Zimbabwe main opposition party following ZANU-PF succession script


There is also the stage in which leaders secretly accuse each other of being used by external forces. In ZANU-PF, it was either a rival was used by the whites, big business or even the CIA. In the MDC-T, Chamisa has been accused of leading a faction somehow backed by the army.

Then, leaders will start lobbing barely hidden insults at each other. Just as ZANU-PF leaders insulted each other through the press and through social media, MDC-T leaders’ bitter online posts are today a window into the internal battles going on behind closed doors.

Yesterday, Chamisa tweeted: “I’m ready for it all. They’ll manufacture lies, construct theories, drag my name in the mud, call me names, label & condemn me, claim me preposterously & align me to imaginary sides, own and even disown me, but that won’t change who I am; a patriot fighting for my generation.”

We have all read this script before, and it comes from one place; a refusal by leaders to plan for their own succession. Tsvangirai has led the MDC-T since 1999. Externally, he made his party a force in Zimbabwean politics, ever a thorn in Mugabe’s side. But, internally, the party suffered damaging splits that bled out some of its best brains over the years.

Appointing two extra VPs was a move to try and manage competing interests, but it only helped to isolate Thokozani Khupe, the only elected deputy. Tsvangirai cannot cherry pick a successor and still leave his party intact. Khupe’s allies say she will quit if he does so, and supporters of Mudzuri too would protest.

An open contest at a special congress is the only option that is in line with party laws, and he will likely eventually go that route to ensure that he leaves with his democrat credentials intact. But given the bitterness on display, the MDC-T seems unprepared for a cordial internal election, especially so close to national polls.

In their two decades of rivalry, Mugabe and Tsvangirai hardly ever agreed on much. But on succession, Tsvangirai and the MDC-T seem intent on following the Mugabe and ZANU-PF manual.

Just like Mugabe, Tsvangirai left his succession planning too late. Now, he fears that whatever options he has left – staying, anointing a successor or allowing an open contest – may weaken his party. And with each passing day that he dithers more and more on a decision, he looks less and less in control of his fate or that of his party.

We have seen this all before. – The Source


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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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