Charles Mabhena

When the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, announced to the nation that he had been diagnosed with cancer it got the people talking, some were already preparing to engrave his name on and glazing his tombstone, others wished him well, and yet others had already predicted doom for the country, saying the current leader is too old, while the one whom many had pinned their hopes on is also dying, ‘Zimbabwe a nation of sick leaders’ newspaper headlines could have read.

As if by default, though Tsvangirai came strong assuring the nation not to worry as he is fighting the disease, he managed to appoint one of the youngest senior members of his party, as second in command. Nelson Chamisa’s elevation although, was received with mixed feelings within the party, some view it as a noble thing as will ensure continuity in the event that Tsvangirai leaves office.

By putting the young in influential positions such as the position of a deputy, gives them room to grow within the party culture that it is vital in later times should they eventually take over. A social commentator Elder Mabhunu says what was done by Tsvangirai is what is currently lacking in ZANU PF, and the revolutionary party is dying a natural death because of that.

“The Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe might have seen the need for new blood in ZANU PF when she allegedly set up the generation forty (G40) so that the legacy and the revolutionary spirit is kept on, however she allegedly did so clandistanely,” he says.

He added that what Grace could have done is to persuade her aging husband to give the young blood very top positions in the party rather than creating a splitter group. “Most ZANU PF youths are given positions on paper only, not influential enough to prepare themselves for the top jobs. They are given posts so that they can be easily manipulated and used as militants to attack those who oppose or question their boss’ governance when the need arises,” says Mabhunu.

Analysts have viewed the setting up of the G 40 a group of young turks in the ruling party, which is said to be fronted the first lady as a good thing only if she managed to push for these young ones to be given high post in the party, instead of setting it up as a parallel thing.

The team is inclining for the top accolade in the event that President Robert Mugabe leaves office. Mabhunu says most of the top brass in ZANU PF are above 70 years of age, so which means the party is being dragged downward as they grow older and older. Save for the G40, which is now trying to challenge the old guards, the party has no future.

The G40 is said to be a faction of young ZANU PF senior members that include Grace Mugabe as its leader, Saviour Kasukuwere, Prof Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao, Mandiitawepi Chimene, Sarah Mahoka, Makhosini Hlongwane, Samuel Undenge, and Keith Guzah among others.

G 40 have so far shown the guts, when they challenged the alligator (Ngwena) as Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is known, who is alleged to be leading another faction known as Lacoste, saying he won’t make it to the top job when Mugabe is gone.

A renowned political commentator, Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya concurs with Mabhunu that ZANU PF is undergoing a natural transition that could spell its death. “When you see Mugabe today, you can see that something is indeed giving in. Even if he refuses to admit it, age is not working in his favour anymore. The natural law of aging and diminished performance has taken toll on him.

“ZANU PF’s survival is in jeopardy, its leaders are above 70 years old, and they are going down with it.

“The major problem with this party is that ‘the old are dying, while the young cannot be born’ this is a recipe for disaster and can cause anarchy in the event that they are gone for good, as can be seen through their advanced ages,” adds Dr Ruhanya.

These old guards feel challenged so they want to rather die in office, for instance all of Mugabe’s deputies save for Joice Mujuru who was fired from the party, had to be replaced after they died in office.

Both the G40 and the team Lacoste members have denied the existence of these two organisations and factionalism within their party. However, the issue of divisions in ZANU PF is real and has been admitted to be in existence, even Mugabe himself can testify, that there is factionalism in his party.