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Nothing new from tired Zanu-PF

31 Oct 2021 at 08:44hrs | Views
Zanu-PF's annual conference is underway in Bindura and, predictably, the former liberation party is not proffering any fresh ideas to extricate Zimbabwe from the quicksand of corruption-induced poverty and autocracy.

This week, we were subjected to yet another poignant reminder of Zanu-PF's catastrophic decline as a political formation. Right in the heart of Harare, in broad daylight, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government deployed truncheon-wielding police to intimidate and arrest veterans of the armed liberation struggle. It was an unsettling spectacle. What crime did these liberators commit? Did they violate the law by simply demanding a better pension? Peaceful protest, lest we forget, is a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Through his outdated brand of heavy-handed politics, Mnangagwa may have finally managed to achieve what pro-democracy campaigners have failed to do for a long time: galvanise internal Zanu-PF opposition to his increasingly problematic misrule.

The powerful symbolism arising from the arrest of 40-odd comrades who were bundled into police trucks by armed officers cannot be ignored. Such barbaric treatment is often reserved for the opposition MDC Alliance, not a wing of the ruling party. The ex-guerillas refused to be cowed - shouting to anyone who cared to listen that Mnangagwa's pampered elites and their cronies were living large while everyone else starved.

Interestingly, Chris Mutsvangwa, who in the past has never lost an opportunity to posture as the glorious leader of a generation of venerated war veterans, was deafeningly quiet this time around. There was no word either from Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also national chairperson of Zanu-PF. The shocking spectacle of police intimidating and arresting war veterans in central Harare was not an isolated incident. There is a pattern. Fractures within Zanu-PF now run deep.

Just a week ago, party member Sybeth Musengezi filed a lawsuit at the High Court challenging Mnangagwa's ascendancy to the helm on the back of the 2017 military coup. He argues that the central committee meeting of 19 November 2017 which propelled him to the helm was a "kangaroo" gathering whose outcome must be declared null and void. The blockbuster lawsuit - even in a country in which judicial capture is no longer an idle supposition but a stark reality - has set the cat among the pigeons.

All this is happening at a time factional strife within Zanu-PF is reaching a crescendo, with party structures in Masvingo and the Midlands torn asunder as heavyweights vie for power and influence.

Ruling party insiders say there is growing exasperation with Mnangagwa's failure to decisively tackle economic hardships and deliver a long overdue democratic dividend. He has, in all respects, squandered the outpouring of goodwill triggered by the dramatic ouster of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe four years ago.

On Mnangagwa's watch, inequality has worsened, with the gap between the haves and the have-nots widening to dangerous levels.

The cartelisation of the economy is now posing an existential threat to the very survival of the troubled republic.

The World Bank says 7.9 million citizens are living in extreme poverty, surviving on less than US$1.90 per day. Citizens - including the disillusioned war veterans who are finally speaking out - feel outraged by the state of the economy. As the former freedom fighters correctly observe, only a few politically connected individuals and their privileged cronies are enjoying the fat of the land, while the overwhelming majority is wallowing in utter deprivation.

But as Zanu-PF bigwigs flock to the Mashonaland Central capital in their luxury vehicles and shiny suits for the annual shindig, they must ask themselves a serious question that demands an urgent answer: What is the big idea at the heart of today's version of Zanu-PF? What is the defining philosophy? The party of Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara and Eddison Zvobgo has been relegated to a vehicle for primitive accumulation. It has been reduced to a shelf party with neither the vision nor mission required to take the long-suffering masses to a free and prosperous Zimbabwe.

It leaves a sour taste in the mouth that, 41 years after Independence, the country is now a fully fledged authoritarian kleptocracy.

Source - NewsHawks
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