Shedding layers a sign of waning centre of power?

Tapiwa Gomo

Last week was full of drama.

Develop me with Tapiwa Gomo

Never in our history have we seen two Vice-Presidents issuing statements in the same week on the same, but personal, issue, yet contradicting each other.

Never also, have we seen the President expressing what seemed to be anger at his Vice-President in public.
Never, as well, have we heard the First Lady addressing a Vice-President by name without prefixing it with his official title or a simple “Mr”.

Different forms of analysis abound following these events.

For some it is the beginning of the end for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF political career.

For others, it is game on, as Mnangagwa has never thrown punches publicly, as he did last week.

The premise of these different analyses is none other than the hunger for change.

There is an expectation that whatever trajectory the Zanu PF fights takes, it will lead to some form of change.
We are tired of waiting and none of these people are needed, if the country is to move forward.
Change can be delayed, but it is naturally inevitable.

Maybe the recent events are a sign that the net is now shrinking closer to the core.
However, the shrinking of the net did not start recently.

There is a long history of failure to manage networks and partnerships.

At independence in 1980, everyone embraced us and President Robert Mugabe, then the Prime Minister, was adored by many.
The West described him as the “Prince of Africa”.

He enjoyed red carpet reception from the royal family on his regular visits to the United Kingdom.

Everyone then, except for some Rhodesians, was our friend.

We represented hope.

We made peace in several countries and we hosted refugees.

With South Africa still under apartheid, we were the centre of power in Southern Africa.

The 1990s marked significant shift on several fronts.

The drought in 1991/92 and the effects of Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) made life unbearable for millions of people.

Our relationship with the international community got strained, as the President blamed them for hardships facing the country.

This is one of the reasons we are here today; blaming and shying away from responsibility.

Zanu Ndonga resurrected and Zimbabwe Union of Democrats and the MDC emerged in the 1990s.

These developments meant Zanu PF had lost a huge part of its support base.
In 2000, all hell broke loose.

Farmers were blamed for siding with the opposition.

We lost the farmers and the economy took a tumble.

Another lesson to be drawn here is that the Zanu PF leadership believes in destroying anyone opposed to them, instead of finding the middle ground.

The country’s leadership was isolated from the international community and friends got fewer by the year and with every election.

Regionally, Botswana became vocal and the late former South African President Nelson Mandela added his voice to the unpleasant developments unfolding in Zimbabwe.

The country became a regular agenda item at Sadc summits.

Our neighbours became quite apprehensive about Zimbabwe.

In a way, we were isolated.
With international and regional space shrinking, domestically the layers were also peeling off.
The academia, industry, some churches and civil society organisations had long dissociated themselves from Zanu PF, with some taking active and vocal oppositional stances.
The past seven years have been dramatic as the isolation shifted into Zanu PF.
The party is shedding off its layers, leaving its leader isolated from those that cushioned him for nearly four decades.
The isolation is right at his doorstep.
People, who helped Zanu PF win elections, such as Jabulani Sibanda, Bright Matonga and others were kicked out of the party.
This would be followed by the dismissal of Joice Mujuru, who was long seen as the President’s possible successor.
As if that was not a big enough loss, a divorce with the war veterans’ association would ensue.
They have been a key pillar to Zanu PF election victories since 2000.
Each of these individuals and associations left with a big chunk from Zanu PF’s layers of support.
Now enters the Mnangagwa conundrum.
He represents the last standing pillar of the liberation struggle in the party.

There is no doubt that he is now the most unwanted man by the G40 faction, which reportedly enjoys the backing of the First Lady.

The First Lady has been on the frontlines launching broadsides and direct offensives.

The outcome of the December Zanu PF conference will be significant.

If the claims that Mnangagwa has the backing of the army and other State institutions are true, what will happen if he is removed?

Assuming he is removed as happened to Mujuru, will he go with his layers of support?

Will that mean the President is isolated?

Is that how he wants his last days to be; an isolated man?


  1. This is an interesting analysis. We all know the source of the problems. The president was given total power but he is now old, captured and incapacitated. At the congress of 2014 he cried for help but people laughed. “Imiwe, ndozvandino itwa kumba, saka ndototerera”,implying that the first lady has a domineering personality. The president has had that personality as well. How does zanu pf and the country give total power to a captured, incapacitated man? Hameno.

  2. I think you did not do justice to the issue. Just when I thought you are about to go in depth on the what may happen based on the onion effect article yabva yapera

Comments are closed.