The Sunday Mail
Three interesting political events occurred recently in Zimbabwe, two of which I will discuss in this article.
The first was the reported meeting between former President Robert Mugabe and his one time deputy Dr Joice Mujuru.
According to reports, National People’s Party leader Dr Mujuru met the former Head of State at his “Blue Roof” residence in Borrowdale, Harare, where he apparently “apologised” for “hounding her out of the party”.
Ostensibly, Cde Mugabe said he felt he should apologise “after having had time to reflect”.
Of course, politicians never meet for no reason, and anyone with even the slightest discernment can perceive that there were other discussions of a political nature after the “apology” had been offered and accepted.
Nevertheless, former president Cde Mugabe’s meeting with Dr Mujuru has stirred much speculation in media and political circles, with many asking if this means that a Mujuru-Mugabe political axis was in the making.
While the intention of that meeting was perhaps to discuss matters centred around a potential alliance or to “test the waters” so to speak, the consequent backlash that the meeting inspired shows virtually no Zimbabwean wants to see this happening.
However, there are some positive consequences that have inadvertently emerged out of that encounter, and these serve Zanu-PF’s 2018 election bid well.
It is, as such, important to debunk some of the theories put forward by private media pundits as per the purposes of the Mugabe-Mujuru round-table.
One “analyst” was quoted by the private media saying the meeting meant the former president was “using primitive tribal politics to play Mujuru against Mnangagwa … to use the strength of the Mashonaland West, East and Central provinces – dominated by the Zezurus – to increase their leverage in torpedoing Mnangagwa’s presidential bid”.
Let me categorically state that that observation is illogical, simplistic and stems from lazy thought.
Firstly, Dr Mujuru is not Zezuru. She is Korekore. Her late husband was Zezuru.
Secondly, since her expulsion form Zanu-PF in 2014, Dr Mujuru has lost her so-called “Mujuru faction” supporters as they have predominantly remained in Zanu-PF.
Also, her leadership record since her departure from Zanu-PF shows she is a lightweight.
Since 2014, Dr Mujuru has unsuccessfully led different political formations, including the Zimbabwe People First project (which split) and NPP (which has lost many of its original members to other opposition parties).
This again shows that Zanu-PF supporters are loyal to the party and not to individuals.
Still, there are three inadvertent consequences that stemmed from the Mujuru-Mugabe meeting, and these complement Zanu-PF’s electoral bid.
In an interview with Voice of America, Dr Mujuru had this to say about Cde Mugabe’s mood during the meeting: “He was very happy, I think he’s resting, he’s doing fine . . . I was very happy to see him in that mood.”
Asked whether the former Head of State was under house arrest, Dr Mujuru responded: “No, not house arrest as such … of course, being a former president, he should have people who guard him as soldiers.
“They could be soldiers and policemen all included because that is how he used to move, even when he was still Head of State.”
By saying this, Dr Mujuru has brought to rest all social media conspiracies and tales that the former president was being mistreated and held hostage by the new administration.
In fact, Dr Mujuru has borne witness that the former president is not under house arrest and that he is not being mistreated.
Secondly, the meeting between Dr Mujuru and former President Mugabe has inadvertently thrown a spanner into the so-called grand opposition coalition talks.
Already, there are murmurs among MDC-T youths that the Mugabe-Mujuru meeting was evidence that Dr Mujuru is working to split the MDC-T. It’s unavoidable that the perceived Mujuru-Mugabe discussions have embittered the opposition rank and file and, therefore, increased the chances of further splitting the opposition and shattering the already fragile coalition.
Finally, responding to a flurry of private media reports, Dr Mujuru has had to un- equivocally deny the existence of any alliance with expelled G40 members or their associated political outfit.
This is because the meeting with former President Mugabe inspired mumbling and discontent among Zimbabweans in general.
The reason behind the public’s murmurings and discontent is that the expelled G40 members are grossly unpopular in Zimbabwe, and any talk of an axis with G40 and their New Patriotic Front seriously diminishes Dr Mujuru’s political capital.
Therefore, in response to the negative publicity inspired by the Mugabe meeting and particularly speculation that she may align herself with the hugely unpopular former First Lady, Dr Mujuru had no choice but to distance herself from the NPF and its politics; and again this benefits Zanu-PF.
Ultimately, Dr Mujuru will have a tough time convincing her opposition colleagues that she has not forged an alliance with Cde Mugabe.
Speaking of opposition, one cannot help but be bemused and perhaps amused at the circus in the MDC-T.
One day, reports say Advocate Nelson Chamisa has been anointed as party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s successor. The next day, counter-reports emerge proclaiming that Adv Chamisa is, in fact, not successor.
The third day, reports emerge that Engineer Elias Mudzuri and Ms Thokozani Khupe are negotiating with Dr Mujuru outside of MDC-T policy.
It is tragically ironic that MDC-T is now in a full-fledged factional and succession war that will cause much apathy and discontent among their rank and file come Election Day.
As I’ve argued before, the opposition does not stand a chance against Zanu-PF in 2018.
Perhaps they should sit this one out and regroup for 2023 or else live to see an impending three-way split after this year’s harmonised elections.