The real crisis in ZANU-PF that no one wants to talk about


Going by media reports, especially those online, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be gone within a year. He may not last that long because the military, which brought him to power, is now so disgruntled with him that they are going to launch another coup, this time entitled “Operation Restore Economy”.  According to these reports, the removal of Mnangagwa is already in motion. He is under house arrest. Mnangagwa has no way out because Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend, China has dumped him in favour of his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

For a nation whose adrenalin seems to thrive on gossip, rumour, fantasies and speculation spread on the social media, Mnangagwa is finished. After all, he has failed to address the fuel, cash and power shortages now bedeviling the country.

But no one seems to be asking the crucial question, can Chiwenga really do it given his state of health? Is Mnangagwa not really facing a serious crisis within his own party that of not having real lieutenants as all senior party officials are in poor health?

Besides, are Zimbabweans not making Mnangagwa another Mugabe- that is by making it sound as if there will be no ZANU-PF without Mnangagwa?

At least one of the leading critics of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front critics, Alex Magaisa, has refused to accept this and has urged Zimbabweans not to accept the narrative arguing that Mnangagwa alone is not the problem. It is the system.

“The mess won’t be sorted just because one man is substituted,” Magaisa said. “Some got into government with great credentials but they have completely & utterly lost it. It’s the system – which includes practices and mentalities of greed, authoritarianism & self-entitlement.

“The 2017 Coup narrative isolated Robert Mugabe via the facade of targeting criminals around him. The narrative presented ED & the military cabal as saviours. Desperate for change, millions were persuaded. That project has failed dismally & similar narrative is being spun again

“In terms of this narrative, only ED is the failure. Sure, as leader, the buck stops with him. But like Mugabe before him, ED is the head of a system. When Mugabe was isolated & ousted, that system remained. No wonder things only got worse. This time people should be wary…

“Therefore, treat with great caution the narratives being generated from within the ruling party. ED’s sympathisers present him as a victim of ambitious subordinates. His opponents within present him as the only problem & they can do better. Both are self-serving narratives.”

People have to look at the reality on the ground. While Mnangagwa is facing an economic crisis, he is also facing an internal political crisis because almost all his lieutenants are in such poor health that he should be worried.

The man touted as Mnangagwa’s greatest foe, his deputy Chiwenga, may not have time for all the shenanigans he is associated with as he is seriously ill. He is not even at work right now.

Last year’s election campaign must have worn him out because he has been in and out of hospital since.

The same applies to the “face of the coup”, Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo. He too has been off work more than on since the 30 July elections.

The “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” re-engagement process he embarked on soon after Mnangagwa came to power must also have worn him out.

The only former military person in Mnangagwa’s government who has not been in and out of hospital is Perrance Shiri but by the look of things, he seems quite happy in his ministry.

The top military officer Phillip Valerio Sibanda has over the years been described as a professional soldier who is not interested in politics. Could this have changed?

Mohadi’s health is suspect too.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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