ZIMBABWE – WASHINGTON – The leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party Mavambo Kusile Dawn, Simba Makoni, says he is shocked by the level of infighting in Zanu-PF as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe intensifes.
In an exclusive interview with VOA, Makoni a former finance minister and member of Mr. Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, said when he left the party factionalism was rife but he did not expect it to go a gear up.
He said, “I am surprised because I didn’t expect it would go this far or they (Zanu-PF members) would sink this low. The levels they are displaying now, exhibited by what Grace (First Lady Grace Mugabe) is doing, what young (Patrick) Zhuwawo (Mr. Mugabe’s nephew and Indigenization Minister) is thinking he is doing there is no center there any more let alone a center that’s holding so it’s a free for all.
“When you see and hear the kind of things they are saying to and about each other on Twitter and Facebook and sometimes on rallies you do not believe they are people of one family, that they have anything in common, they don’t.”
Political analysts allege that failure by Mr. Mugabe and Zanu-PF to manage the long-ruling and ageing leader’s succession has brought changing complexities in the power battles that appear to have no end or solution in sight.
Mr. Mugabe at 91 is the world’s oldest president.
First lady Grace Mugabe is now linked with a Zanu-PF team of Young Turks, the so-called Generation 40 or 40, who include Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and Zhuwao.
The G40 is allegedly engaged in close combat with another faction led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. All the mentioned party members have shot down suggestions that they are engaged in factionalism. But this has not stopped them from openly sniping at each other. The two warring camps had engaged in a marriage of convenience to oust former Vice President Joyce Mujuru and her allies.
IT’S THE POLITICS STUPID!
Makoni accused President Mugabe of turning a blind eye to the country’s problems and focusing on maintaining power even as his lieutenants have intensified their factional fights.
James Carville, a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting President George H. W. Bush coined the phrase, “it’s the economy stupid”.
And Makoni said, “In Zimbabwe it is the politics gone stupid. The politics has gone stupid because (President) Robert Mugabe is committed to keeping his power at any cost and by any means. And any costs mean no jobs, company closures, food deficits. It means fear, it means violence, and it means intimidation. As long as he is sitting in the throne, he couldn’t care less.”
Last year, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that mounting tensions in Zanu PF over President Mugabe’s succession, First Lady Grace Mugabe’s entrance into mainstream politics, the dire economic crisis and related issues could see Zimbabwe sliding into a failed state.
In its report titled ‘Zimbabwe: Waiting for the Future’, the ICG said Zimbabwe’s politics and economy are precarious, raising the need for Zanu-PF to address President Mugabe’s successor at the party’s elective December congress.
Zimbabwe’s economy looks bleak for the remainder of this year with leading companies, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and Delta Corporation, seeking tough ways to cut costs.
The World Bank, in its latest report paints a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe’s economic situation. The Bretton Woods institution says the economy is expected to grow by only one percent this year, on the back of a sustained liquidity crunch and under performance in all sectors.
Makoni said it is Mr. Mugabe policies that have ruined the economy. “What is wrong with our economy is its management. First unclear policies, inconsistent policies, very few good policies, inappropriate policies. But worse the few good policies, no implementation.”
WHO IS Simba Makoni?
Simbarashe Herbert Stanley Makoni was born on Mar 22, 1950. In 1980 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture at Zimbabwe’s independence, when he was 30 years old.
In 1983, Makoni was elected as the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community, serving in that post for 10 years. Makoni returned to the Cabinet as Minister of Finance on 15 July 2000 until 2002.