ZIMBABWE – A day in politics, they say, is a very long time. In this context, a year becomes an eternity, a long time in which things change, allegiances shift and perceptions vacillate. That is the effect that time has on humanity and all its activities.
A year after the start of persecutions on Didymus Mutasa after he brought into Zimbabwean political lingo, a new term that would define President Robert Mugabe’s new political enemies, the so-called Gamatox group, or former vice President Joice Mujuru’s “putchist cabal”, Mugabe himself is now guilty of the same crime that Mutasa was accused of— calling the party to use Gamatox on weevils.
Then, on June 8, 2014, Mutasa, speaking from Manicaland, said that Mujuru did not lead a faction but Emmerson Mnangagwa did.
Mutasa accused Mnangagwa of leading a group that Mugabe had just described as weevils at the burial of Nathan Shamuyarira and this group had Jonathan Moyo, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who sat with Moyo throughout Mugabe’s rabid speech, Saviour Kasukuwere, Mnangagwa and eight others who formed what Moyo and the State media chose to call “the clean dozen”
Knives came out for Mutasa for suggesting that the party should decisively deal with the weevils that were threatening to destroy Zanu PF from within and that the party should take a cue from how, back in the 1970s, Zimbabwean farmers used a pesticide called gamatox to eradicate weevils.
“Let me say what I have always said that Mujuru has no faction. Mujuru faction, if it is there, is all of us because she is our leader.
“If she wanted factions she should leave her post first and do factions. She is not doing that. There is only one faction led by Mnangagwa because a faction is described as a group of few people who will be working outside the majority.
“You were talking about the issue of weevils here. Way back we used to treat weevils by spraying Gamatox and they will all die,” Mutasa said while addressing some youths in Manicaland on June 8, 2014.
Mugabe also a Gamatox
While his enemies were quick to attack him for exposing who the weevils were and suggested a way for eradicating them, no one in Zanu PF, including the twitter-happy Moyo, has commented on Mugabe’s subtle acceptance that Mutasa was correct in suggesting that weevils in Zanu PF were aligned to Mnangagwa and were supposed to be sprayed with Gamatox.
Speaking at the airport on his return from the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday last week, Mugabe acknowledged there were problems in Manicaland and some people within the party were fighting against First Lady Grace Mugabe addressing a rally in Chimanimani, acting Provincial chairman Samuel Undenge’s home area.
It is now common knowledge in Zanu PF that Muchinguri-Kashiri is fighting Undenge’s incumbency and that she and her group, which her adversaries allege is linked to Mnangagwa’s faction, have been trying every trick in the book to end Undenge’s chairmanship.
When Mugabe came back and started exonerating Undenge from any wrong-doing in light of the current power shortages, one would have thought he was just being honest but when he started to make reference to his wife’s pending visit to Manicaland one could sense he was playing politics and when he revealed that still there were weevils in Zanu PF that needed gamatox, it was clear he was showing factional allegiance.
If Mnangagwa and company did not read, in Mugabe’s address at the airport, a direct attack on their bonafides, then there is no political astuteness in that group.
Just as Mutasa openly associated Mnangagwa with a faction in Zanu PF, Mugabe repeated the feat with more likely devastating consequences this time around.
It is now clear that Mugabe is against any grouping in Zanu PF which antagonises his wife and Muchinguri-Kashiri and her Mnangagwa factionalists in Manicaland are surely living on borrowed time.
With the factional fights taking place in Zanu PF and the fluidity of allegiances, the Bhora Musango phenomenon can be repeated come 2018.
It is now clearer, more than ever, that Zanu PF members are coming to appreciate that Mugabe’s continued incumbency is the problem facing this country and any attempts to make him the party’s 2018 presidential candidate would be fatal.
After many people were used to oust Mujuru and then dumped, it is more likely they will resort to Bhora Musango to get back at Mugabe and his wife.
Talking of Bhora Musango, I should herein describe its genesis and correct the misconceptions that have been doing rounds in Zanu PF with regards to the phenomenon.
The idea of Bhora Musango started in Mashonaland West, in Chegutu when rival groups pitting Webster Shamu and Stanley Majiri on one side, Phineas Mariyapera and Edna Madzongwe, on the other, were fighting to replace Willie Muringani as Mayor of the small town.
A phenomenon that had started when the rival groups sponsored different football outfits which used to play against each other and where the team that was winning would always place the ball into touch (bhora musango) to buy time and win the match, was later introduced into politics when the two rival groups found themselves supporting different candidates for the mayoral elections.
So bad was the blood between the rival groups that they introduced the bhora musango phenomenon in national politics and this explains why Zanu PF fared badly in Mashonaland West Province in the 2002 and 2008 presidential elections.
It is unfortunate that the truth about the phenomenon has not been said with most people in the party erroneously associating the Bhora Musango with the Mujuru faction when it is clear that Mugabe has always been having the best votes in Mashonaland Central, Mujuru’s home area compared to his Mashonaland West home area where the Bhora Musango phenomenon started.
One has to look at the presidential elections results in 2002 and 2008 in the two provinces to understand where the Bhora Musango phenomenon was coming from.
With the architects of Bhora Musango, Madzongwe, Shamu, Majiri and Mariyapera still actively involved in Zanu PF politics and the current fluidity of allegiances, it is not a wild guess that we might see a more intense Bhora Musango in 2018 if Mugabe chooses to stand as the party’s presidential candidate.
A Panicking Zanu PF
We have been reading State media reports that President Mugabe is not panicking over Mujuru’s re-entry into politics and that Zanu PF is more than prepared for her, in fact that she is a nonentity who does not need the attention of the party.
We are told, by far away Zanu PF apologists who are operating from foreign capital cities, economic refugees who are beneficiaries of a sound economic base created by foreign governments, that Mujuru is going to meet the same fate as Edgar Tekere, Simba Makoni and others, yet events at home point to the fact that Mugabe and his party are quivering, completely uncomfortable with Mujuru’s bold declaration she has something different to offer this country compared to what Zanu PF, in Mugabe, is offering.
Statements coming from the Zanu PF military wing, masquerading as a national army, are indicative of this panic and the threat of violence is meant to deal a blow to a simmering Tsunami that is surely going to sweep Zanu PF away in 2018.
The prospect of an East-North alliance between Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru has literally shaken Zanu PF and as world history has shown, any dictator who faced war on two fronts, was eventually crushed, as if in a nut-cracker, by the devastating effect of such mutual alliances.
It is now clear that the armed men have exposed the true state of panic within civilian politicians by their reckless threats to unleash violence on any political group that challenges Mugabe at the polls and no matter what the propagandists would say, it is clear that the regime is shaking and has no clue what sort of creature, in Mujuru’s People First, they would face at the polls in 2018.