HARARE – In recent weeks, we have seen apparent jostling for power between rival camps in Zanu PF.
It seems some senior figures in the party are angling to replace President Robert Mugabe after his expected departure.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday played down the endorsement of the disputed provincial polls by the Zanu PF politburo as endorsing one faction over another.
This could very well be true. However, Moyo does not quite dispute the existence of factionalism that has beset his party. If he is, then he is contradicting himself.
In fact, he told a weekly only this weekend that: “… what we have on the ground are not ideological factions driven by ideas or policy substance, but we have some kind of mini-personality cults; factions based on support for individuals and not support for the party, that are content-free and that are ideologically bankrupt,” Moyo said, “which is why you see these ill-advised attempts to hold ill-timed and poorly organised provincial elections which have predictably sparked unnecessary controversy …”
Despite Moyo’s post-politburo statement, it would seem, from these earlier remarks, Moyo acknowledges — perhaps for the first time from a senior Zanu PF official — that factions indeed exist within the party.
The post-election events have put our major political parties’ internal democracy to the test.
Moyo denounced what he called “guided democracy”. He argued that hierarchy should not be used to determine Mugabe’s successor.
Hierarchy, he said, is based on selection whereas democracy is based on election.
But why would we be so concerned about the goings-on in a political party?
Last week, I argued on public interest.
Events in political parties are of public interest because it is the same public they rule or seek to rule.
Thus, the convenient arguments by some that the media or commentators should stay out of it are frivolous and cannot succeed. The public ought to know about its existing and potential rulers.
As regards the MDC, Zimbabwe needs a strong opposition to keep the ruling party in check apart from providing a potential alternative for the future.
At this juncture, however, it is the events in Zanu PF that attract more public interest. Such interest appears to have been heightened by the irregularities in the party’s own provincial elections soon after a disputed national election over rigging claims.
Such maladies seemed to confirm that the party could have manipulated the national elections after all.
Some, particularly in the opposition, would be rubbing their hands in glee at the apparent weakening of Zanu PF because of the internecine conflicts.
Yet others would be curious about the potential successor to Mugabe who has ruled for more than three decades. Such potential leadership change cannot be ignored.
But to those concerned about the current state of the country, the public interest in Zanu PF would centre on the fact it is the governing party.
Many would be concerned, as Moyo admits, at the ill-timing of the apparent succession squabbles.
Zanu PF won elections only recently. Notwithstanding the controversial circumstances it secured that mandate, many expect Zanu PF to focus on, to borrow Simba Makoni’s phrase, “making Zimbabwe work again.”
Zanu PF’s eye is off the ball.
Almost four months after the election, Zimbabwe is not working. The economic fundamentals remain bleak.
A post-election atmosphere ought to usher in a sense of hope.
Zanu PF introduced ZimAsset, its post-election blueprint which is supposed to rejuvenate the economy.
Zimbabweans do not feed on nicely-worded documents kept on the shelves.
Of course, it may take some time for such plans to take effect.
But Zimbabweans want to see an immediate, focused and selfless determination to lift the gloom that has enveloped this country for far too long.
Zanu PF had better be warned that all these power duels may come to nothing if it would have failed to turn around the economy come the next elections.
Rather than be obsessed with power Zanu PF should be seized with, in the words of Martin Luther King, the “fierce urgency of now.”