Mujuru, Mugabe an Mnangagwa at the Centre of Factional Fights in ZANU PF
Factionalism in 2014 is the intensification of the warring between the two major factions in the Zanu-PF party in the months leading to the December congress. The two major factions were the one led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by the then vice president Joice Mujuru. The intensification was believed to have happened as the president of the party and country, Robert Mugabe was in advanced age and the possibility of him leaving his position was high. The warring therefore addressed the issue of succession in Zanu-PF, something that the party was seen to have largely neglected, hence the crisis. The 2014 congress was therefore seen as a decisive event in the the issue. In terms of the Zanu-PF constitution, Congress is supreme organ.[1]

Contents

Mugabe says "Weevils" destroying the party

The most significant event to publicly show there were divisions in the party was an early June attack on Jonathan Moyo by president Robert Mugabe who referred to Jonathan as "the devil incarnate" and weevil bent on destroying the party from inside.[2]

Gamatox the Weevils

Speaking at a youth rally a few days later Didymus Mutasa, who belonged to the Mujuru faction said the party needed to use the "Gamatox" pesticide to deal with the "weevils": "You were talking about the issue of weevils here. Way back we used to treat weevils by spraying Gamatox (pesticide) and they will all die."[3]

Grace Mugabe enters politics

Grace Mugabe at a rally in October 2014
As the faction divisions became more and more apparent, the first lady Grace Mugabe entered politics suddenly securing a nomination to lead the Zanu-PF women's league. In a series of rallies held around the country after her nomination Grace, initially subtly, indicated she was unhappy with senior leaders of the party that were fanning factionalism and corruption. She also said that the people calling for Gamatoxing the Weevils (Mutasa) were the ones that were destroying the party by fanning factionalism.

Eventually came out clear that she was referring to the country's vice president Joice Mujuru, and went to demand that she steps down else the party would "baby dump" her:

The youths have alerted me about someone who is spearheading factionalism in this (Mashonaland Central) province and I told Baba (President Mugabe) to ‘baby-dump’ that person. I told him that if he does not dump the person, we will do it ourselves.[4]
.

In the weeks that followed the slogan "Pasi ne Gamatox" (Shona vernacular for "Down with Gamatox") became standard at her rallies.[4]

Grace Mugabe talking about Factionalism In ZANU PF During her Meet the People Rally in Marondera

Grace Mugabe Meet the People Rallies

Harare Province 08 October 2014

Grace Mugabe kicked off her official duty as the first secretary of the Women's League by meeting the party supporters for Harare province at the City Sports Centre. The first lady was accompanied by Oppah Muchinguri and Eunice Moyo a member of the Politburo.[5] The main highlight of her speech at this meeting was her call against factionalism in the party. In an effort to effectively convey her message, Grace made a physical gesture by calling two alleged faction leaders to unite in the spirit of togetherness; Amos Midzi who was then the provincial party chairman and Godwin Gomwe the provincial youth leader.

Manicaland Province 10 October 2014

The Manicaland rally took place at Sakubva stadium in Mutare. There were reports of violence as youths clashed due to factional differences. A group of youths accused a fellow youth leader Godwin Gomwe for humiliating the "provincial godfather" Didymus Mutasa and accusing him for agitating factional differences within the party. Grace Mugabe showed utter disappointment as she launched a verbal attack on the people who were using Robert Mugabe's name to achieve their individual political ends.[6]

Matabeleland South 13 October 2014

The rally was held in Gwanda at Pelandaba Stadium. She began by briefing the party' provincial leadership before proceeding to "meet the people". Phillip Chiyangwa, Simon Khaya Moyo, Obert Mpofu, Temba Mliswa and Patrick Zhuwao were some of the figures who attended the rally. She donated ten tonnes of maize seed and ten tonnes of mealie-meal to the people of Matabelenad South.[7]

