Has Zimbabwe abandoned straightjacket policy?

Has Zimbabwe abandoned straightjacket policy?

From left, Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and Housing and Local government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere

Maxwell Zimuto

AROUND 2002 the nation’s service chiefs, headed by General Vitalis Zvinavashe, called for a press conference to inform the nation that the highest office on the land, that is the office of the Presidency, was a straightjacket that was available for occupation only to Zimbabweans with war of liberation credentials.
The service chiefs further warned all and sundry, particularly those without the requisite credentials, but who still harboured unbridled ambitions to occupy the office, that it was an exercise in futility and an abomination that would not be tolerated.
At that time, the power matrix in the nation was balancing on a knife edge, with most of the Zimbabwean electorate expressing disenchantment and weariness over the manner in which the ZANU-PF government was discharging its mandate.
There were fears that the then government could be voted out of power and be replaced by a completely new political force in the form of the then united Movement for Democratic Change.
Fourteen years later, the policy appears to have been thrown into the dustbin, or has it been conveniently forgotten to accommodate new aspirants, who fail to meet the requisite qualifications to land the throne?
I am stating this, not because I hold sympathies for its continued existence as an expansion of the nation’s value systems, but that the discontinuation of a policy enunciated with such drama, thunder and Hammurabian eloquence, could not have escaped the notice of the public and naturally, would have attracted varied reactions from the public.
The above narrative has been provoked by the emergence of a political outfit within ZANU-PF, commonly referred to as Generation 40 or simply G40.
The thrust of my narrative is therefore to highlight the potential G40 possesses, if any at all, in its endeavor to reshape the country’s political landscape.
Of course there have been denials and counter denials over its existence with the media being accused of mythically creating the faceless outfit.
While it may be true that G40 does not exist, I personally remain convinced and certain that something, which binds the trio beyond the camaraderie cordiality within the party and whose identity and motive we are yet to establish, does in fact exist.
The genesis of Generation 40 is, however, found in an opinion piece written by Jonathan Moyo titled: “ZANU-PF: An introspection,” which was published in the Sunday Mail of August 7, 2011.
In the article, Moyo rhetorically posed a number of questions to colleagues in the party, whom he referred to as comrades in the nationalist movement. One such issue is the empowerment of the generation 40. I have no idea as to why Moyo chose G40 and not G20, G30 or even G70. Perhaps this is the age he identified as his catchment area, which naturally, would provide willing cadres to undertake the task at hand.
There had been no noticeable links between the trio and Moyo’s article until after ZANU-PF’s December 2014 congress, at which the new party leadership was ushered in including Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was appointed Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Second Secretary of ZANU-PF.
Soon after this development, discernible signs of resentment, irritation, and deliberate outpouring of negative perceptions by the trio over the Vice President’s ascension, began to manifest themselves.
It was conspicuously evident that the trio was not comfortable with the appointment, and sooner rather than later, fissures began to emerge within the institution.
A postulation by one of the newspapers, alluding to the fact that Vice President Mnangagwa was poised to take over the reins after President Mugabe, given his new and strategic role in the succession matrix, provoked a flurry of unmitigated newspaper protests from Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao.
Moyo went on to dismiss both the assertions and suggestion through newspaper articles quoting some provisions of both the party and national constitutions to back up his argument.
He stated that Mnangagwa would have to win both the hearts and minds of the electorate to lend the post, as if to confirm that “Mnangagwa is not electable” inferences, deliberately planted in the nation to discredit the Vice President.
Ironically, Moyo missed a very important fact, that winning the hearts and minds of the electorate is a fundamental tenet of democracy and a sine qua non for that matter.
It applies not only to Mnangagwa, but to anyone who wishes to win an elective contest. It was therefore unbelievably hollow, for Moyo to site the obvious to support his argument over his dislike of Mnangagwa.
Of course Moyo would still continue to make spiteful and scornful attacks on the so-called successionists through the internet.
On the other hand, Zhuwao also went on the offensive, producing serialised and uninspiring newspaper narratives in which he fumbled and tumbled over the succession issue, dismissing perceived successionists for allegedly attempting to remove President Mugabe before the expiry of his term of office.
He even had the audacity to challenge Mnangagwa against hoisting a victory celebration party at some unknown and obscure venue in the Midlands province instead of the capital city, Harare.
Across the stream, Saviour Kasukuwere was busy supervising the restructuring or is it re-fracturing, or both, of the provincial party structures to ensure there were in some desired state.
Like a Somali warlord searching for a strategic position to set up a political base from which to launch raids against foes, Kasukuwere and his team, traversed the width and breadth of the country, conducting the painstaking exercise.
They oversaw the creation of some structures, while destroying other in the process, particularly those suspected to be at variance with his thinking.
While the melodrama was playing itself out, discipline within the institution of the party, was being compromised big time.
There is no doubt that indiscipline in any organisation is a cancer that must be nipped in the bud lest it destroys the fabric of the institution. And yet in ZANU-PF, one does not need magnifying glasses to see what goes on within the institution. Some Party officials appear to be more equal than others and in fact they are immune to Party rules. They publicly challenge, denounce and even deride their seniors in a manner that leave some wondering whether the party has two sets of rules, one for the small fish and another for the untouchables.
All this has left many of us wondering what exactly is going on in ZANU-PF? Where are those with the prerequisite war credentials to bring back sanity in the party? Or is it now a free-for-all dash for the throne because General Zvinavashe is now late?

Maxwell Zimuto is contactable at max.zimuto@gmail.com

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