HARARE – As president Robert Mugabe presides over an extraordinary politburo meeting in Harare today, the Zanu PF strongman and his supporters are confronted by critical questions on who exactly is in charge, the kind of legacy it will leave post-December and many other things.
While the hurricane that is Grace — the 90-year-old leader’s wife — has had a devastating effect on the 50-year-old movement, if not escalated the possible demise of the party, the emergence of multiple centres of power and spectre of violent clampdowns on voices of reason such as Cephas Msipa does not also bode well for Zanu PF’s future.
Notwithstanding the paralysis, state of limbo or morass that these internecine fights — epitomised by the charge to depose Vice President Joice Mujuru — have had on Zimbabwe, the way that Mugabe and his acolytes, including Gender Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri, have franchised “state power” to a “housewife” confirms many things about how Mugabe has always ruled this country.
By all accounts, the First Lady is nothing more than the Zanu PF leader’s spouse and yet the way she has been given unfettered powers to rearrange the party — and inevitably government — shows that theirs is a culture steeped in the unlawful, and true disregard of their own rules, and regulations.
For starters, why was Grace “personally” handed the reins of power in the Women’s League (WL) by Muchinguri and without the process having been thrown to the generality of the key wing, and the likes of the Shuvai Mahofas also having a go at the seat?
By so doing, are we saying there is no democracy in the party and that leadership is a homogenous thing or preserve of the Mugabes?
And if the reins of power, and leadership were to be handed like bhora redunhu, what sort of legacy are these Zanu PF cowboys trying to carve?
And if the 49-year-old Grace was such a popular, and deserving candidate, would she require the so-called “meet-the-people” rallies to sell her candidature — if not use such platforms to denigrate others.
But in a nutshell, all this points out to a rudderless ship and where bloodthirsty characters such as those behind the anti-Mujuru propaganda machinery are clearly taking advantage of Mugabe’s age.
And if it was not the man’s advanced age, how else can one explain a scenario where the Zanu PF leader himself accuses Information minister Jonathan Moyo of being a “weevil out to destroy his party” and yet his wife turns around, and says the real agent is someone else?
Added to that, Grace tells us that several provincial chairs will be axed and the nonagenarian goes on to endorse such moves, thus confirming who exactly is in charge now in Harare.
On its own, does it make someone worry at Munhumutapa and elsewhere about where this woman, and her supporters’ allegiance is — and especially given the potential effects of this unnecessary balderdash on the party’s unity?
And as we worry about all this madness, does it also not occur on Mugabe when self-styled war veterans try to violently put down or heckle the good old Msipa from speaking out on party ills simply because he is old?
While the wily old fox and his inner circle may think this group is a useful crew of cheerleaders, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see — or know — this is the same group that will be used against anyone else outside those at the receiving end of Zanu PF shock troopers now.
If the same gung-ho group has shown such a great deal of dislike for the elderly, as demonstrated by their hounding of the late Simon Muzenda out of the Midlands, what will stop them from showing Mugabe himself the exit door when it is necessary or convenient?
Thus, food for thought now as the Zanu PF leader and his lieutenants troop into today’s politburo!