In a few weeks’ time, the Fifth ZANU (PF) Party Congress will be held. This is a huge event which comes only once every 5 years. Thousands of party members from across Zimbabwe will congregate in Harare. They will select the Presidium and the Politburo and they will determine the future of the party for the next 5 years. For the good of the party and all the country, they MUST get it right!
Congress comes at a crucial time. The struggle between different factions for control of the party has left it paralysed. It is vulnerable to outside meddling. The deadlock between ZANU (PF) and the MDC – and also the MDC’s childish “disengagement” – has completely stopped the vital work of reform and rebuilding that our country needs. The longer this log-jam continues, the more we lose legitimacy and the support of the people.
This may well be President Mugabe’s last Congress. He is 85 years old. If he dies as President, there will be a vicious struggle for power UNLESS we can resolve the core issues first. The most prominent battle for the leadership is between Minister of Defence Emerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joyce Mujuru. Mnangagwa has a long and distinguished career in ZANU (PF) but his blatant personal ambition and rumours about some of his activities have worried many party members. For her part, Joyce Mujuru has established herself as an effective member of the government since her appointment as Vice President but some say that she relies too much on the military record of her husband Rex for her credibility.
Are there other potential candidates who could vie for the Presidency? Names occasionally put forward include VP John Nkomo, Sidney Sekeremayi and Didymus Mutasa. People in the know have also recently suggested that General Chiwenga, Commander of the Defence Forces, may also try to use his influence to gain power. There are already rumours circulating about his possible involvement in the Pomona arms theft. Could these be true? If yes, then he would be another likely candidate in this power struggle as he would use his military influence to steer the party in his favour.
It is essential to point out that for the party to thrive, we need a seasoned leader who can consolidate the party objectives, and do away with the infighting currently been witnessed in the government. We have had enough of the internal power struggles. It is time we started considering a successor to the President, that we ensure a smooth transition of power.
Those who care about Zimbabwe and ZANU (PF) need to speak out now to reform the party if we are to have any hope of survival. At the Congress, we cannot leave such crucial issues as the leadership and succession tobe dealt with in closed sessions or to be arranged in advance.
We need an open and honest debate. Even more importantly, the party needs to hear the TRUTH about the betrayals inflicted upon the party by some of its most powerful members. Now is the time to get all the skeletons out of the closet and make decisions based on fact, not lies.
I for one am not afraid to speak out and I invite all like-minded Zimbabweans to share their stories with me.