MUGABE SEEKS TO WIN BACK LEADERS WHO HAVE DESERTED ZANU PF
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF has pulled out all the stops to try and win back those high-profile people who left the ruling (ruining) party in the past. A three-member Task Force has been put in place to talk to such people as Jonathan Moyo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni and others.
The strategy to try and win back the dissidents was decided at the very first Politubro meeting held after the June 27 presidential election run-off. It appears, however, that this plan has all come to nought. ZANU PF is now such a diseased dog that no one who left would want to touch it with a bargepole. Of those who left, the only one most likely to even think about returning is Jonathan Moyo, according to the secretariat of the three-man team tasked with this whole business by Mugabe. But even he might realise that he has more to gain by remaining outside the sinking ship.
All others have almost certainly refused or were never approached. What can be confirmed is that the announcement about a month ago by Didymus Mutasa that all provincial chairmen of the ruining party who had been suspended after the Tsholotsho debacle were now reinstated was in pursuit of this strategy of papering over cracks. At the time, Mutasa said, "decisions were taken on the basis of wrong information. These people never plotted a coup against the president..." The party had known that all along. It was just that Jonathan Moyo tried to swim with sharks. As a junior minister, his move to organise a conference to bolster the chances of Mnangagwa becoming the next vice-president of ZANU PF and position him to take the presidency threatened too many entrenched interests in ZANU PF.
Mugabe is notoriously reluctant to act against incompetent ministers or members of his party. Should he perceive a threat to his leadership, however, he will act with the swiftness of a cobra. Hence the lightning-quick firing of Jonathan Moyo and the provincial chairmen (including Daniel Shumba) who attended his meeting. The March election was a wake-up call. Mugabe treasures the unity of his party above almost every other consideration (except the consolidation of his personal mastery over the party.) He realised that ZANU PF was hopelessly divided and this had cost it the election in March. The feeding trough in the pig-sty called Zimbabwe is getting emptier by the day. Or, to use another analogy, the ship is burning and the rats started abandoning ship a long time ago.
What is also almost certain is that these overtures were rebuffed by Simba Makoni. He refused to be enticed back aboard the dictatorial party in which members do not have the courage to speak their minds or even stand up for democracy, a party that would rather see itself die than burnish its image, even if doing so means firing the party president, as happened with Mbeki in South Africa. The refusal by Makoni to play ball has, according to most insiders, brought out the vindictive nature of Robert Mugabe's stewardship of ZANU PF.
Leaders ranging from governors to minsiters and provincial officeholders in ZANU PF are falling like flies. They are being fired left right and centre and most of those getting this treatment are those percieved to have been supporting the candidacy of Makoni in March. Now that Mugabe knows Makoni is not coming back to serve under him, he wants to destroy the former Finance Minister. By the time the ZANU PF congress is held in December, the party's landscape will be littered with rivers of metaphorical blood. The congress itself will inevitably endorse Mugabe for another term in office. He is not stepping down. He has told his two deputies as well as the leadership of the party at the highest level that he is the glue that holds different, disparate interests in place within ZANU PF. His excuse is that he can not step down now lest the party be "destroyed". None of the cowards in the ZANU PF leadership has the courage to tell him that he has already destroyed the party. He is the reason the party has no future in Zimbabwean politics. A time will come when violence will cease to hold sway. That time is not far away.
Daniel Shumba has apparently also told Mugabe to take a hike. If the ZANU PF Provincial Chairmen who were "suspended" after the firing of Jonathan Moyo troop back into the party, then a war is looming with those who had already positioned themselves to take over. These are people like Jabulani Sibanda, the War Veterans leader from Matableleland who Mugabe used to railroad his way into the presidency of the party at the December 2007 Extraordinary Congress. This was the Congress at which Simba Makoni had planned to challenge Mugabe for the leadership of the party.
However, Nkomo, the Chairman of the party, opened that congress by declaring the floor open only for nominations. There was only item on the agenda, he said: the endorsement of the sitting president and First Secretary as the candidate in the March 2008 elections. Makoni was denied the opportunity to even test Mugabe's popularity within the party. This led him directly to declaring for the country's presidency on February 5 2008.
In any case, it is now clear that Dabengwa, Makoni, Shumba and a host of other leaders ZANU PF was seeking to bring back to the fold have turned their backs on the party. We can expect Mugabe to be quite vindictive in the aftermath of the December ZANU PF congress, when it is clear that all he is left with in ZANU PF is a pile of dead, rotting wood. It will not be long now.