Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru today said that those who think the current purge within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front will result in a split of the party are not only mistaken but childish.
“In place of a split, there is an ongoing dramatic spitting of bad leaders in ways that effects a seismic shift in the ZANU-PF body, but while retaining the stability that comes with the familiar by way of the same face at the top,” he said in his column which was last published three weeks ago.
There has been a purge within ZANU-PF over the last few weeks which has seen Vice-President Joice Mujuru and other senior party cadres such as Labour Minister Nicholas Goche, Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda being sidelined.
Sibanda was arrested yesterday for allegedly undermining the authority of the president while The Herald has published a series of scandals allegedly involving Mujuru the latest one being that she was allegedly involved in a $4 million scam.
Manheru said change in ZANU-PF was inevitable and party leader Robert Mugabe was in full control.
“If truth be told, very few leaders in ZANU-PF are able to explain how the 2013 elections happened, how the landslide victory came about. Equally, very few in ZANU-PF can legitimately claim that victory, much as it benefited them.
“ZANU-PF won elections from the centre, never from the margins which in turn then built the centre, as happens normally. Indeed this is why 2008 could never have been repeated in 2013.
“The drive and impetus came from the centre, which is why party primaries changed faces in ZANU-PF, indeed marked the beginning of some of the changes now underway.
“The centre connected with the ordinary membership to devalue the role of lesser officials so given to manipulating processes for patronage and succession. Some day when I get too happy, ndafarisa, I shall let you in,” he said.
Manheru said Mugabe owed precious little to individual candidates who won in constituencies. They, not he, owed him too much for their “victory”.
“This is why he is able today to restructure his party in this un-ruffling way, but without risking a membership crisis as witnessed in MDC-T.
“This is why the ongoing struggle within ZANU-PF mobilises its constituency, and not demobilise it as is the case with MDC-T. It is that direct connection between the centre and grassroots players which the so-called rebels overlooked with fatal consequences.
“Such a reality places the people at the beck and call of the party, and not of individual leaders, leaders below the President that is. This is why this whole talk about a ZANU-PF split is as mistaken as it is childish,” he said.
There has been speculation that Mujuru can lead a splinter group which would take on all those who have been purged because they were behind her.
There have also been reports that she could team up with Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but his party said Tsvangirai cannot play second-fiddle to Mujuru.
Some reports have suggested that Mujuru’s supporters will be going to court to stop the ZANU-PF congress scheduled for next week.