EDITORIAL COMMENT: Heed President’s counsel on demos, discipline

President Mugabe

AS the clock ticks towards the 2018 general elections Zanu-PF — the ruling and party of independence — should guard against scoring own goals and work towards defending or increasing its majority in both houses of Parliament.

In 2008, the party lost its majority to the opposition MDC-T and its leader, President Mugabe, was narrowly edged by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in an inconclusive poll which was later decided after a run-off. In the run up to that election, the party was divided with some ambitious cadres sponsoring a bhora musango campaign with calamitous consequences.

Dr Simba Makoni was their preferred candidate and stood on a Mavambo Kusile/dawn ticket — splitting the Zanu-PF vote and handing victory to Mr Tsvangirai. Dr Joice Mujuru has since admitted that she and her late husband General Solomon Mujuru were the architects of the scheme to engineer a loss for President Mugabe and the ruling party is better advised against repeating the same mistake next year.

As it is, Zanu-PF is a divided party with two distinct factions angling to succeed Cde Mugabe and the bitter wars of attrition gnawing away at the party might be dangerous and prove fatal if not addressed now. President Mugabe has warned time and again that factionalism could be the bane of the party and we urge loyal and disciplined cadres to heed his advice.

Of late, there have been demonstrations against some party leaders over their shenanigans and the President has ordered a stop to them lest they further divide the party.

Addressing the 105th Ordinary Meeting of the Zanu-PF Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare on Friday, President Mugabe said the party’s provincial structures and organs must now look into the grievances raised by party cadres who demonstrated in various provinces against fellow party officials instead of resorting to further demonstrations. He said demonstrations were destructive to the party as they exposed it to the opposition and Western countries who wanted to see it disintegrate.

President Mugabe, however, said if any party officials were disobedient they should be brought before the disciplinary committee. The meeting came hard on the heels of demonstrations against party national political commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere and Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson, Cde Dickson Mafios, by party members last week.

The duo is accused of seeking to topple President Mugabe through capturing party structures. There were also demonstrations against former Deputy Secretary for the Women’s League Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo and former secretary of finance in the wing Cde Sarah Mahoka, for undermining the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe. Said President Mugabe: “To all those who have been expressing displeasures through demonstrations in various provinces, we say fine, you have made your points, and your voices have been heard.

“But, please, the party has structures and organs designed to handle such matters in a dignified way. We must now give those organs time to look into the grievances that have been expressed and allow due process to be followed.” President Mugabe said grievances or contradictions in the party were inevitable, but must be dealt with through properly laid down Zanu-PF procedures.

He said opposition parties and their Western sponsors were celebrating the demonstrations in the revolutionary party, hoping that they would lead to its disintegration. “So, why should we give them that chance to smile, to laugh and to wish us death?’ said President Mugabe.

He warned party officials against taking internal issues to the media saying: “We cannot run the party from newspaper headlines or angry placards or from Twitter or social media. We can’t run the country that way. Maphones aya akatiparira.”

President Mugabe said the opposition parties were in a quandary because of successive electoral defeats to Zanu-PF from the harmonised elections in 2013 to by-elections that the revolutionary party had been bagging.

We agree totally with the President and urge Zanu-PF officials to desist from engaging in destructive behaviour and focus on serving the people so that the party retains its mandate next year.

The opposition is fractured while its Western sponsors are at sixes and sevens and it is time Zanu-PF put its house in order so that it doesn’t give the country’s enemies the opportunity to gain a foothold on the nation. Party cadres should not lose focus and keep their eyes firmly trained on the bigger goal of protecting the country’s hard won independence and sovereignty.

We believe the two factions should close ranks and fight tooth and nail to ensure a resounding victory for President Mugabe and their party next year.

Their enemies must be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a Zanu-PF implosion but we exhort them to put aside their minor differences for the greater good of the party.

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