President Robert Mugabe and his close allies in Zanu PF believe that they made a great decision to fire Joice Mujuru from the vice-presidency and brought in her rival Emmerson Mnangagwa as the party’s second in command.
The humiliating departure of Mujuru from the Zanu PF presidium and government is still being celebrated loudly in the Mnangagwa camp which — in the run up to the congress — was fronted by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The First Lady led a bitter campaign against Mujuru who stood accused of trying to topple President Mugabe, indolence and involvement in corrupt activities. The nation was told the purging of Mujuru and her allies was a way to cleanse the party.
To crown the celebrations, President Mugabe last week fired ministers aligned to Mujuru and then appointed Mnangagwa’s comrades into cabinet positions. The cosmetic changes in cabinet however just reflect victory for Mnangagwa’s camp and have little to do with the national aspiration of rescuing the economy from the current low.
There is a real danger that the fascination with sharing the spoils of war will cloud the work at hand and marshal the victors into a laager of political safety. The movements that have been announced drive home the message that allegiance to President Mugabe supersedes ability to deliver.
It was therefore not surprising to see those who were rewarded, including the VPs, kowtowing as they lined up to shake Mugabe’s hand.
We fear that the preoccupation in government following the crude purge of Mujuru would be to please the deified Mugabe and not improving the lot for Zimbabweans who are sliding into poverty with each day.
The tone for this unfortunate phenomenon was set at the Congress where key speakers elected to praise-sing Mugabe and his wife while condemning Mujuru and her allies.
The changes that have been effected to government have all to do with maintaining the status quo which has spawned economic stagnation and with it unemployment, company closures and poor social service delivery.
Our rulers now need to plot a new course for the nation and move away from medieval political projects of allegiance and rewarding sycophants. The nation is still waiting for the party to deliver on last year’s election manifesto. That is much more taxing than pushing slogans and deference to the throne!