Although historians says its an ‘urban myth’ that spirit mediums Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi were hanged on that tree in the late 1890’s, superstitious Zimbabweans nevertheless believe the tree has a powerful spiritual force and its fall signals that something significant is about to happen in the country.
Writing in her weekly letter from Zimbabwe, author Cathy Buckle said: “On the same day as the ‘Hanging Tree’ collapsed in Harare, Mr Mugabe was in Bulawayo, planting a tree on National Tree Day. All eyes were on him and Bulawayo as ZANU PF held their annul congress.”
ZANU PF delegates arrived for the conference with the party at its weakest politically. Despite controlling the state security apparatus and still able to harass and intimidate its opponents, ZANU PF itself is heavily divided into factions. To make matters worse the suspicious death in a farm house fire of one of the faction leaders, General Solomon Mujuru, has added to the vicious battles.
The WikiLeaks saga also exposed that many in the party are secretly plotting Mugabe’s ouster. The acrimony was captured by war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda who described the plotters as ‘worse than dogs.’
Sibanda said: “Those people are serious sellouts, who pretend to like the President in his presence but go to the enemy behind him and criticise him. Dogs are even better than these people. A dog is not educated but it can understand better and defend its home than these people. Some of these people are even educated and some of them are even holding degrees. These people are also the ones who are causing divisions in the party.”
US diplomatic cables leaked on the WikiLeaks website showed that several senior ZANU PF officials, including Jonathan Moyo, Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Cephas Msipa, either plotted or were associated with attempts to remove Mugabe.
On Monday the MDC-T commented on the ZANU PF conference and said it had been, “another big yawn as party bigwigs failed to tackle Mugabe.”
They described the conference by their rivals as nothing more than a ‘talk shop’ which, “blew away US$1,5 million on food and drink at a time when the World Food Programme has warned that over 1 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are faced with starvation between now and the next harvest in March 2012.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party said the conference in Bulawayo showed that there was “a deficit of brave leaders within that party (ZANU PF) as they cannot stand up to Mugabe and challenge him, and yet they are quick to speak their minds behind closed doors.” This was a reference to WikiLeaks revelations that ZANU PF leaders told US diplomats of their plans to oust Mugabe.
Meanwhile political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda told SW Radio Africa that while everyone talks about ZANU PF having two factions, the party in fact had three. In addition to the Emmerson Mnangagwa and Solomon Mujuru factions, he said there were some party activists who were still rallying around Mugabe and this was a faction on its own, fighting to keep Mugabe in power. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News