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» » Cyclone Factionalism wrecks havoc in Zimbabwean Politics
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By Charles Kungwengwe
The term cyclone is fast becoming a catch-word ,globally !
They talk of cyclone Elnino, Lanino, Japhet, Dineo etc.
I personally talk of cycle factionalism, a marauding political cyclone that has taken the scalps of most communities in the world and has not spared Zimbabwe its wrath either(see the recent Mahoka-Moyo drama  that is unfolding,if you have any doubts about this assertion. Also , in a classic case of poetic justice ,the man who used to be the leader of the firing squard is now having a bitter taste of his own medicine). Lest I forget ,there is also the impending cyclone 2018(check this one in the next epistle)!.
But is it not Jesus Christ who is widely quoted as having said "A divided Kingdom cannot stand? If Satan also is divided unto himself how can his kingdom stand? (Luke 11:17-18, Mathew 12:25-26).
If the forces of darkness uphold the values and virtues of unity then the forces of light should certainly attach more value to unity. Unity is one of, if not  ,the most important  engine driver  of success in every field of human endeavor. A divided kingdom is bound to collapse. Nowhere else in the long history of the human race has this saying been so amply demonstrated than in the case of Zimbabwe ,a country that is plunging deeper and deeper into the quagmire of infightings and political wrangles.
First of all ,it is necessary to point out that factionalism is not unique or confined to Zimbabwe but is all-pervasive in all countries drawn from all the  cardinal points of the global compass. For example, in the great lake regions and other similar trouble spots it precipitated the bloodbaths or ethnic cleansing  that ensured. And at a global level we resultantly witnessed both World War 1 and 2 ,wars whose devastating nature and effects are too ghastly to contemplate . Also during the biblical Pauline age the Corinthian church was bedeviled by factionalism (1 Corinthians 3:3-23) and in Acts 6:1-6 tribalism –related divisions   prompted the apostles to have deacons elected  . Even the heavenly spheres cannot go unexcused in this regard as this development led to a civil war that marked the downfall of Lucifer  (Revelation 12:5-13). The only difference is that in Zimbabwe it is on a scale that does not bear resemblance to any of its counterparts in  history. And the late  MasiphulaSitholewas right in asserting ,cynically, thus' if you were to put two Zimbabweans on the moon today and visited them on the following day you would find out that they had formed three parties'(sic!)
This has resulted in development in the country, at worst, grinding to a halt and, at best, taking a creep at a snail's pace. It is no exaggeration to attribute that developmental apathy to factionalism which has reared its ugly head in the once global breadbasket ,now bread-casket.
Instead of channeling all their energies towards developing the country the political boxers  are busy politically Mike-Tysoning and unleashing some verbal blows at each other (at every turn and every front and with reckless abandon), some blows of which are forceful enough to catapult even the 600 pound wrestling icon , Yokozuna, onto the canvas mat.
On the face of it ,a not so astute observer can mistakenly conclude that this mudslinging within the ruling party ,ZANU PF,isbetween the small boys . That is far from the truth. On the contrary, the real tussle is between people within the highest echelons of power who are playing a political chess and the small ones are merely pawns on that political chessboard. These over-ambitiousbig-men are toying with the idea that Gushungo is retiring anytime soon and are therefore trying to position themselves by placing supporters into strategic posts, just like Joseph Stalin did before the death of Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik leader, in 1924. Worsestill ,some products of ZANU  PF political vomit , who were readmitted into the party  after having developed the Gamatox haircut ,are causing more discomfort in the system's political stomach.
This has resulted in two hostile ZANU PF  camps emerging in the country ,particularly between the young Turks and the Old Guard and ,to borrow R.D Thompson 's words, the strength of these camps is so evenly balanced that only a long and exhausting(ve) tussle between them would establish the superiority of either of them. The Young Turks are trying to convince the old guard that length in the field of politics, which the Oldsters claim  to have ,is not necessarily strength , adding that though the two terms fall within the same rhyme scheme they are far from being synonyms!. Only yesterday the row was between the Masvingo and  Midlands provinces political godfather ,Mnangagwa, and Mujuru ,the latter of whom has since 'crest fallen' from 'grace to grass' and from a' hero(ine) to a zero' .Mujuru has since formed her own political party ,People –First ,and is also  on record of 'co-habiting' with Tsvangirai.
Not desiring to be outdone in this regard , or is it because of  the snowballing effect ?contagious effect of factionalism?,the main opposition political party, the MDC, also ,has some ethnic- induced factionalist fractures on its ideological furniture. Furthermore, there is a rift or  unending yawning gap between the Old Guard and the  Young Turks and  between the academics and the original Trade Unionists. Hence the suspension from the party ,in 1999 ,of the late  Jongwe ,Chamisa and other youngsters .Which why today we have more than 20 different MDC formations . Mujuru 's party does not seem to have drawn lessons from the two old parties' experiences   as she  and her long time allies have  ALREADY drawn daggers against each other.And we have already seen heads rolling
Such a development is very dangerous because it makes a civil war inevitable! Unfortunately it is always the ordinary folk who stand to suffer.
 But Should a good leader not have the wellbeing of his people at heart and not sacrificing them for personal ambition? Has disunity ever paid dividends in any country? Over the years history has provided lessons regarding the dangers of disunity in Africa, in particular, and the world ,at large. Yes ,in the principle of dialectical materialism, Marxist  philosophers do advocate for conflicts as a vehicle  for\of positive changes but conflicts must  be  necessary and not just for the sake of it. Yes different political parties are needed in the political ecosystem  and   absence of some  members  is bound to render  the entire system dysfunctional but genuine and not caricature ,fake parties ,are what we need.
What baffles me is that the very people who were once fire-eating national politicians during the second Chimurenga Warare now the very people who have allowed themselves to stoop so low that they arenow megalomaniacs ,fanning the infamous bonfire of factionalism. Remember the 'comrades 'were able to dislodge colonialism, not because their weaponry was superior to that of their white counterparts, but because they had a common vision, common strategy and common purpose against a common enemy-the oppressor.
In  support of this observation, one writer has this to say ,I quote ,'snakes are known to be dangerous  or  highly poisonous animals(reptiles) but ,alas ,their worst tragedy is that they lack unity. If they wereas  united as bees  no-one was going to stand in their way'. In a united state we can easily wad off venomous ENEMIES  such as HIV\AIDS, gender inequalities , homosexuality ,child abuse ,xenophobia ,poverty ,ebola  and ignorance.

