In a sensational pronouncement, President Robert Mugabe yesterday warned the army, the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) against participating and meddling in the post-congress Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars.
Contrary to expectations, the party’s deadly factional fights have worsened since the brutal ouster from power of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her close allies on untested claims of plotting to remove Mugabe from office illegally and even planning to assassinate the long-ruling nonagenarian.
Addressing party members at Zanu PF’s annual conference in Victoria Falls, Mugabe revealed both his frustration with, and impotence in the face of the ugly brawls that are ripping the former liberation movement apart.
“Apa patasvika pekuti vamwe vava kupindira hapana kunaka. Vanhu vari kuuya kwandiri vachinditi zvakanaka here izvi? Inga vamwe vava kupindira, vechisoja, vechipurisa, veintelligence vaakufamba vachiti ava vanodavo ngana avo ndovokwangana. Havadi ngana vanoda party.
“Let’s stop that. We are ruining the party. Gwara reparty riripo (We have now entered a dangerous era. People are telling me that what is happening is not good and that soldiers, the police and the intelligence services are now also involved in the party’s factional wars),” Mugabe said.
Unexpectedly, Mugabe also went on to openly show his unwavering support for his wife Grace who some bigwigs allege is working with the party’s Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) — which is embroiled in a bitter succession war with embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies.
Mugabe even said “Pamberi naAmai Mugabe (forward with Grace)” in his introductory remarks, — a move that was interpreted by some delegates as a clear sign that he is strongly behind the first lady and the G40.
And despite, some pathetic claims by a few bootlicking bigwigs and their lackeys in State media that the party’s succession wars are allegedly the creation of the private media, Mugabe — not for the first time — said yesterday that the fights were not only real, but were also threatening to split the party.
“We must know that we are one family. Fights are always there, but at the end of the day, we need to sit down and find a common solution.
“Ndakataura nyaya yekuti vamwe vanoda zvigaro. Kuita shungu yekuda zvigaro hazvingarambidzwi. Asika shungu iyoyo ngaiitwe negwara. Shungu iyoyo haifanirwi kuita kuti vanhu vakakatidzane.
“Izvo zvinozoita kuti zvinzi ava ndovokwangana, ava ndivo vokwangana hazvifanirwe kudaro (being ambitious is not a problem in itself, but you should follow laid down procedures as you do so, rather than create factions).
“If you say these are my people, what about others, where do they belong? This issue is causing instability in the party and (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai is now happy with what is happening … all this must come to an end. You must stop it,” Mugabe thundered.
“Tikati ava ndevaVaMnangagwa, ava ndevaMphoko ko ini vangu ndevapi? (If we say these people belong to Mnangagwa or Mphoko, who is then in my camp)? We cannot succeed if we continue quarrelling. Divided we fall, united we stand.
“There is no comrade who is more special than the other, whether you went to war or not. As long as you are a member of the party you are all comrades. Even if you are a comrade who is a groundnuts farmer I want to say to you we are same in the party. We need to unite for the good of the party,” Mugabe added.
Mphoko, who spoke earlier and has been strongly linked to the G40, warned errant party members who he said were fanning the rampant factionalism.
After having accompanied Grace to most of her recent rallies around the country, Mphoko said if people said the first lady was leading a faction this necessarily meant that those people also thought that Mugabe was a “factional leader”.
“Your Excellency, as the first secretary and president of the party, you are the only centre of power. The country must rally behind you as a united people and united party.
“Hence, insinuations that Her Excellency the first lady leads a faction implies that you Your Excellency that you are in it too.
“The insinuation implies that you are a faction leader as it is impossible to separate the first lady from the first secretary and the president,” he said.
Mphoko said the worsening party factionalism was now threatening to destroy the former liberation movement.
“We must never allow tribalism, factionalism and corruption. That must be clear and understood by all of us. Factionalism will weaken the party because it causes the comrades to be suspicious of each other.
“If factionalism occurs among the leadership it will cause leaders to divert their focus or their principles, which is to fulfil what we have promised to do for the people of Zimbabwe through our manifesto,” he said.
“As a country, we must also put a full stop on corruption. We need to draw a line and ensure that anyone who is found on the wrong side of the law must be prosecuted.
“It must be understood that corruption is derailing the development of the country. It is also sad to note that cases of rape are escalating. Anyone found guilty of raping an under 16 should be castrated and also those who rape over 65 years should also be castrated,” Mphoko added.