HARARE – As the ugly Zanu PF war to succeed President Robert Mugabe continues to escalate, former freedom fighters have warned introverted Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi — saying he risks ending his political career if he allows himself to be “used” by the ruling party’s “confusion” mongers.
This comes as Sekeramayi — who together with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the longest serving minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet — last week received effusive praise from Zanu PF politburo member and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, in a move which has further fuelled the ruling party’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars.
Moyo — who Zanu PF insiders claim is one of the kingpins of the Generation 40 (G40) faction which is fiercely opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — threw the cat among the pigeons in the warring former liberation movement after he threw Sekeramayi’s name into the party’s life-and-death succession brawl.
But the disgruntled war veterans warned Sekeramayi yesterday that it would be a “big mistake and miscalculation” on his part if he “ever allowed his head to be turned by the unusual praise” that he received from Moyo.
“He (Moyo) knows very well that once confirmed that Sekeramayi now leads the so-called G40 faction which has been abandoned by the first family, then attacks from the so-called Team Lacoste camp will now be targeting Sekeramayi.
“If that happens, it will be a great achievement for Jonathan Moyo and his masters, who will once more watch ‘real comrades’ fighting each other.
“Sekeramayi should be wary of the G40 faction, whose idea is to isolate the president from former liberation war comrades.
“They (G40) have attacked ED (Mnangagwa) before, and now they are setting up Sekeramayi for failure,” the secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Victor Matemadanda, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.
“But the big question is: Are leaders in Zanu PF so weak that they don’t see this threat that Jonathan Moyo poses in the party and to the revolution?
“Or is it that someone is using him for some personal aggrandisement? Is there any benefit for the revolution knowing his (Moyo’s) history and his record as a minister to keep him in the party?
“About Sekeramayi’s seniority, Jonathan wants to use those who know, so that it works against him … people should not accept to be used by Jonso again.
“How do you have a whole professor who never talks about real problems facing the country or developmental issues, but only about confusion and hate among people?” Matemadanda added.
Speaking at Sapes Trust in Harare on Thursday, Moyo had appeared to endorse Sekeramayi as Mugabe’s more acceptable successor compared to Mnangagwa.
“The notion peddled by the so-called Team Lacoste that its leader is the only one who is above or senior to everyone else below President Mugabe is false and that falsehood should stop. There are others that are senior to the leader of the so-called Team Lacoste,” Moyo said.
“One of them, by way of an important example, is Dr Sydney Sekeramayi whose loyalty to President Mugabe, the party and country; whose liberation credentials, experience, consensus-style of leadership, stature, commitment to the nationalist project and humility have no match.”
This prompted political analysts to say the G40 faction appeared to have settled for Sekeramayi as its preferred candidate, after realising that it didn’t have anyone within its ranks who could match Mnangagwa.
“The selection of Sekeramayi by Moyo and allies owes more to the forces of political expediency — probably what they are calling ‘practical politics’ — than principle. It can only be explained by the argument that the group opposed to Mnangagwa had to find someone who could match him pound for pound.
“These factors include liberation credentials, political experience, influence in the security sector, international stature and ethnicity. Sekeramayi ticks most, if not all the boxes just like Mnangagwa does,” UK-based law lecturer Alex Magaisa wrote on his blog yesterday.
Matemadanda said further yesterday that Moyo had “no right” to set the succession agenda in Zanu PF.
“Jonathan Moyo is not in any way qualified to talk about succession in Zanu PF because he deserted the critical stages of the development of what he calls his Zanu PF today.
“However it must be known that Jonathan created G40 and Lacoste, not because he wanted either of the two factions, but just because he wanted to pit party members against each other and this he has managed to do successfully.
“This time he has brought in the usually quiet Sekeramayi. I don’t know how Sekeramayi will receive it, but his miscalculation will unnecessarily bring him into these fights and Jonathan will have achieved what he wants to destroy … any likely presidential material from the war,” Matemadanda claimed.
Zanu PF is being ripped apart by serious infighting which has worsened in recent months as party bigwigs have escalated their mindless bloodletting.
Moyo also exposed the extent to which Zanu PF is being devoured by its deepening infighting on Thursday, confirming what the Daily News on Sunday and the Daily News have been writing about accurately for many years, that the ruling party has now split into two distinctive camps.
“There are two parties in Zanu PF, the first is successionists who are a minority in the ruling party but who are very vocal and now openly say they are backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed … Mugabe and they would like to see this happening before the next elections and they would like to see the vice president as the party candidate.
“The loyalists are the silent majority who support … Mugabe to serve his full term in accordance with the constitution,” Moyo said.
Zanu PF insiders have consistently said that underlying the former liberation movement’s deadly and seemingly unstoppable tribal and factional wars is its unresolved succession question.
Mugabe has studiously refused to name a successor, arguing that his party should rather follow what he sees as a more democratic process, to manage his succession via a congress.