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Analysts: Mugabe's Appeal for Party Unity A Waste of Time

FILE: Zimbabwean war veterans who had gathered to demonstrate against a faction within the ruling Zanu PF party, reportedly led by the First Lady Grace Mugabe, vent their anger after they were dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons in Harare, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday appealed for unity in his party and castigated war veterans for fanning factionalism amid claims that they are backing a faction of the ruling party allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Some analysts say the rift in the ruling party would not end if Mr. Mugabe does not resolve the succession question.

President Mugabe told an estimated 100,000 supporters, who marched in Harare in solidarity with him that factionalism within the ruling party should stop.

His wife Grace is reportedly leading a faction calling itself Generation 40 or G40 that is said to be seeking to block Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who allegedly leads another camp calling itself Team Lacoste, from taking over the presidency once Mr. Mugabe leaves office.

Mr. Mugabe, who says he is not ready to retire, told Zanu PF members, including war veterans, to shun factionalism saying it was destroying the revolutionary party.


But political analyst Ibbo Mandaza of the Southern African Political and Economic Series Trust says Mr. Mugabe’s appeal for unity within his party would not bear fruit for as long as the succession question was not resolved.

Mandaza says Mr. Mugabe’s message was clear that he has no plans to hand over the power baton.

Director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, agrees, adding that problems that arise within structural organizations such as political parties or institutions can never be resolved at rallies.

Mandaza says Wednesday’s public march to show support for the president indicates that the first family was establishing its roots in the military.

He said the march was a direct response to Mnangagwa’s political machinations. The First Lady, Grace Mugabe, and Mnangagwa have, however, denied that they were leading any factions.


Director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Memory Kadawu, agrees with Mandaza and Ruhanya, noting that the head of state thrives on using the corruption of his foes in Zanu PF to cling to power.

Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzai Chipanga told Mr. Mugabe in his face on Wednesday that some of his unnamed senior cabinet ministers and party officials were corrupt, adding they were driving expensive vehicles when the country’s economy was bleeding.

Amid claims by Chipanga that corruption was rampant in government and Mr. Mugabe’s claims that $15 billion from Chaiadzwa diamond proceeds was lost through corruption, Kadawu said Mr. Mugabe lacks the political will to deal with corruption.

Ruhanya further says the fact that thousands of Zanu PF supporters marched in Harare yesterday would not help to revive the country’s economy.

He says as long as long President Mugabe remained in power no foreign direct investment would be injected into the country’s economy.


They also agreed that Wednesday’s march would not encourage that West to lift the restrictive measures imposed on his inner circle for alleged gross human rights and electoral fraud.

Zanu PF spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo was not reachable for comment as he was said to be attending various meetings in Harare.

Thomas Chiripasi Reports on Aftermath of Million Man March
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