Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Factional Struggles Continue Inside Zimbabwe Ruling Party
September 23, 2015
Tichaona ZIndoga
Zimbabwe Herald

There was a brawl at the National Heroes Acre during the burial of Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu over the weekend. While it is preposterous to declare that the incident “overshadowed” the event, or indeed “jolted” the ruling Zanu-PF, one thing is quite clear.

The brawl, it has emerged, stemmed from a factional battle that is apparently underway in the ruling Zanu-PF, or more specifically, clashes between young zealots who are purporting to be fronting different leaders in the party.

In this case, the clashes, according to NewsDay which quoted Zanu-PF Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, happened after a “physical attack on party members who went to the burial wearing campaign T-shirts carrying President Mugabe and the late former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s picture on the front and a message praising the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe on the back.

There is scant doubt that this was a factional clash and more evident is the abuse of the name of the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.

This is not for the first time: her name has been abused in ways more than one and for different political causes — if evolving ones.

Let us demonstrate the streak of abuse for those that may not have appreciated it.

Before we got to know factionalism as it lately manifested in the ruling party and it was Zanu-PF vs the opposition — rather than Zanu-PF vs Zanu-PF — the name of the First Lady was used by the opposition as an object of hate and ridicule, mostly unfairly.

The idea was to portray the First Lady as some kind of the infamous Queen Marie-Antoinette of yore, hoping to shore up anger against her.

The hope was to use the same anger and acrimony to torpedo her husband, President Mugabe.

The First Lady may have married a politician, and with it comes all the mud, but certainly it is unfair and cowardly for the opponents of her husband to try to fight him by proxy.

The second streak of abuse happened at the height of the factional wars in the ruling party last year, during which period the First Lady announced herself as a politician in her own right.

She made a mark for herself by denouncing a clique led by disgraced former Vice President Joice Mujuru which was bent on unconstitutionally removing President Mugabe from office and was heavily involved in corruption.

It is clear that the First Lady was doing this for, and in herself, as a politician, and in the filial interest of the President.

As it turned out, her crusade was hijacked by yet another clique of individuals who went on to use her name to achieve political ends.

This was self-evident.

Connected to this has been the extortionist and criminal streak as some unscrupulous individuals fleeced people and organisations in the name of the First Lady.

Dubious trusts and funds were created in the name of the First Lady and equally dubious housing schemes purporting to glorify the name of Amai Mugabe were created.

As we speak, some of these unscrupulous individuals are facing the music.

It also goes without mention that those that felt aggrieved by the First Lady actively objectified her and went directly against President Mugabe.

This is where one Jabulani Sibanda comes in.

In October last year, Sibanda infamously said that the First Lady had staged a “bedroom coup”.

Interestingly, some sections of the polity have increasingly sought to portray Amai Mugabe as the power behind her husband’s throne and this somewhat reached a crescendo when the firebrand politician revealed that Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekhezela Mphoko consulted her.

In light of the evolving succession fights in Zanu-PF, the First Lady’s name has loomed large, again — and abused.

You can situate the brawl at the Heroes Acre in it.

Lately, there are some factionalists who have been wearing T-shirts with whatever message they want but refrained by the legend, “Munhu wese kuna Amai”.

It is unfortunate, as ever as it is sickening.

It becomes even more shocking and unfortunate that Zanu-PF members resort to using the name of the First Lady, especially for factional advancement.

The first thing is that it shows us the bankruptcy of those behind the gimmick.

Secondly, this inadvertently besmirches President Mugabe.

If a Zanu-PF member uses the First Lady’s name it means that they are telling us that the principal in the party, President Mugabe, is no longer the centre of power.

This in turn means that whoever does so is as good as the opposition to President Mugabe.

We all know the history of those who seek to portray President Mugabe as losing grip of leadership.

They are the opposition — including the likes of Jabulani Sibanda.

Effectively, whoever was wearing, and is to be seen wearing, a T-shirt and otherwise distributing or bearing the message purporting to glorify Amai Mugabe is impugning President Mugabe.

You cannot have a T-shirt commanding the people to rally behind the First Lady when the President is there.

That is called promoting factionalism and those behind the messaging must be frowned upon.

They should be made to face the music — the same music that those that were stealing in the name of the First Lady are now variously facing.

They are political crooks.

Worse than that, they are singing from the same script with the opposition — albeit in different languages.

Where the opposition is, and has been, calling on President Mugabe to resign or vacate office on the grounds of age or alleged misgovernance, the Zanu-PF factionalists are seemingly acknowledging the same and putting to us the First Lady as the centre of power.

This is a serious issue.

While those that have been following this innocently are called upon to reconsider the weight and implication thereof, there is also an instructiveness to making sure that those that have been propagating this worldview be brought to book.

Abusing the name of the First Lady is bad enough but impugning President Mugabe is a serious crime that should not go unpunished.

Grace allies receive threatening texts

September 23, 2015
Zimbabwe NewsDay

ZANU PF’s succession wars took a sinister turn on Sunday when four legislators — all believed to belong to a faction fighting to block Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe — received threatening cellphone text messages from an anonymous Econet subscriber warning them against their machinations.


Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere (Mt Darwin South), Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao (non-constituency MP), Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo (Tsholotsho North) and Harare South MP Shadreck Mashayamombe (Harare South) are said to have received threats.

