HARARE – The unfolding drama in Zanu PF helps confirm the known fact that President Robert Mugabe intends to die in office — as well as show the depth of ruthlessness he is capable of in dealing with matters to do with preserving his power.
The Zanu PF show also helps to reveal how Mugabe has, in a gravely mysterious way, made himself terrifying to virtually everyone in his party — so fearsome, even at his age, that men tremble and transform into little girls when he opens his mouth in anger.
Margaret Dongo once said: “They are all Mugabe’s wives”!
The political movie at shake-shake building also displays Mugabe’s brainy, foxy personality and how, even meticulously planned plots disintegrate at the mere sight of him.
The Mujuru faction had come to know, without doubt that Mugabe has been made to believe they are out to dethrone him. It does not matter whether this was true or not. What matters is that the President’s wife Grace had said that and therefore Mugabe believed it.
They were clearly aware of what Mugabe was going to do. Destroy them to preserve his power and please his wife. They knew no amount of argument in denial would save them.
Yet, they sat and did nothing — waiting to be led to the slaughter last Thursday as they will every day until the final annihilation at the December congress. They are too scared, terrified to stand up and make the bold move of refusing to be led to the slaughterhouse, in silence like sheep.
Picture this: As soon as it became apparent Mugabe had turned his back on them — that day the Vice-President was called a witch from Dotito in front of Mugabe at the party headquarters two weeks ago — Mujuru announces she is leaving the party to form her own; say the Patriotic Front.
A day or so later, the party spokesperson and then its administrator make the same move. And without waiting to be chucked out of office, nine out of 10 provincial chairpersons announce that their entire provinces have crossed the floor to join the Patriotic Front.
Given claims that Mujuru commands a lot of support from the ordinary Zimbabwean and also from a good number in powerful government and even security positions, such a scenario — which was in fact encouraged by enemies of the Mujuru faction, including Amai Grace Mugabe — could not have been as bad as having key faction members and strategists thrown out into political wilderness from whence they may never rise.
Resigning from the party while still holding powerful positions is completely different from and wiser than trying to dust oneself from the political dustbin and announcing the formation of a new party.
The new party would have roped in ex-combatants sympathetic to Mujuru — Jabulani Sibanda and his many followers, before the war veterans leader was expelled from the party.
As it is now, Sibanda has been rendered politically irrelevant with the expulsion and no one will want to be seen to associate with someone that has been chucked into the political Siberia.
Sibanda was relevant and powerful before he was expelled, just as Rugare Gumbo was as national spokesperson of the party before he was reduced to an ordinary card carrying member. Similarly, those former chairpersons from the provinces were relevant and powerful until their suspension.
But then because she could not and still cannot be courageous enough, Mujuru stood and still stands and does nothing until all her allies and even herself are banished from the party. After that, they will not be the same and whatever action they will want to take will not be as noticeable as it would have been had they acted while still in office.
But then again, it is this fear of Mugabe that makes people dread to take even the last option that could save their political careers. They are so terrified of Mugabe they cannot dare take the last available options — even when it becomes clear Mugabe is leading them, without reverse, towards the slaughterhouse in broad daylight.
That is the reason too why it is difficult to believe that Mujuru, Gumbo or any of those people in their faction may have even dreamt of staging a coup d’état against Mugabe. They were simply strategically positioning their faction for the eventual take over after Mugabe left the throne — whichever way that would have been — but definitely not by force or vote of no confidence!
But then as every husband would do, Mugabe has been made to believe, by his wife, that Mujuru and her faction were planning to kill his dream of dying in office — that they want to kick him out and then drag her and his children on the hard tarmac and then destroy the Gu-Shung-oh dynasty.
So, Mugabe is angry and is now on an unrestrained mission to crash his perceived enemies, led by Mujuru. It is therefore up to Mujuru to sit and wait for the cyclone or to run.
By Tangai Chipangura