These days we have a common enemy in the form of the economic deprivation of the indigenous people and the externalization of cash. How can there be economic progress in a country that is characterized by political instability or a country in which factionalism reigns supreme? How can the dream of ZIM-ASSET  be realized? A common strategy and tribal cohesion is essential. Factionalism is also destroying the party and one does not need a ghost of Shakespearean tragedies to come and announce this sad reality!It is also taking people's lives ,PARTICULARLY THE INTELLIGENT ONES, and ,as I write ,I can hear in my mind's ear the high –pitched and nerve-shattering cry of  the pained Mother ZANU PF as she weeps for her dead children.( personification : pathetic fallacy and mental landscape).
Don't forget that Africa ,in general ,has been  stereotyped as a divided Continent and what we have seen  so far  seems to lend credibility to such claims.
. And Pentagon, as  practical experience has proved on countless occasions ,  normally takes advantage of such a situation  to further fuel divisions ,resulting in a civil war ,and then interfere  in order to loot local resources under the guise that he wants to restore order.
This cancer did not start today but is as old as the inception of modern politics itself  in Zimbabwe.It is because of  factionalism ,for example ,that ZANU sprang from  ZAPU in 1963 and why we had political parties like  FROLIZ, ANC etc and back then ,according to MasiphulaSithole ,ethnicity more than class or any other ideology was the overriding factor in explaining factional splits within the liberation movement. It is no rhetorical exaggeration to assert that Zimbabwe has ,arguably ,the highest number of political parties in the world ,ever mushrooming on every inch of the country with each passing day.
Finally, I would like to appeal to his Excellency  to slash this  head of factionalism once and for all. Remember 'divided we fall and united we stand' and 'a stitch on time saves nine'. It is only after people have adopted singleness of purpose that both political and economic development will progress in leaps and bounds. People should not want to be identified with a particular faction ,region or ethnic group but as citizens of Zimbabwe. To the disciples of tribalism ,i say unto you 'all bantu speaking people owe their parentage to the same ancestor and the so-called variations are not biological but either linguistic or geographical and it was also a convenient tool to enhance the so-called intermarriages which are actually intra -marriages. And our former colonizers later on adopted this approach to enhance the divide-and-rule-them strategy. As we have noted ,due to factionalism-induced animosities, Zanu Pf party is in a state of suspended political animation. Yes ,according to Nicollo Machiavelli this (promoting factionalism) is one of the perfect poly-triks of politics if subordinates have become so united that they threaten the leader 's very existence, hence in Genesis 11:1-9 God Himself employed this strategy at the tower of Babel ,but when resorted  to regularly  it will not yield desired results.

Nkulumani Mlambo (0772 118 533/0715 505353)

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Masvingo Mirror is a provincial paper for Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
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