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Mnangagwa's backroom deals bedevil progress in Zim

2019-01-30 14:51
Emmerson Mnangagwa (File: AFP)

Emmerson Mnangagwa (File: AFP)

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Zanu-PF is allowing its factional fights to hold the country back and invariably subjects people to abject poverty because no serious investor would want to be part of a chaotic environment unless they are also scoundrels, writes Luthando Vikilahle.

The chaos in Zimbabwe's government has proven a nightmare for ordinary people and investors alike as it has created uncertainty over who is in charge of the country.

The government's policy, which remains unclear, has caused unimaginable suffering for many of the country's poor and has held the country hostage while the ruling Zanu-PF's infighting over power and the nation's plentiful resources continues uninterrupted. 

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It has become apparent that a bitter power struggle between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga has left most government departments paralysed as the infighting continued unabated. 

Various media reports have claimed that the power struggles ensued soon after the two "allies" colluded in getting former president Robert Mugabe out, but since then things have not been easy in the corridors of power.

This was openly proven perhaps in recent weeks by two conflicting statements over what one would expect to be a straightforward issue in the handling of the president's "official" Twitter account.

According to reports presidential spokesperson George Charamba and the Minister of Communications Monica Mutsvangwa have issued two conflicting statements over who was in charge of the account some few hours apart.

The presidential spokesperson said people should not take anything coming from the president's "official" Twitter account serious, as some of the things happening there "were not the president's views," reported the state-owned Herald.

Unsurprisingly, the communication minister on responded on the department's official Twitter page, saying the account was truly the president's words, therefore it should be taken seriously.

This infighting, or lack of a solid communication strategy has created confusion for some. Should the president's views in whatever way they are coming – except when he utters them directly – be questioned?

One cannot help but wonder, how does the president run a government with so much bickering, disorganisation and indiscipline and yet let it carry on?

Is the president even in charge of the country?

Mnangagwa told the world that he would investigate and take action against "rogue" security forces over their atrocious acts as soon as he returned from an international trip last week.

It has, however, emerged that long after the protests ended, the military clampdown continues with security forces going house to house to carry out arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture, abductions and rapes, according to rights groups. Many opposition figures and civic leaders have gone into hiding.

The crackdown continued this week, with witnesses, human rights groups and the opposition reporting abuses by the military, the police and ruling party gangs, especially in working class and poor suburbs across the country, an AP report said.

Zanu-PF is allowing its factional fights to hold the country back and invariably subjects people to abject poverty because no serious investor would want to be part of a chaotic environment unless they are also scoundrels.

It is also important for one to understand why the country is where it is today.

We must remember that Mnangagwa came to power through various manipulations, which seems to have included making allies with corrupt and rogue people within and outside of the ruling party. As a result he might be indebted to those and unable to act in the interest of the country without losing what he deems critical support.

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Perhaps one should also note that this is what happens when one is ideologically and strategically lost.

Since taking over from the country's autocratic leader a year ago, Mnangagwa's administration has been constantly saying one thing and then extraordinarily doing the exact opposite.

The old political guard, whose face is Mnangagwa, and the military guard who are led by Chiwenga have been at each other's throat for the full control of the feeding trough of the state it seems.

Perhaps this is also not new because the infighting that is historically linked to the ruling Zanu-PF party, especially since its disputed victory in 2013, has always been about proximity to state resources.

There were many factions within the party and it is imperative that we acknowledge that most of these were never about ideological differences or even policy directions that the country should take. They are simple about who sits at the table of the country's riches.

- Vikiliahle is a content producer for News24 Africa.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe
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