FORMER Information and Publicity minister Jonathan Moyo this week claimed that Simba Makoni’s presidential bid was part of a protracted Zanu PF succession battle that has been nationalised.
Speaking to journalists in the capital on Wednesday, Moyo said both President Robert Mugabe and Makoni wanted to resolve the Zanu PF succession debate through the March 29 synchronised elections.
He alleged that Mugabe pushed for harmonised polls through Constitutional Amendment No18 to ensure that Zanu PF parliamentary hopefuls would campaign on his behalf, while Makoni opted to contest as an independent after his faction, reportedly led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru, failed to dislodge the 84-year-old leader through internal party processes.
Moyo claimed that Makoni and his faction wanted Zimbabweans to resolve an internal Zanu PF issue.
“It is now our business to deal with the Zanu PF succession issue,” he said. “We are now faced with an amazing succession drama which we have not witnessed anywhere else in Africa.”
Moyo, the independent lawmaker for Tsholotsho, said after the November 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration to re-arrange the party’s presidium, Mugabe gave the impression that he had anointed his deputy, Joice Mujuru, as his successor.
The Tsholotsho debacle, of which Moyo and Rural Housing and Social Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were the architects, resulted in the suspension of six provincial chairpersons.
Moyo said after the elevation of Mujuru to the party’s vice-presidency at the 2004 congress, she started behaving like a successor and went around the country donating pigs, chickens and eggs.
He said it came as a surprise in Zanu PF last January when Mugabe announced while in Namibia that he would accept the ruling party’s nomination to contest the 2008 presidential poll.
Moyo said Mugabe took that route after he failed to put in place a proper succession plan.
This, Moyo said, angered the Mujuru faction that started strategising on how to get rid of Mugabe through the formal process, but they failed.
The legislator said there were two responses to Mugabe’s decision, the formal and the informal one.
Under the formal process, Moyo said the Mujuru faction at the Goromonzi conference in December 2006 blocked Mugabe’s bid to have harmonised elections in 2010 and also managed to push for an extraordinary congress a year later in the hope they could use it to oust Mugabe.
Mugabe’s strategists, Moyo said, hit back and tried to mislead the country that he had been endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate by the Zanu PF central committee on March 31.
“The faction opposed to Mugabe pushed for an extraordinary congress in the hope that the congress would deal with the succession issue,” Moyo said. “Through manipulation, the congress was hijacked to endorse Mugabe when it had no mandate to do so. It is the annual people’s conference (which has) a mandate to endorse the party’s president as the state’s presidential candidate.”
Moyo said the endorsement of Mugabe forced the other faction in the party to come up with the informal response – the Makoni strategy.
“Zanu PF has practically two presidential candidates, one formally endorsed and the other informally…They (the Makoni faction) are not presenting themselves as a real alternative, but an alternative to replace Mugabe,” the lawmaker said.
He added: “From February 5 when he announced his presidential bid, Makoni said he was standing as an independent although he wanted to stand on behalf of Zanu PF. Makoni is Zanu PF B and Mugabe Zanu PF A.”
Moyo said Makoni had rejected efforts to work with other democratic forces as a united front to dislodge Mugabe from power. He said the refusal deepened political polarisation in the country.
“If Makoni had agreed to a united front we would have witnessed a similar wave to that when the MDC was formed in 1999,” the political science professor said. “Given Makoni’s reputation, calibre and abilities we would have had a fantastic candidate, but it is unfortunate that this opportunity is being squandered.”
Moyo described the Makoni strategy as “fanciful medicine” that would kill the patient.
“The right way to go is a third way, not a third force. A third force is shadowy,” the former Zanu PF politburo member said. “I am glad that Makoni in an interview with the Standard admitted that he was a third force. A third force is more interested in grabbing power.”
Moyo wondered how Makoni would win an election when he did not have either a party or structures to drum up support for him.
He said he had heard that Makoni was using a “military” strategy to surprise all.
Moyo said the Makoni campaign lacked deep ideological roots and was not associational.
“Makoni’s group is shadowy. Some of its members are in the open, some are not. Its programmes are not clear and you would not be able to define them,” he claimed. “If this succeeds, it will make history because it will be succeeding for the first time.”
Moyo dismissed as nonsense claims by Makoni that he was in alliance with the people of Zimbabwe
“Political history shows that it is the language of dictators so as to run way from accountability when they fail. That is very dangerous,” he said. “What Makoni is proposing is equal to asking the people to sign a pact with the devil – a Faustian bargain.”
On the likely outcome of the elections, Moyo said they might be a cliffhanger. He said it might not produce a conclusive result, leading to a run-off.
Moyo said the run-off was likely to be between Mugabe and either MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai or Makoni.
He said in the run-off he expected Mugabe to lose either to Makoni or Tsvangirai, as he fights the election alone.
If Makoni wins, he argued, the former Finance minister would go back to Zanu PF and assume its leadership.
Moyo predicted the elections would be chaotic as a result of what he termed administrative shortcomings. He said the government should have postponed the polls for at least six months to allow for adequate preparations as it was a very costly exercise.–Constantine Chimakure