Bulawayo Province- 15 October 2014

The rally was held at Amazulu Sports Club. In a feat of disappointment or disapproval, some people decided to march out of the rally while the first lady was busy with her address. Responding to the humiliating demonstration of impatience by the women who were marching out, the first lady burst into anxiety and she was quoted saying; “You are disorganised, Bulawayo. This is disrespectful. We are about to finish. Sit down, where are those women going? Anyone who doesn’t sit down will not receive the farming inputs I brought”. Olivia Muchena a member of the Women's League tried to justify the walk out by stating that the women were going out to receive far implements. Considering the unpopularity of the Zanu Pf party in the Matabeleland region, it can be argued that the women who walked out were indeed showing their dislike for the party in general and Grace Mugabe in particular.[8]

Mashonaland Central Province- 16 October 2014

The Mash Central Meet the People episode took place at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura which is the capital of Mashonaland Central Province. The first lady toured the province in the company of government officials and ministers including Jonathan Moyo, Supa Mandiwanzira and Saviour Kasukuwere. In her speech, she tackled the issue of factions when she proclaimed that she was going to deal with one faction leader who became to be known as "gamatox".[9] There was widespread speculation in the media that "gamatox" was a name used to refer to Didymus Mutasa who was linked to the faction led by vice president Joice Mujuru. Sulumani Chimbetu provided entertainment with his contemporary Dendera Music.

Mashonaland East Province 17 October 2014

Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera became a theatre of drama when the first lady toured Mashonaland east province in her "Meet The People Rallies". She openly accused the Zanu PF provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde of siding with Joice Mujuru's faction in a bid to remove Robert Mugabe from power. Her speech was all over the media due to its explicit nature and it was construed as having "undressed" Ray Kaukonde. She also took a swipe at the Mashonaland East provincial youth chairperson for not being part of her entourage in her "meet the people" rallies. The Mash East rally attracted attention from various circles as it took a more direct approach to the factional fights which have marred the revolutionary party.[10] Some of the attendants included Joseph Chinotimba and Ignatius Chombo.

Senior Members of the Factions

Joice Mujuru and some of her faction members
As the congress drew near it became clear which politicians were in Mujuru's faction and which in Mnangagwa's.

Mujuru Loyalists chased away from Mnangagwa Bash

Some ZANU PF officials were denied entry into the fete which was heldd in Zvishavane in celebration of Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa's elevation as the vice president of Zimbabwe. One of the most notable people that were denied entry was Zvishavane House of Assembly member, and Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo, who after being initially allowed in, was fished out and sent packing.[11]

Mujuru's faction had the following politicians:


Mnangagwa's faction had the following politicians:


ZANU PF 6th People's Congress

The much talked about ZANU PF 6th People's Congress was held in Harare from the 2nd to the 7th of December. What made it more publicised was the imminent demotion of the then vice president Joice Mujuru and her allies. There were also prospects that the president was going to appoint two second secretaries for the party who would deputise him for the next five years and the two would also automatically become vice presidents. On day 5 of the congress, the president dissolved the existing central committee to pave way for the election of new members by the respective provinces. Another important aspect of the congress was the unilateral endorsement of Mugabe to lead the party in the 2018 elections.[12]

It was reported that all the wings of the party namely the youth league, women's league, the provinces and the politburo endorsed Mugabe to lead the party. The then under fire vice president was not present at the congress following a crusade of attacks from the Mnangagwa faction which presumably took advantage of the state media to lay its accusations against her. Some landmark developments came out of the congress especially in the manner in which the party was structured. These include;

  1. The abolition of the Commissariat Department
  2. The Abolition of the office of the National Chairman
  3. Adoption of new party constitution which empowered the president to appoint his deputies.
  4. New Central Committees Elected
  5. New Provincial Chairperson Elected and approved by the president
  6. Grace Mugabe elected unopposed to lead the Women's League


Post Congress Factional Fights and Depositions

It appeared from these developments that the congress was a monumental victory for the Mnangagwa faction as most of its loyalists were given positions in both party and government during and soon after the congress. A few weeks after the congress, the president officially released a press statement which announced the dismissal of vice president Joice Mujuru and her allies from government.These are some of the big names dismissed from the party as party of the factional fights in the ZANU PF party;

