Kasukuwere should be worried

Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu (PF) national political commissar, has every reason to quake in his boots because he wears them uneasily. Not only that; he is treading a treacherous minefield in those boots. That means he should be very worried.


I am not privy to the circumstances that led to his appointment as the political commissar at the ruling party’s controversial December congress. I am also not sure why he accepted the position, considering it has been a source of problems for most of the people who held it. My hope is that he is doesn’t think he is smarter than all the rest.

There is a heavy stench of death hanging around the chair he was handed at the congress. Two of his homeboys, Elliot Manyika and Border Gezi – who were fairly young when they were made political commissars – perished under suspicious circumstances, in questionable road accidents. The real story relating to those tragedies has never been told. What is clear, though, is that many questions still need answers. It is not hard to speculate that they were killed by party colleagues.

There are ominous similarities between the Kasukuwere case and those of his two predecessors. All of them are from Mashonaland Central. It is, of course, difficult to identify what makes commissars from that province “killable” but the mere coincidence in itself must be a source of worry. Of course, after Border Gezi and Manyika, there was Webster Shamu who was not assassinated, but there is a statistical tale here. It means Kasukuwere has a 75 percent chance of dying in a mysterious road accident.

Secondly, Kasukuwere, like Gezi and Manyika, has already started courting controversy in his role. His decisions and actions have touched raw nerves, particularly in this season of by-elections. I hear that he is trying hard to put his own people in strategic positions. There are unconfirmed reports that he has already grown presidential ambitions, hence his alleged biased restructuring methods.

Manyika and Gezi might not have been working to feather their personal nests, but they stepped on very sensitive party toes along the way. This is what has heightened the speculation that they were assassinated.

If what is being said about Kasukuwere’s machinations is true, he will attract undesirable motives from powerful people in his party. These people might not be saying it publicly, but they would always hate a person who stands in their way to the presidency because they have been sweating for a long time to get there. And they know no other way of dealing with rivals but murder.

It would always be foolhardy for Kasukuwere to assume he has friends. There are no permanent friends in politics. So, while he might have been gifted with the national commissar’s post by the very people he worked with to remove Joice Mujuru from power, these assumed allies could easily hang him on their shoulders like game on a hunting trip.

The only plausible explanation why Shamu was not pushed over the cliff by internal rivals is his almost hands-off approach to the office of political commissar. He avoided controversy by not doing what Gezi and Manyika did. He didn’t do what Kasukuwere is now doing by meddling with party structures in a way that ruffles feathers. Shamu used proxies to do the work for him, so it would always be difficult to directly blame him for changes in cell, ward, district, provincial and national structures. Being the old boy from Mbare, he was smart.

Prevailing factionalism in Zanu (PF) is another potential source of trouble for Kasukuwere. Contrary to his own claims and those from elsewhere in the party, Zanu (PF) remains a fiercely factionalised party. That factionalism also existed in the days of Gezi and Manyika.

As I have already pointed out in this space, the one-centre-of-power idea that those belonging to the faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa are bandying around is a sorry myth. The military lurks in the wings, keen to assume greater political power – as do other ambitious individuals.

Internal jostling can only be expected to intensify ahead of the 2018 general elections and we will witness more power groups emerging.

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Post published in: Mugabe Succession

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