THE chaos and increasing tension in Zanu PF is a clear sign that President Robert Mugabe has lost control of his party and there are fears that civil strife could break out unless the deep-seated factionalism was addressed, opposition parties and civic groups have warned.
BY MOSES MATENGA/NUNURAI JENA
This comes amid threats of violence between supporters of First Lady Grace Mugabe and those of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, among them war veterans, whose rally was yesterday brutally crushed by anti-riot police.
Grace, who is reportedly backing a Zanu PF faction dubbed G40, recently attacked war veterans, Mnangagwa and some unnamed military officers, accusing them of trying to kill her son Chatunga, among other serious allegations.
But Zanu PF members allegedly sympathetic to Mnangagwa have been hitting back at the G40 and Grace, accusing them of dividing the party and usurping Mugabe’s powers.
The Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said Grace’s attacks on the army and war veterans were now a security issue.
“Her conduct is a serious threat to national security and to the right of the people to democratically elect their leadership. Grace cannot crave to satisfy her thirst for power by taking advantage of her husband’s incapacitation and thus declare herself President. This is criminal and unacceptable,” PDP chairperson Lucia Matibenga said.
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume also said: “I once said at his age, Mugabe has become a national security threat. It is not an exaggeration that he has become a present and clear danger to all Zimbabweans whatever the political persuasion. The man has no taboos, he has run down the economy and he will beat up anyone.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said what was happening in Zanu PF was a clear indication that Mugabe had failed and it was now time for him to go.
“The chickens are coming home to roost. The mere sight of anti-riot police officers teargasing helpless war veterans is a historic game-changing moment. What this clearly shows is that Mugabe is no longer in control of the country. Some shadowy forces behind the scenes are now in de facto control of the State machinery. Things have fallen apart. The centre can no longer hold,” Gutu said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said the current goings-on in Zanu PF were a cause for concern.
“CiZC is disturbed that President Mugabe seems oblivious to the damage that the factional fights within his party have on the national economy,” CiZC said in a statement.
“Furthermore, CiZC would like to remind President Mugabe that failure to instill a sense of order within his party will not only impact negatively on the national economy and people’s livelihoods, but also on civil and political rights as evidenced by the victimisation of ordinary citizens being accused of working in cahoots with perceived opponents of the Zanu PF leader.”
People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said what was happening in Zanu PF was bad, particularly to the war veterans who were being subjected to physical and verbal attacks.
Meanwhile, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has joined the growing voices reprimanding the First Lady for making “noise” in the country.
Speaking in Chinhoyi this week, Tsvangirai said Grace “has a loud mouth”.
Tsvangirai said Grace was “young and immature” and wanted to comment on anything even to “young boys herding cattle”.
“Ageing can be a problem, especially when you marry a young and loud-mouth wife who can shout at anyone, even young boys herding cattle,” Tsvangirai said
He said his party was still toying with the idea of mass action against the government, but warned that it would not be for the faint-hearted.