"...Two powerful factions within the ruling party want Mugabe out of office. These factions take credit for defeating Mugabe’s 2010 project. The more powerful of the two is led by retired general Solomon Mujuru, whose wife, Joyce, is one of Mugabe’s vice-presidents. A year ago, this faction was on the ascendancy, but has clearly fallen out of favour, as evidenced by Mugabe’s attack on the Mujurus’ ambitions.
The flavour of the moment is the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led faction, which suffered a major reversal of fortunes following the Tsolotsho incident in 2004. Now Mugabe, as part of a divide and rule tactic, is making this faction believe it is his preferred heir. It would be political folly for the Mnangagwa camp to derive a false sense of comfort from Mugabe’s political embrace. He will dump them as soon as they become a real threat and once he is secure again. Make no mistake, politics in Zimbabwe is about Mugabe and nothing else.
And Mugabe has his own faction fighting for his survival, in the top echelons of the army, the police and the intelligence services. It must be noted, however, that there are deep divisions within the middle and lower ranks of the uniformed forces which mirror the three factions in the party.
Two things are instructive as Zimbabweans ponder the way forward. The first of these is that the defeat of Mugabe’s 2010 project was delivered by forces for change within Zanu-PF and had little to do with pressure from the opposition or the international community. Secondly, the weakness of the opposition MDC, unfortunate as it is, removed an outside threat for Zanu-PF, focusing the party on internal dynamics and causing deep divisions and the realisation that Mugabe is the problem. This points to the fact that Zanu-PF’s internal dynamics might be key in finding a way out of Zimbabwe’s crisis and that the MDC might not be the place to look for relief. While this is an unpopular view it is a pragmatic one, informed by the current weakness of the MDC and the potential offered by reformers in the ruling party.
Equally important is the evidence that Zimbabwe’s problems are far bigger than Zanu-PF and the MDC put together. We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF will solve Zimbabwe’s problems. A durable solution requires getting a broad section of Zimbabweans talking to each other about their problems and structuring the future together. This is clearly not a winner-takes-all strategy, but a process of negotiating how Zimbabwe’s future is going to be ordered. For this project to have wider purchase, trade unions, the churches, business and all other civil society players will have to be involved..."