Zimbabwe and the risk of a power vacuum


Zimbabwe is balancing on a knife edge. The whole country is bristling with nervous energy. Not long now before everything comes to a head

The natives are getting increasingly restless. The beat of their drum is getting louder and louder, ringing in Robert Mugabe and his acolytes’ ears. The regime is facing its toughest test yet and showing signs of strain. Public displays of bravado and defiance in the face of unprecedented levels of dissent betray the fragility of the government’s hold on power.

The biggest shock to the regime’s system is the realisation that there is a burgeoning army of citizens with the effrontery to challenge its authority. After years of behaving like a schoolyard bully terrorising timid kids, Mugabe is facing up to the reality that he has lost his fear factor. The masses are starting to push back. They will not be cowed by their leader and his minions anymore.

Yet despite this newfound temerity to stand up to their oppressors there is something gnawing at Zimbabweans. Their exhilaration is tinged with trepidation because they are acutely aware that ZANU PF’s aversion to succession planning and the party’s internecine factional feuds imperil the country’s future. Incredulously, a party that purports to be democratic has criminalised long overdue succession debate, labelling such discourse acts of treason. So, in its eternal wisdom, the ruling party is hitching its wagons and the country’s fortunes to a cadaverous 92­year­old’s falling star.

It is clear who stands to benefit the most by keeping Mugabe in power. The faction christened the G40 has the ear of the president. In fact, this group has ‘captured’ the First Family. Mugabe speaks scathingly against factionalism, but only does so to frustrate the faction monikered ‘Team Lacoste’. The president is openly and actively aiding and abetting the G40 agenda.

That’s Mugabe for you, our leader the high priest of hypocrisy. Is it a coincidence that Jonathan Moyo was asked to step into the breach as Minister of Local Government in Saviour Kasukuwere’s absence, one G40 kingpin deputizing for another in cabinet? Is it too far­fetched to suggest that the choice of incumbent’s short­term replacement was submitted to the president for sign off as a fait accompli? Mugabe, for many years the master puppeteer, is now a puppet doing the bidding of the faction aligned to his wife

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