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Zimbabwe's Top Parties Say Factionalism Very Destructive

Morgan Tsvangirai addressing supporters.

A Zanu PF lawmaker and a senior official of the Movement for Democratic Change led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai say there is no room for factionalism in their parties.

Joseph Tshuma, who is also a Zanu PF Central Committee member, said in a panel discussion that the current internal strife in his party pitting groups eyeing the succession of 91-year-old President Mugabe, is doing a lot of harm.

He commended recent remarks made by Mr. Mugabe that party members must stop factionalism in order to focus on issues affecting Zimbabweans and to strengthen Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 general elections.

“Indeed let us focus on building our nation, let’s make sure that Zimbabwe goes ahead (develops). Factionalism must be eradicated, it does not build … it destroys. We don’t want something that is destructive, we want something that glues (party members together).

He could not say how this could be stopped amid serious conflicts in the party pitting two bitter camps – one allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another calling itself Generation 40 or G40 using First Lady Grace Mugabe as its likely candidate for succeeding President Mugabe.

Mrs. Mugabe last Friday attacked the Mnangagwa faction, widely known now as the Lacoste Group, for allegedly attempting to topple the president, an accusation similar to the one laid against former Vice President Joice Mujuru before she was expelled from the party.

The former vice president and her colleagues, who include former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and former party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and several others, have dismissed these allegations as baseless.

On factionalism, Abednico Bhebhe of the MDC-T believes that there is no factionalism in his party despite the expulsion of Senator Matson Hlalo in Bulawayo last Friday and several other incidents related to internal conflicts.

“I am not qualified to discuss factionalism because we don’t have factionalism in our party. We respect each other. We are preparing to ourselves to actually rescue Zimbabweans from the problems that they are facing right now.

“We have seen all the factionalism in Zanu PF. We believe that this factionalism is the one that is taking Zimbabwe back and is the one that is diverting the attention of Zimbabweans from the problems they are facing particularly of hunger and economic decline.”

Reacting to these remarks, Tshuma said some of these issues are created by the media.

“You end up seeing somebody who is not your enemy as your enemy number one. Mr. Bhebhe will be lying to himself when he says their party has no factionalism. In fact, it’s full of that as well.”

Bhebhe said the factionalism bedeviling Zanu PF is fueled by a leadership vacuum as they need to seriously think about removing President Mugabe “who is now a national liability.”

President Mugabe will be turning 92 this month, making him one of the oldest presidents in the world. He has been in power since Zimbabwe attained independence from British rule in 1980.