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Expelled Zanu PF Activists Vow Not to Rejoin Mugabe's Ruling Party

  • Arthur Chigoriwo

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, center, and his wife Grace stand at State House in Harare, Saturday, Jan., 23, 2016. Mugabe,91, who was rumored to be sick and hospitalized, returned from his annual vacation on Friday. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, center, and his wife Grace stand at State House in Harare, Saturday, Jan., 23, 2016. Mugabe,91, who was rumored to be sick and hospitalized, returned from his annual vacation on Friday. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Some former Zanu PF members say the on-going purging of party activists with divergent views is an indication that the former liberation movement is crumbling. They claim that the current leadership of the party is now out of touch with reality and many people want to leave Zanu PF.

At least 150 people, including former Vice President Joice Mujuru, have been expelled following the controversial elective Zanu PF congress in 2014. Mrs. Mujuru, former party administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and others were accused of attempting to topple President Mugabe before the congress.

Some of the expelled activists were in the provincial, district, branch and cell organs of the party. They were also accused of being part of the so-called Mujuru camp, which allegedly wanted to oust the then 91 year old president.

Mrs. Mujuru and her colleagues have dismissed these allegations as untrue saying the same thing is happening to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been accused by senior party members, including First Lady Grace Mugabe, of making some clandestine moves to succeed Mr. Mugabe through using a faction of the party known as Team Lacoste.

The other faction, Generation 40, is believed to be backing Mrs. Mugabe for the presidential post. It is composed of Young Turks like Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao. Mrs. Mugabe says she does not want to succeed her husband.

Now, former Zanu PF members say factionalism gripping the party may lead to a resounding defeat in the 2018 general polls and ultimate demise.

ZANU OF OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY

Former party cadre Tendai Musonza, who was expelled from the party for standing as an independent candidate in a municipal election, says he will never rejoin Zanu PF, which he claims is out of touch with what is happening in Zimbabwe.

Musonza claims that only few people are now benefiting from the party. “I have been a strong member of Zanu PF. I got my political orientation from Zanu PF and I'm proud at that, I am not against the Zanu PF of 1979 or 1980 there about but I am against the Grace Mugabe Zanu PF .... We supported Zanu PF when it was an august institution when everybody wanted to belong to it but all that changed because they were no longer walking the talk (as) few individuals were now benefiting at the expense of the people.

“I might have started realizing it long back even though it took me time to say I'm now leaving Zanu PF. There are times I thought change was going to come from within but it was when I realized things were not going to happen that way and decided that enough was enough … When I left Zanu PF at that time I was branded a sell-out but I'm happy that the people who branded me that way then when I left Zanu PF are now seeing the same reason why I left it and those same people are now out of Zanu PF too.”

PEOPLE’S VOICES SILENCED

Another former Zanu PF member, Denis Kagonye, who worked for the now defunct party mouthpiece, The Voice, says he was fired for expressing party members’ concerns, especially on the status of the ailing economy.

Kagonye, who is now an independent publisher of a weekly community newspaper, The Mirror, says he liked the Zanu PF political ideology when he joined the party but got fed up when he discovered that the leadership of the party did not care about the needs of party activists.

“I could not raise my voice or issued my view like the status of the country by then because it was one-sided editorial. The People's Voice was meant to be a party's paper which was meant for Zanu PF programs it wasn't a national paper but was meant for its cadres. Yes, I was full-time as youth member straight from school and the ideology of Zanu PF was good to me but later I started to see things differently.”

Kagonye was fired by then secretary for information Nathan Shamuyarira for airing his independent views about how the party was allegedly distancing itself from the people.

Temba Mliswa, former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson, who was expelled from the party in 2014, says there is no democracy in the ruling party.

GRACE MUGABE

Mliswa believes that President Mugabe does not have good advisers anymore compared to the time when he used to be deputized by people like the late vice presidents Simon Muzenda and Joshua Nkomo.

He says Mr. Mugabe is no longer in control of the party, which he claims, is now almost in the hands of his wife, Grace. “You have to understand that Joshua Nkomo had the respect of the Father Zimbabwe and the leader in Matabeleland, Simon Muzenda was the guru of politics in Masvingo representing the Kalangas that was very important and those are two key tribes that you need to control the country.

“Those were very strong people equally the same age able to talk, able to criticize and failure in having those people clearly made Mugabe to make decisions on his own and for a very long time he did that before Grace Mugabe was in … He was still on that path of making decision on his own but they were not as bad as they are now because certainly the wife has come in like I said she is more energetic, ambitious and clearly she has tasted power and equally he has to ensure that he leaves the wife safe but for me … the idea … really what she is doing is basically defeating what Mugabe has tried to do to leave a legacy so that she can be protected through it but that legacy is no more.”

Mliswa says there is life outside Zanu PF.

“What has happened is a blessing in disguise. I believe I was going to be one of the key players in the party in terms of rising to the top because I think the party had then taken a position to infuse young people ... Could you still achieve that outside Zanu PF? Yes. I realize that you could actually achieve that outside Zanu PF and that is the reason why I set up a youth advocacy forum which targets young people who are able to come together from different political parties but ensuring that transformation happens nationally rather than within a party so the vision has now been spread nationally.”

His sentiments are echoed by several other former ruling party members, who strongly believe that Zanu PF will lose in the 2018 general elections.

2018 GENERAL ELECTION PROJECTION

Musonza says the continuous purging of party activists indicates that Zanu PF won’t retain power in the general polls. “No. No. I don't see it surviving what is happening the infighting which is taking place within the party right now signifies the end time for Zanu PF. It’s not going to survive.”

But Zanu PF youth, Tatenda Mungororo, is adamant that Zanu PF is here to stay. He says those people who think that the party will collapse are day dreaming.

The purging of Zanu PF members in the past has seen high profile members like former president of the party the late Ndabaningi Sithole, former Zanu PF secretary general Edgar Tekere and politburo member Simba Makoni, forming their own political parties.

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