ZANU-PF stalwart Tshinga Dube has warned that the ugly factionalism and succession wars plaguing the ruling party are derailing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to resolve the country’s decades-long political and economic challenges.Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News yesterday, the former Cabinet minister said it was imperative that Zanu-PF bigwigs ended their brawls to give Mnangagwa a chance to deal with the myriad crises.
This comes as the ruling party’s deadly tribal and factional demons are once again wreaking havoc in the former liberation movement.
It also comes as preparations for Zanu-PF’s pending district co-ordinating committee (DCC) polls around the country – which were banned during the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe – have been dogged by ugly factionalism.
“Bigwigs must wait for the Zanu-PF congress if they want to succeed Mnangagwa. This is where the succession issue can be dealt with. All the current fights are useless.
“For now, I think those who are talking about succession must wait and give … Mnangagwa time to deal with the current economic problems. Succession is decided by congress,” the forthright Dube told the Daily News.
Zanu-PF’s elective congress is due in December 2022, a few months before the country’s next harmonised elections. The ruling party also indicated a year ago that Mnangagwa would be its presidential candidate then.
But recent developments suggest that there are manoeuvres by some party chefs to challenge Mnangagwa, who toppled Mugabe from power in November 2017.
Dube said it was not rocket science that Mnangagwa needed the party’s full support to deliver optimal services to Zimbabweans.
“President Mnangagwa must be supported to execute his mandate, not factionalism and unnecessary succession wars. These are not necessary at all.
“There is an urgent need for unity of purpose in the party,” the veteran of the country’s liberation war said further.
Zanu-PF political commissar Victor Matemadanda admitted recently that the ruling party was plagued by tribalism and regionalism – warning Zanu-PF structures that failure to nip this in the bud would have serious ramifications for its survival.
Matemadanda, who is also the deputy minister of Defence, emphasised that the current divisions in the party centred on tribalism.
“We respected (the late vice president Joshua) Nkomo as our leader. People from Plumtree up to Mutoko sang songs praising Nkomo.
“Our relationship should not be premised on tribalism and regionalism. Some are saying let us wait and see whether we are going to support a certain leader or not.
“That’s what you are doing here in Harare … this habit has grown in Harare. It is now like a huge tree and you are saying we are tribal specialists.
“This is not good for the party and it must stop,” Matemadanda warned while addressing Zanu-PF structures in Harare.
He added that he was having sleepless nights, with party cadres phoning him regularly regarding the many problems bedevilling the party.
“I give everyone my numbers … you hear during midnight some leaders calling, telling me about party problems.”
During Mugabe’s last few years in power, Mnangagwa was involved in a hammer and tongs war with the Generation 40 (G40) faction which had coalesced around the nonagenarian’s erratic wife Grace.
The vicious brawling took a nasty turn when Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned by his rivals during one of Mugabe’s highly-divisive youth interface rallies in Gwanda in 2017.
Mnangagwa’s fate was eventually sealed on November 6, 2017 when Mugabe fired his long-time lieutenant a few days after the then VP’s allies had booed the irascible Grace during a tense rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
However, tables were dramatically turned on Mugabe when the military rolled in their tanks on November 15 of that year and deposed the long-ruling geriatric from power – which saw a number of alleged G40 kingpins fleeing into self-imposed exile soon afterwards.
But despite Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power, some ambitious bigwigs in the former liberation movement continue to stand accused of plotting to unseat the new Zanu-PF leader.
This comes as political analysts have said a proposed new law which seeks to empower Mnangagwa to handpick his deputies could see him deciding who takes over after him, both as Zanu-PF and the country’s new leader.
Parliament recently held public hearings across the country, ahead of Constitutional Amendment Number 2 Bill before the august House – where it is expected to sail through as Zanu-PF enjoys a super majority.
However, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Daily News earlier this year that there was absolutely no need for Mnangagwa to have a succession plan, as the country’s next leader would be chosen by the people through an election.
This comes after many government critics blasted the planned move by authorities to amend the country’s Constitution, to scrap the presidential running mate clause in the national charter – which legal experts also disapprove of.
Ziyambi told the Daily News that Mnangagwa’s successor would not be decided by the president, but by the people of Zimbabwe through an election.
“The running mate clause, if you recall, was contentious right from the start. That’s the reason why you notice that it was deferred for 10 years.
“What was happening is that the president was allowed through the sixth schedule to appoint his VPs. It (the running mate clause) was never a popular clause right from the start.
“The system where people vote is different from a chieftainship where you say you need a succession plan … every five years the question of succession arises through the ballot,” Ziyambi said.
He added that another complication of the running mate clause was its potential to create two centres of power.
“This is a borrowed concept from America. It does not work in our democratic societies here in Africa as it creates two centres of power.
“If you have a president you need one who is able to fire his own deputies. With a running mate, you need Parliament to institute impeachment proceedings to remove whoever is VP.
“We don’t need that … like the scenario which happened in Malawi when (Bingu wa) Mutharika died, and the (ruling) party (there) no longer wanted Joyce Banda but were forced to have her … Those who are saying it’s the best practice are totally lost,” Ziyambi said further.
This comes after the Law Society of Zimbabwe said the government was out of order for trying to amend the country’s Constitution to get rid of the running mate clause.