HARARE – The scramble for the Zanu PF presidency has rekindled long-standing ethnic feuds between Karangas and Zezurus that could explode with devastating consequences, businessman and musician-cum-Zanu PF political activist Energy Mutodi has warned.
He posted on his Facebook page yesterday that the non-Zezuru ethnic groups were disappointed that after participating in the liberation struggle, they are now being treated as second class citizens as a powerful “super Zezuru clique” was now occupying most lucrative government posts, allegedly plundering public resources, looting parastatals and investing the funds overseas.
Most members of President Robert Mugabe’s inner circle are from his Zezuru sub-group of the Shona, who occupy the Mashonaland Central, East and West provinces.
The Karanga faction is closely identified with Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s long-time ally and vice president.
The Karanga faction feels it is its “time to eat” since the Zezurus have for many years controlled most of the national cake.
The two main camps mirror the political divide between Mugabe’s Zezuru sub-group and Shona’s most populous group, the Karanga, who mainly occupy Masvingo and Midlands provinces.
Mutodi said ahead of the “million-man march” last week, State-controlled radio and TV stations advertised the programme while blaring a controversial song by Dr Tawanda called Unconquerable, that promotes the proliferation of the Zezuru supremacy.
“The powerful tribe that boasts of its proximity to Mugabe and his wife has also promulgated a G40 faction in Zanu PF that demands loyalty from ministers, compelling them to allocate tenders to their proxies who upon receiving payments from government-controlled firms redirect the funds to the G40 godfathers,” Mutodi said in his damning post.
Mutodi, an open supporter of the Mnangagwa faction, claimed that Zanu PF supporters, particularly those who participated in the 70s liberation war, were frustrated that the “one centre of power” that Mugabe is now implementing was “open dictatorship” as during the war it was agreed that there was going to be collective leadership.
He said the Chimoio congress agreed that VP Mnangagwa would be the next leader of Zanu PF, but the Zezuru clique was now reneging on that agreement.
The Karanga provided the bulk of the fighting forces and military leaders who fought the successful 1972-80 chimurenga (struggle) that secured independence and black majority rule.
Nevertheless, the Zanu movement — since renamed Zanu PF — was led by a Zezuru intellectual with several degrees — Mugabe.
Mutodi said the war veterans are now saying due to Mugabe’s boastful attitude, his reluctance to pass on power and his arrogance against the wishes of the people, it was time to give him the same boot that was given to founding member of Zanu Ndabaningi Sithole.
“They (war veterans) added that Mugabe must now relinquish power such that a new leader can come and address the political, economic and social problems that the country is facing as it is now an open secret that he no longer has the capacity to find a lasting solution to these problems,” Mutodi said in his post.
“They added that the people will not continue to be silenced and threatened with death for them to remain quiet as they are facing degrading poverty and relentless suffering.”
He said among the dissenting voices, the Karanga, Manyika, Tonga, Venda, Ndau, Kalanga and other people who constitute the majority among Shona-speaking Zimbabweans are claiming that they have come to realise that Mugabe will not deliver the nation to the promised land and his continued hold on power is out of selfish desires rather than the need to emancipate the people from the jaws of poverty.
“Among the key reasons why the people outside the Zezuru tribe are planning a boycott of the much-awaited 2018 elections are that Mugabe continues to pay lip service against tribalism, regionalism and factionalism without addressing the real reasons underlying these problems,” Mutodi said.
Zimbabwe is facing a crippling economic situation that has seen brain drain and unemployment levels reach unprecedented levels as companies continue to close citing viability problems.
The country has also been hit by a cash crisis that has the effect of increasing transaction costs and delaying business.
“Moreover, many people have Aids especially college students who resort to prostitution in order to raise money to survive while still in school,” he said.
“… Mugabe does not tolerate dissent and civilians opposed to his rule disappear without trace while outspoken party members die in suspected killer-orchestrated accidents,” he said.