controversy surrounding Guantanamo bay, as well as the recent furore ignited by CIA employee Edward Snowden’s leaks of state secrets all point towards the furtive and duplicitous nature of security establishments even in the so-called open societies of the world.

Elsewhere, Turkish security forces have recently cracked down on thousands of anti-government supporters in Taksim Square, resulting in four deaths and thousands of injuries. This is the same Turkey that is currently holding almost 100 journalists in police custody according to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, yet also the same Turkey that not long ago had anything but vitriol for the Syrian government’s crackdown on ‘rebels.’ As I write this there is no mention of security sector reform in Turkey.

The irony resonates in the SADC facilitator’s tendency to call for security sector reforms in Zimbabwe before elections. Yet, when Jacob Zuma was asked to answer for the recent surreptitious involvement of South African troops in the Central African Republic, he responded: “The problem in South Africa is that everybody wants to run the country… there must also be an appreciation that military matters and decisions are not matters that are discussed in public.” No need to mention Marikana.

Back in Harare, The MDC-T is calling for security sector reforms before elections can be held this year. Yet, recently MDC-T security guards allegedly assaulted Zimbabwe Independent journalist Herbert Moyo and barred him from covering a demonstration at the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters. No mention of reforms there. Now what can I conclude of all this? Nothing, except that all is fair in love and war.

Tau Tawengwa

Executive Director