Given that last year’s Zanu PF annual conference was held a stone throw from the mighty Zambezi river, the verity of Shakespeare about a tide in the affairs of men, ought have inspired some of the delegates to take the current as it served.
By Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortunes; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”, presaged Shakespeare.
Ever since Zanu PF acted on the “vote of no confidence” debacles, which ousted nine of the 10 party provincial chairmen last year, little did it realise that it was setting an unbecoming precedent that was destined to set it on a collision course with itself.
As the party counted down to last year’s conference, many heavyweights, among them Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Webster Shamu and Nicholas Goche, to mention a few, were booted out of the party.
Now, as firebrand Christopher Mutsvangwa and expelled former Vice-President Joice Mujuru loyalist, Sylvester Nguni get locked out of the fowl run, indications are that chickens are destined to continue coming home to roost. Indeed, there is a tide in the affairs of men.
It is anyone’s guess who the next victim will be, as goings-on within the party have become a circus. However, a ruling party that cannot maintain peace among its rank and file is conversely a ruining party.
Amid the challenges, Zanu PF is facing is the leadership crisis. With first secretary, President Robert Mugabe now mentally and physically slowed down, the party consequently is gravitating windwards. Hence, it pursued the course of least resistance by not tabling the succession debate.
Although over the years Mugabe had a firm grip of the party, commandeering it with a clinched fist, the era is all but well behind him. With age taking its toll, he no longer is the cock of the walk he used to be.
He is now so withered that his security team no longer concentrate on averting an assassin’s attacks, but on prospects of him falling down. Remember, Mugabe had to cut down on his star rallies during the last election campaign, signalling the dawn of a leadership crisis.
All he could manage was the bare minimum, a clear indication that though the spirit might have been willing, the flesh was weary. Yet, despite the swelling numbers of doctorate degree holders, Zanu PF is dogged by a dearth strategic thinkers, let alone common sense.
None within the high echelons of power seems to be realising that the party is disintegrating commensurately with Mugabe’s age wrought diminishing. Strangely, the hogwash in an annoying business as usual stupor, yet Mugabe is evidently on borrowed time.
The spate of dismissals without due processes has left Zanu PF inhabitable; both the vanquished and the survivor are emotional wrecks. It is clear that the party is long overdue for new leadership, or else, all its voyage is bound in shallows and miseries.
Coming from the horse’s mouth as it did at the conference, that cadres tell lies, Mugabe confirmed the open secret that Zanu PF had become as ignoble as a cobbler who blames his shoddy workmanship on the shoe design.
With information and publicity secretary, Simon Khaya-Moyo labouring to convince people that the conference was not an elective one, his statement that all cadres, including vice-presidents were mere appointees, who function at the mercy of Mugabe, it was clear to Tom, Dick and Harry that Zanu PF was run like a sole owner corner store.
Although a single moment of madness might not be conclusive enough to classify one as such, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa cast a spell on his scruples. His utterance that First Lady Grace Mugabe brought vibrancy to Zanu PF gave credence to the telling of lies, which Mugabe rued.
I used to revere Mnangagwa as a storied veteran of the liberation struggle, blessed with a sharp legal mind, but not any more.
As I see it, he cast aspersions on his own standing. If Grace’s trash talk, including her claiming to be superior to Mnangagwa amounts to vibrancy in his estimation, then I bite my tongue.
Grace pontificates at all and sundry; her ascendance to the politburo left many cadres accused of the spurious offence of “attempting to block Amai”. Her proclivity to disparaging cannot be said to be bringing vibrancy to Zanu PF.
Imagine the furore that would ensue if the United States of America First Lady, Michelle Obama, or any other self respecting First Lady for that matter, was to claim to be superior to their respective vice-president?
Little wonder, Zanu PF now resembles the mushrooming Pentecostal churches where the husband is the prophet and the wife, prophetess. Yet, in spite of Grace attempting to hedge herself, essentially, hers is in fact a pursuit for a political mirage.
Given the prevailing socio-economic-political ruination and subsequent dysfunction of the party, with all due respect, if Zanu PF was my daughter, and Mugabe my son-in-law, I could long have demanded, “bring back my daughter”.
However, as the profound words of Shakespeare, “Oh mighty King, that was highly esteemed, that now lies as food for nature’s lowly life,” ultimately be recited for Mugabe, reality is that he will have left behind a party and country that are not evocative of the liberation ideals.
l Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana, email firstname.lastname@example.org is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker and speechwriter.