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Factionalism not peculiar to Zanu-PF

26 Jun 2020 at 07:27hrs | Views
FACTIONALISM is not a phenomenon peculiar to Zanu-PF. Political parties, the world over, are plagued by "parties within a party" whose members band together to achieve particular goals and advance their agenda within a political party.

For example, in the USA, there is a tug-of-war between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party (DP). The progressives within the DP are championing an agenda which would lead to a radical transformation of the American society.

Zanu-PF since its formation has been a faction-riddled party. In many instances, the factions within Zanu-PF are motivated by tribal and ideological considerations.

Dylan Mangani (2018) accurately postulates that there is a symbiotic relationship between factionalism in Zanu-PF and the "different political trajectories" in Zimbabwe.

These factions in most instances are not visible and operate under the radar of the public eye. The political philosophy of democratic centralism ensures that party members valued discipline and unity of the party, not varied political ideas and vision.

Leftist (sometimes reactionary) and moderate (sometimes ultra-conservative) factions existed in Zanu-PF during and after the liberation struggle.

In the middle of the 1970s, the so-called "Young Turks" (Zipa/ Zanla commanders) influenced by Marxism and Leninism, and the nationalists led by the now late Robert Mugabe vigorously competed to control the trajectory of the armed revolution.

During the early years of independence, Edgar Tekere and Enos Nkala (both late) represented the leftist faction of Zanu-PF, which argued that Mugabe was becoming a paper tiger, because of his "reconciliatory approach towards the late VicePresident Joshua Nkomo and the white community" (Mangani, 2018).

This contest between the leftists and moderate factions in Zanu was not salient and manifest, but motivated the actions and behaviours of Zanu-PF as a party and Mugabe as a leader.

However, the emergence of the G40 and Lacoste factions is perhaps the most visible in the history of Zanu-PF as a party and liberation movement.

The struggle between these two factions captured the attention of the public.

The Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru factions that preceded it paled in comparison.

The Lacoste and G40 factions defined the political trajectory of Zimbabwe. These two factions are to blame for the political, economic, financial, and social crises in Zimbabwe.

The November 2017 "coup" could not have happened if these two factions did not exist.

Mugabe could have been dethroned constitutionally without dividing and creating hatred within Zimbabwe's body politic.

The writing was on the wall for the demise of Mugabe, and the birth of a new Zimbabwe.

Unity within Zanu-PF could have forced Mugabe to pass the baton, leading to a smooth transition, thereby unleashing leadership renewal and regeneration in Zanu-PF.

The arguments and explanations of the two factions are not convincing and demonstrate selfishness and the desire to use State power for personal and tribal aggrandisement.

Arguably, although the G40 was vanquished and is now scattered all over the globe, remnants and sympathisers of the G40 are still in Zimbabwe in industry, commerce, government, etc.

These constitute the greatest threat to Mnangagwa's government. Remnants of the G40 inside and outside Zimbabwe are now a security threat. Within government, they are sabotaging government programmes and policy implementation.

In industry and commerce (with their allies and supporters), they are raising prices and creating artificial shortages to generate hostility and anger towards the Mnangagwa government.

The tragedy is that in its desperation to seize the levers of State power, the MDC (perhaps the only credible opposition party in Zimbabwe), has embraced and welcomed some G40 members.

This strategic error on the part of MDC means that the people's movement has been diluted, polluted and corrupted.

The G40 and Lacoste factions have failed to reconcile and bury their differences. Mnangagwa and those around him are to blame.

Mnangagwa as President of the country and Zanu-PF and Zanu-PF as a party have dismally failed to build bridges. They cannot forgive and forget. In politics, there are no permanent enemies.

The polarisation and hatred whether between the G40 and Lacoste factions or Zanu-PF and the MDC is not good for Zimbabwean politics. Mugabe and the late Morgan Tsvangirai had, to some extent, broken the polarisation and encouraged bipartisanship.

The legacy of the conflict between the Lacoste and G40 factions in Zanu-PF will haunt us for eternity as a nation. The test and calibre of leadership are demonstrated during times of crisis.

Mnangagwa must rise to the occasion, reconcile with G40 and extend an olive branch to the MDC by humbling himself and start negotiations with Nelson Chamisa for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

Humility and servant leadership is what it takes to usher Zimbabwe into a land full of milk and honey.

Lovemore Sibanda is an academic, historian, and teacher educator in the United States and former lecturer. He can be contacted on

Source - newsday
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