OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: A letter from the diaspora

As the Zanu PF Conference – or is it a Congress – draws closer, the question of who will be the party’s candidate for president in the next election takes on increasing urgency.

Time for Zanu PF chefs to reveal where their true loyalties lie! Patrick Chinamasa this week declared himself in favour of Robert Mugabe, “Zanu PF will sink without Mugabe” he said. Interesting that it is the party rather than the country that concerns Chinamasa; the party could not afford “to change the captain in the middle of a storm,” he added, though what exactly that storm is, Chinamasa did not stipulate.

Enos Nkala, a founding member of Zanu PF, in whose Highfield home Zanu PF was born in 1963, thinks otherwise. This week he urged the party to drop Robert Mugabe as their 2012 candidate saying openly that Mugabe is too old and if he remains at the helm then the party will lose the next election. Nkala’s dissatisfaction is, however, not only to do with Mugabe’s age and leadership style, the state of the party is also a matter of concern. “I am not happy with the way the party is going…cowboys, power seekers and fly-by-night politicians have highjacked the party.” Nkala said. There are reports that various factions within the party have united in a bid to oust Robert Mugabe.

It would be naive to assume that all these dissenters are acting for purely altruistic motives. Despite the fact that Zanu PF has declared officially that Mugae is their candidate, the vice-president and widow of the late Solomon Mujuru, is keen to take on the post of president. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Defence, is another top Zanu PF man eager to take over the presidency. With so many people after his job, Mugabe might be tempted to retire from the fray; but, supported by the military, the police, the war vets and with hundreds of Zanu PF youth ready to stir up trouble wherever HE wants it, the Old Man is probably not too worried.

It was Zanu PF Youth who disrupted an MDC Rally in Marondera this week, forcing members of the public to run for their lives. Apparently Zanu PF in Marondera strongly objected to posters displayed around the town advertising an MDC Rally. Zanu PF said the posters ‘offended’ them! Meanwhile, soldiers in the same province were busy handing out notebooks to village headmen to record how and where people vote in the forthcoming election. Now, that is offensive. Similarly, when Zanu PF Youths disrupt Electoral consultations and announce that they intend to target white-owned businesses to fund their party’s Conference, all true democrats must be offended.

Mugabe’s party is accustomed to condemn anyone who dares to comment even mildly about Zimbabwe; the party cannot tolerate criticism. It was the Commonwealth’s turn to provoke Zanu PF’s anger this week when they said they would be happy to readmit Zimbabwe once the country has been restored to full democracy. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi called that comment ‘illegality with arrogance’. A Commonwealth briefing paper had suggested that it could offer help to encourage Zimbabwe’s progress towards democracy though why that is either arrogant or illegal escapes me.

Considering Zimbabwe’s recent electoral experiences, it sounded pretty hypocritical when Mugabe congratulated Zambia on peaceful elections and for appointing a white man as deputy president. Mugabe boasted about how many whites he had in his first cabinet but omitted to say how whites – and especially farmers – have been treated lately. Today, Friday, Zanu PF proclaimed the late, unlamented Gaddafi as ‘a hero’ even though ordinary Libyans have been dancing in the streets to celebrate his demise. Once again we see how party comes before country and people for Zanu PF.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.aka. Pauline Henson author of the Dube books, detective stories with a political slant, set in Zimbabwe and available on Lulu.com

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