HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZanu PF must finalise succession debate

Zanu PF must finalise succession debate


While everyone else concentrates on putting into effect the so-called “implementation matrix”, salvaging the now doomed constitution-making process and considering the feasibility of holding an election next year, among other things, Zanu PF needs to preoccupy itself with one thing — and one thing alone — namely the completion of the succession debate within that party.

To tiptoe around the issue and pretend it is of no consequence is to deliberately put the future of this country and its people in harm’s way.

Robert Mugabe’s health will deteriorate with age. Time is of the essence.

The moment has come for Zimbabwe to attain its political maturity, with power changing hands and life going along.

After all, it is not the state of the leader that matters, but the state of the nation. As a matter of urgency Zanu PF needs to make up its mind.

Only then can the voters remember them and have a clear picture of their intentions.

As it stands, Zanu PF’s conservative old guard remains intact, and they fight amongst themselves not over policy but purely for power and prestige.

They have an enduring desire to maintain the status quo at any cost.

The fact is that the upheavals of the past will continue so long as these dinosaurs remain in charge of operations.

The crux of the matter though is our country’s political instability is guaranteed to worsen should Mugabe die in office – especially if there is no succession plan in place acceptable to the two well-known factions within Zanu PF. The decision must be made without delay.

Everyone who cares about this country knows it.

It is cause for considerable heartache, therefore, that there seems to be such a striking lack of preparation for a Zimbabwe after Mugabe.

Not enough, if anything at all, is being done by the relevant people to show that they understand what could befall Zimbabwe if the President dies before the succession debate in Zanu PF has been completed.

The reality is that no one lives forever and we are witnessing the effects of old age and the exacting demands of public office on Mugabe.

Zanu PF has had plenty of time to think about it but still bears a stark resemblance to Ethelred the Unready.

Let me not be misconstrued as condoning or in anyway seeking to entrench the dictatorship and the now irretrievably damaged legacy of Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Far from it! I beg instead to be regarded as a realist and a peace-loving Zimbabwean democrat who loves his country too much to foresee a potentially devastating political crisis without alerting his fellow citizens to it.

Nor can the MDC be relied upon to single-handedly avert what could easily develop into an aggravation of our political woes. It is a matter of public record, for instance, that some of Zanu PF’s notorious Joint Operations Command members have stated unequivocally that under no circumstances will they salute Morgan Tsvangirai should he attempt to wield any kind of authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Absurd though it may seem, therefore, the reality is that with the right ingredients the MDC stands a much better chance of forming a substantive government while Mugabe is still in politics than after his exit.

There is a much better chance of Zimbabwe becoming a democratic country, a prosperous nation and a land of limitless opportunities with a living and breathing Mugabe still around than when his body lies at what has become the Zanu PF Heroes’ Acre.

If you sense, dear reader, that I am fed up with the MDC you are dead right. Of course, I am! Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC loudly proclaimed all sorts of policies and promises before joining the inclusive government.

Every right-thinking Zimbabwean looked to him and his party to make things better.

Alas, MDC officials, like their Zanu PF counterparts in the inclusive government, have quite evidently succumbed to the temptation that comes with power and the greed that can accompany bureaucratic privilege.

Consequently, they have killed whatever momentum was gathered against the tyranny of Zanu PF. By so doing they have afforded him and his men with much-needed time to regroup.

In the circumstances, if the MDC is not going to realise and correct the mistakes made during the tenure of the inclusive government . . . if it is not going to insist on genuine and lasting political reforms . . . if they are going to ignore the lessons of the past in shaping the future . . . if they choose to continue to put faith, and so responsibility, on Sadc and not themselves, then they ought to go to hell and stop wasting our precious time. The future does not belong to the timid.

They do not deserve it.
Meanwhile, and in the interest of averting a possible civil war after Mugabe’s demise, Zanu PF needs to urgently conclude any further debate and set a succession strategy in place.

If in the process of doing so Zanu PF officials see the benefit in reforming their outmoded movement to become a relevant and credible political party, then that will truly be a huge step forward.

As the country anxiously waits for the MDC to regain its old self and for Zanu PF to stop fudging, I hope we all welcomed and enjoyed Akon and hoped that he found our otherwise beautiful country as “free and uplifting” a world as the United States of America.

Psychology Maziwisa, Union for Sustainable Democracy, leader@usd.org.zw

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