HARARE – This week is another big one politically for President Robert Mugabe and his warring ruling Zanu PF — with the nonagenarian scheduled to address a mega rally in Marondera, amid the former liberation movement’s worsening infighting.
Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News yesterday that the rally, which is being organised by the party’s youth league, would be a show of force by Mugabe — to remind his ambitious lieutenants and their brawling factions that “he is very much still in charge”.
Mugabe — who spent all of last week in Mexico, attending an obscure conference on climate change — returned home at the weekend at a time that there are growing fissures within Zanu PF, as the bigwigs fighting to succeed him escalate their mindless bloodletting.
In the week that Mugabe was in Mexico, his supporters clubbed each other during violent clashes in Bulawayo, while intra-party tensions went a notch up after former intelligence operative, Pearson Mbalekwa, was barred from representing Zanu PF in the impending Chiwundura by-election.
As if this was not enough, the influential women’s league which is headed by his powerful wife Grace, is also facing fresh problems in Bulawayo, where 10 of its regional officials have been suspended.
Youth league secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga, reiterated yesterday that the Marondera rally was one of many they were organising to galvanise support for Mugabe.
“The rallies are meant for the youths to reaffirm our support for President Robert Mugabe as our candidate, not only for next year’s elections, but also as our life president.
“The party is united fully behind President Robert Mugabe and there has never been any debate about whether he should be the candidate or not.
“His candidature is unanimously endorsed by all in Zanu PF,” Chipanga told the Daily News.
“It is our constitutional mandate as Zanu PF youths to mobilise support for party programmes. In president … Mugabe we have a name that makes our job easier because many youths in the country look up to him as a role model.
“The rally will also see the launch of our voter registration campaign as we encourage youths to participate in social, economic and political programmes,” he added.
However, analysts said it would be interesting to see how Mugabe would use the rally platform to deal with Zanu PF’s worsening tribal, factional and succession wars.
This is more so, as observers have also consistently said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s thorny succession riddle is fuelling the ruling party’s deadly infighting.
The 93 year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own choice.