President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba has always insisted that Zanu PF factionalism was a creation of the media, with no factual basis.
However, his uncharacteristic outburst two days ago betrays a party that is on the precipice and it clearly looks like the centre cannot hold anymore.
Charamba has always imagined himself as a prefect of some sort, trying to tell the media how to report about the First Family and occasionally throwing in a threat or two for what he deems errant behaviour.
In the utopian world, only he seemed to inhabit, there were no cracks in Zanu PF, everyone was toeing some imaginary line, with Mugabe and his deputies Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko firmly in charge and only recently did he wake up to smell the coffee.
He has for far been too long in denial and now he has moved onto the next stage of his existence: anger
Without mentioning names, but with all his fingers pointed at Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, Charamba finally conceded that there were factions in Zanu PF and Mugabe was soon going to deal with the “successionists”.
From his tone, it was easy to discern that Charamba was livid that there are things beyond his control, throwing an out-of-place jibe at “little newsmen” and people after headlines, who think if they control the media they can build a social base.
Charamba has always exercised hawkish control over State media and is clearly at pains on how to deal with the private media, which has so far been at the forefront in reporting on factionalism in the ruling party.
In his imaginary world, a tight lid would be kept on the party’s fissures and emphasis would be on how united everyone was behind the First Family, but as we know nothing can be further from the truth.
Charamba needs to be told that the old school role of a news gatekeeper, which he seems to obsess about, has long vanished and people are closer to the source of news than when he first started his job.
Importantly, Charamba’s outburst is the clearest indicator that he has no role as a public servant anymore and should quit and concentrate on Zanu PF politics, where his energy might be more appreciated.
Charamba is deeply embedded in Zanu PF politics and the succession issue, making his continued role as a senior civil servant unwarranted and undesirable.
In Zanu PF, he will not be constrained in fighting against Moyo or War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, the latest victims of his barbed tongue.
Charamba has clearly thrown his lot with one of the Zanu PF factions, making himself a political player, who should be open to scrutiny and should not be allowed to hide behind the cloak of the civil service.