This followed an ugly incident at the burial of national hero Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Saturday, where a group of Zanu PF activists threatened to assault rival party members who attended the event wearing campaign T-shirts bearing pictures of Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo with a message at the back praising First Lady Grace Mugabe.

The four — who are believed to be members of the G40 — backed the First Lady in her crusade to torpedo former Vice-President Joice Mujuru in the run-up to Zanu PF’s congress last year.

Mashayamombe and Kasukuwere yesterday confirmed receiving the messages, saying they had independently carried out investigations and discovered that the texts had been sent using an Econet number registered to a subscriber (name withheld), but vowed not to be cowed into submission.

But Moyo and Zhuwao were not available for comment.

Kasukuwere said he would file a report with the police. It was not clear whether he had reported the case by the time of going to print last night.

“It’s nothing to me and I will not bother myself with that. I will just make (a report) because you wouldn’t know what this character is and up to,” he said.

Mashayamombe said: “I am not afraid at all, it’s nothing to me and more so, I did nothing wrong on that day, I only protected Zanu PF supporters who were being harassed by some youths. I am not into factional wars, but I stand for the President and his leadership and support Amai (Grace) as the Women’s League boss.”

Repeated efforts to get in touch with the owner of the Econet number from which the threats were allegedly sent, were not fruitful last night, as the mobile phone was switched off.

Mashayamombe said he did not know anyone with the name of the subscriber.

In the text message, Mashayamombe was ordered to “appear” before them and stop embarrassing a person they described as “mudhara” (boss). “Guys, let us sit down and talk over what you did yesterday (Saturday), you exposed ‘mudhara wedu’ (our boss) at the Heroes Acre that he is fighting the First Lady,” the message read.

“You are destroying that Shaddy, if you fail to come for a peace deal we are going to deal with you Shaddy and your surrogates. Enough is enough, you don’t deserve our respect, you know how to contact us, Grace is not going far, 10 hours to act.”

It is understood that the rival faction believe the messages on the T-shirts were meant to spite Mnangagwa following a recent interview with New African magazine, where he insinuated that Nkomo was a sell-out.

Zanu PF is embroiled in factional fights, with Kasukuwere allegedly leading a group of Young Turks, also known as G40, working with Grace and de-campaigning Mnangagwa.

Although Grace has publicly distanced herself from the succession race saying her relationship with the two VPs was cordial, party insiders said she might use the Nkomo political gaffe to raise her stock, particularly in the Matabeleland region, which has historically deep affection for the late Father Zimbabwe.

Recently, War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, believed to be a Mnangagwa ally, ordered Kasukuwere to publicly apologise for describing the ex-freedom fighters as “drunkards and taxi drivers”.

Yesterday Mashayamombe said also he had to intervene to stop the all-female Mbare Chimurenga Choir members from undressing in public in protest against their harassment for wearing the T-shirts.

“They (Zanu PF youths angered by the message on the T-shirts) wanted to force them (Mbare Chimurenga Choir members) to remove the T-shirts and I moved in to stop that. They were now threatening to remove the T-shirts as a sign of protest against harassment and show the leadership that they were not happy with the kind of harassment they were getting,” he said.

The T-shirt saga has opened a can of worms in the fractious Zanu PF, with Mnangagwa sympathisers claiming the regalia was part of a smear campaign to force him out of the succession race.

This came as Grace has reportedly ordered that the T-shirts should be worn at public and State functions.

Kasukuwere yesterday they had not yet completed investigations into the skirmishes.

“It is too soon, we have no progress to report,” he said.

Mutsvangwa declined to be drawn into the matter saying: “Ask Mashayamombe, he is the one who was pictured in relation to the issue. As war veterans, we are united more than ever and are concentrating on business and economic emancipation. We are way past the stage of petty squabbles and in our collectivity have accepted the leadership chosen by the party across the spectrum.”

Zimbabwe: Grace Wants 'Clean Sweep' of Mugabe's Office After Speech Debacle

Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly demanded an investigation into the debacle that resulted in President Robert Mugabe reading a wrong speech at the opening of parliament last week.

The incident caused humiliation for Mugabe, 91, with the opposition calling for his resignation, saying he had become "too old" to rule the country.

Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba, blamed a mix-up in Mugabe's office for the error.

"The mix-up happened in his secretarial office, therefore the delivery in parliament should be set aside. The error is sincerely regretted and corrective measures are being considered," Charamba was quoted as saying at the time.

Mugabe's speech was the same one he delivered during a state of the nation address (Sona) on August 25, in which he pinned his hopes on China to help revive Zimbabwe's struggling economy.


Following the fiasco, News Day reported on Tuesday that Grace wanted a "massive clean-up" in Mugabe's office.

"There will be blood on the floor. Dr Amai (Grace) has demanded a clean sweep of the OPC (Office of the President and Cabinet), especially everyone who deals with his speeches," a source privy to the goings-on was quoted as saying.

The report also quoted other sources as saying that Mugabe "went through the correct speech" a day before the opening on parliament, "made the necessary adjustments" and was satisfied that all was in order.

It is believed the speech was swapped at the parliament building.

"The idea was to not only to embarrass the president, but to show the world that he [Mugabe] is not only old, but also incapable of presiding over the affairs of the State," the source said.

News Day reported last week that heads were expected to roll soon in the office of the president and cabinet amid reports that a witch-hunt had already been launched to sniff out "culprits" who caused Mugabe's embarrassment.

The report said a number of officials had been summoned to explain the gaffe.

Source: News24

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