Only a few weeks ago, Mugabe appeared unstoppable as he sought to defy everyone who believed that Zimbabwe is not ready for fresh elections.
The Zanu PF campaign manifesto was anchored on an
ambitious lobby to get two million signatures on a petition that calls for the lifting of punitive measures against Mugabe’s inner circle imposed by the West.
The party, which ensured its resurrection a decade ago through a ruinous agrarian reform programme, had also set its sights on grabbing what remains of foreign-owned companies to use them as bait for reluctant voters.
But Mugabe appears to be having too much in his hands right now to worry about elections. There are indications that his wife Grace is seriously ill after she allegedly fell down at their Borrowdale home and dislocated a hip.
She is said to be receiving treatment in Singapore and this has seen Mugabe making four trips to the Asian country since January. The last trip was on April 8.
His spokesman George Charamba also confirmed that his boss had used one of the trips to see doctors for his own health problems.
These problems have forced the 87-year-old former guerilla leader to make fewer public appearances than usual. As if that was not enough Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders who in the past have been accused of being soft in dealing with an intransigent Mugabe have suddenly changed their game plan.
The leaders, led by South African President Jacob Zuma are now demanding that the 87-year-old leader plays ball and the weeks leading to a special Sadc summit on Zimbabwe in Namibia next month will provide the sternest test to Mugabe’s diplomatic skills.
Disloyal Zanu PF MPs who voted for MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo to be Speaker of Parliament ahead of their own chairman Simon Khaya- Moyo have also given the geriatric leader headaches.
The frustrations were evident at the burial of the deputy director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation Mernard Muzariri on Thursday when Mugabe lashed out at traitors from within.He said he was aware that there were “sell-outs” within the ranks of Zanu PF.
Mugabe’s fallout with Zuma has also left one of his self-appointed propagandists, Jonathan Moyo badly bruised. Moyo has been on a lonely but damaging crusade against Zuma since the Livingstone rude awakening.
There are reports that just like in his first flirtation with Zanu PF, the acerbic professor of political science has rubbed his seniors in the party the wrong way.
Khaya-Moyo refused to discuss the allegations when The Standard sought his comment last week.
However, the Tsholotsho North MP defended himself through an online publication saying the storm that he precipitated was a “fake hullabaloo.” However, another analyst Bril-liant Mhlanga believes Zanu PF was not bruised as much as its opponents wanted to believe and its anti-sanctions campaign would resonate with the electorate.
“Zanu PF’s elections strategy of using sanctions is selling,” he said. “People have to be careful not to dismiss it so early.”
Mhlanga said the decisions of the Sadc troika were not representative of the sentiment in the region and cannot give Mugabe sleepless nights.
Sadc communique shocked Zanu PF
BEKITHEMBA Mpofu, a political analyst said it was clear that Zanu PF was in sixes and sevens, especially after the Sadc troika on peace and security meeting in Zambia last month.
“It is evident that the Sadc communiqué was a shock to the Zanu PF system, it was not expected and the fallout from it was not planned,” Mpofu said.
“Like any ordering or prioritisation of work and activities, their electioneering programmes have to take a back seat while they firefight for their very existence.”
He said Zanu PF had survived this long largely because of the solidarity from neighbouring countries.
Mpofu said Zanu PF’s only option was to abandon its inflammatory programmes such as the anti-sanctions campaign where its foot soldiers coerce people to append their signatures and the grabbing of companies.
“The First Lady’s sickness and Mugabe’s own health challenge have not helped the situation,” he said.
“Instead it has allowed the dark sinister forces within the party which were identified by (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai to have free rein in the presidential office.”