  1. Nicholas Goche
  2. Didymus Mutasa
  3. Rugare Gumbo
  4. Olivia Muchena
  5. Dzikamai Mavhaire
  6. Munacho Mutezo
  7. Flora Buka
  8. Francis Nhema

However despite the dismissal from both party and government, the Mujuru faction hardliners Mutasa and Gumbo continued to make a lot of noise in the local media. They continued to denounce their dismissal from government by Mugabe and they viewed it as illegal and illegitimate. They argued that they had no case to answer in the courts and the allegations levelled against them were just but political. Mutasa was said to have approached President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to lobby the regional body Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to act against Mugabe's actions. Rugare Gumbo is said to have been quoted by local newspapers promising a strong political comeback. On Monday 12 January 2015, Didymus Mutasa released a press statement which circulated in the local media. In the statement, he referred to himself as the bona fide Secretary for Admninistration in the party and this showed that the Mujuru faction was not willing to face the humiliation whilst lying down. Below is part of the press statement published in the NewsDay of Tuesday 13 January 2015.

“Outside Zanu PF and the country’s constitutions and any moral tenets, . . . In the build-up to this illegal congress, it became clear that this clique of evil plotters had successfully waylaid Amai Grace Mugabe and Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe and started using them as weapons to unleash venomous and uncouth statements against anyone they perceived to be standing for the original Zanu PF values, ideals and ethos.

As upright cadres of the revolution, we resolutely and patiently waited for the cardinal direction of our elected First Secretary and President of Zanu PF, but his customary clear and unequivocal stance did not come until this undemocratic congress.” n disbelief, Zanu PF and the whole nation listened to their leader berating his own protégés not only in the party, but in government and the august House of Parliament.

It will go down in the annals of our Zanu PF history that for the first time the elected leader alienated himself from the people by this behaviour. Instead of mapping the road for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and major policies uplifting our people, the congress became a farce and degenerated into a praise and worship playhouse.” [13]

After the release of the damning press statement, independent local media houses and critics predicted an imminent break up of the party. This was after reports that the deposed vice president Mujuru was planning to seek legal recourse against Mugabe after her dismissal from government and party.

References

  1. Alex T. Magaisa, Dawn of a New Era?, Alex T. Magaisa, Published:3 December 2014, Retrieved:6 Dec 2014
  2. President blasts Prof Moyo, The Sunday Mail, Published:7 June 2014, Retrieved:8 June 2014
  3. Obey Manayiti, Mnangagwa, Moyo divisive elements – Mutasa, NewsDay, Published:9 June 2014, Retrieved:6 Dec 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Everson Mushava, Multimedia: Dump Mujuru – Grace tells Mugabe, NewsDay, Published:17 Oct 2014, Retrieved:7 Dec 2014
  5. , Dr Grace Harare Rally, "The Herald", published:08 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  6. O. Maniyati, Youths clash at Grace Mugabe rally, "Newsday", published:11 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  7. T. Muleya, Amai Grace Mugabe Mat South Rally, "The Herald", published:13 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  8. N. Ndlovu, Grace fumes as women walk out, "Newsday", published:16 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  9. F. Share, Live, Amai Grace Mugabe Mashonaland Central Rally, "The Herald", published:16 Oct 2014,retrieved:23 Oct 2014"
  10. F. Share, Live First Amai Grace Mugabe Mash East Rally, The Herald, Published:17 Oct 2014, Retrieved: October 17, 2014
  11. Mujuru loyalists chased away at Mnangagwa bash, NewsDay, Published: December 15, 2014, Retrieved: December 15, 2014
  12. , ZANU PF National People's Congress,The Sunday Mail, published:Sat 6 Dec 2014,retrieved:13 Jan 2015"
  13. P. Muzulu, Zanu PF split imminent as Mujuru confronts Mugabe,NewsDay, published:13 Jan 2015,retrieved:13 Jan 2015"