Monday 26 April 2021


POLITICAL analysts have warned that the closing of ranks by Zanu PF factions spells even greater danger for the country’s brawling opposition ahead of the 2023 national elections.

The fresh warning comes amid the continuing and senseless infighting within the opposition, which has seen respected independent scholars raising fears of their likely heavy shellacking in the country’s next polls.

It also comes as former Zanu PF youth league secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga — who is seen as one of the kingpins of the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction — has told the Daily News that he is “excited” by the open and unconditional invitation to people like him to re-join the former liberation movement.

Highly regarded University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, was among those who said yesterday that Zanu PF and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, were going for the jugular and plugging all possible holes ahead of the 2023 elections.

“Zanu PF and its leader are leaving nothing to chance and they know that if they bring everyone together, including those who were not part of the ruling party in 2018, in the name of building national unity, they will have decisively dealt with the opposition and there will be no questions of legitimacy arising.

“It is clear that Zanu PF is exuding confidence and is now consolidating its ground. If it continues on this path successfully, it will be very difficult for the opposition in 2023 because it will be firing on all cylinders.

“Mnangagwa has probably realised that part of the reason he narrowly won the 2018 election and ended up facing the humiliation of having to defend his election in court is because there were too many factions outside the party.

“So, bringing back the G40 and Gamatox elements will certainly plug the holes,” Masunungure told the Daily News.

But he also warned that this move could also be a miscalculation, as the opposition still had time to re-organise itself, adding that “a lot could happen between now and 2023”.

Another renowned academic — the professor of World Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Stephen Chan — also described Zanu PF’s closing of ranks with its erstwhile internal foes as a move which could spell further doom for the country’s brawling opposition.

“The ruling party now feels it is in a strong position having essentially marginalised the opposition as a unified force, and hence it wishes to consolidate its position as the dominant political force in the country.

“Reaching out to the G40 must not be misconstrued as an act of desperation, but one of confidence.

“What we see emerging is not just a dominant party state, but a hegemonic party state,” Chan told the Daily News.

He also said it would be up to Zanu PF to take advantage of this dominance and ensure that its policies were beneficial to ordinary Zimbabweans who have been associating with the opposition on account of the ruling party’s failure to resuscitate the country’s economy.

“The question is, however, for what does this hegemonic party stand? It seems sometimes like a gigantic patronage and enrichment network.

“However, this can still work if the oligarchic elite can ensure that economic benefits trickle down to those who are poor. A politically strong party in a fraying economy is in a difficult position,” Chan added.

Meanwhile, Chipanga has told the Daily News that he is excited by Zanu PF’s invitation for people like him to re-join the former liberation movement.

“I appreciate the gesture by the president and the party leadership to forgive us and allow us back into the party. It goes to confirm that Zanu PF is a people-oriented party.

“I have applied to come back to the only political home I have and help in my small way to ensure the party wins the 2023 elections overwhelmingly. We stand guided by the principle that the party is bigger than individuals,” Chipanga said.

All this comes as Zanu PF is re-admitting without conditions and burying the hatchet with all its members who were turfed out of the party on accusations of belonging to the G40 faction.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News last week, the party’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said the unconditional re-admission of the vanquished G40s and other former members had the full backing of Mnangagwa.

The G40s, many of whom had sought to be re-admitted in the ruling party, were purged in the aftermath of the spectacular fall from power of the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017, following a widely supported military coup.

At the height of the ruling party’s factional, tribal and succession wars, G40 members had aligned themselves to Mugabe and his erratic wife Grace — while the Lacoste faction backed Mnangagwa who was then vice president.

Although Zanu PF had recently appeared to extend an olive branch to remnants of the G40 faction, the ruling party’s commissariat and security departments had insisted on vetting these former members first, before their re-admission.

However, Mpofu had now moved to instruct party organs to speed up the process of integrating G40 members back into the party. “We welcome all who want to join the party. How do you vet someone who wants to join the party?

“Party structures must welcome people who want to re-join the party in a manner that will not discourage them. We have communicated this to party structures.

“Even the president has said there is a need for the party to welcome those who want to come back and some of our former members who are re-joining the party,” Mpofu told the Daily News.

“It’s about growing the membership of the party and we will welcome all people who want to join Zanu PF,” he added.

Mpofu also warned those in party structures against blocking the amnesty to the G40s and other former party members. “We have seen in some cases where colleagues are trying to create difficult conditions for new members to come to the party. “We are saying coming to the party is really something that is appreciated by the party and they must receive them in a friendly manner. “The president himself has gone out of his way to receive new members. Why should an individual block others?

“Because you have got a position in the branch, district, central committee or you are an MP you have to work for your position and not to create an environment that will frighten others from joining the party,” Mpofu added.

Earlier, the Zanu PF admin head had also told the party’s information department that he had “piles of letters of applications from members who had left the party and who wanted to rejoin the party”.

“I have told all the systems, all departments to receive them without referring them to other departments.

“Let’s receive all members who want to join the party without creating unnecessary obstacles which will not make us achieve the five million membership target.

“We welcome all those who want to work with us. We are appealing to all our structures throughout the country to receive those comrades who want to come back to the party without really having to make it difficult for them to do so,” Mpofu said. Daily News


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