FAZ: We’ll Keep Mnangagwa In Power
12 July 2023
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When Mugabe failed to pay his patronage dues, he was booted out. ED is next. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

By Wilbert Mukori | Robert Mugabe was a ruthless dictator who enjoyed absolute power and thus demanded blind loyalty from those below him. Such blind loyalty comes with a high price tag. Mugabe could afford to pay the price because he inherited the Biblical seven fat cows and seven fat ears of corn.

In an interview with Trevor Ncube, In Conversation With Trevor, Dr Simba Makoni described how Prime Minister Mugabe replaced Peugeot 406 Ian Smith had given to his Ministers with Class E Mercedes Benz limousines just a few weeks after taking office in 1980. The limousines were not budgeted for and there was no cabinet approval. This was Mugabe’s gift to his cabinet, kicking starting the patronage system that has remained the hallmark of Zimbabwe’s political system.

The cabinet ministers, MPs, etc, the beneficiaries of the the political patronage, returned the favour by giving Mugabe their blind loyalty. Even at the height of the Gukurahundi Massacre in 1983 to 1987 there was no voice of dissent in parliament or cabinet.

“Mose murivakadzi vaMugabe!” (You are all Mugabe’s kowtowing concubines!) Margret Dongo scolded her fellow Zanu PF MPs and Ministers in protest at their slavish subservience to Mugabe. No doubt the dictator was tickled to no end.

The trouble with political patronage, by its very nature of rewarding blind loyalty instead of merit, it is, per se, a criminal waste of human and material resources. The appetites of beneficiaries of the patronage system once awakened grew exponentially matched only by their wastefulness. The seven fat cows and seven fat ears of corn inherited from Smith were soon gone and Mugabe was forced to dig deeper and deeper to keep his ever demanding hyenas fed.

By the turn of the century, just 20 after Zimbabwe’s independence, the country’s once promising economy was in deep trouble. Mugabe had no wealth left to give away except for one thing – land. And started seizing the white-owned farms, supposedly to give to landless peasant, but in reality to give to his Zanu PF cronies. By 2005 Zimbabwe’s once very productive agricultural sector had collapsed and with it the nation’s economy and both have yet to recover to this day.

Mugabe lost the 2008 elections to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party and had to rely on the Joint Operation Command, a Junta composed of the top brass in the Army, Police, CIO and Prison Service, to spearhead the infamous Operation Mavhotera Papi to stop MDC getting into power. Mugabe was obliged to reward the securocrats with diamond mining concessions under such generous terms the holder(s) have no legal obligation to declare their earning nor pay any tax – in short, they are looting licences. In time the securocrats have demanded more and more economic and political power and influence.

Zanu PF emerged out of the 2008 to 2013 GNU with all the party’s carte blanche dictatorial powers untouched largely because of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends’ being corrupt and breathtakingly incompetent. Mugabe himself was a spend force, he had no wealth to doll out and without the blind loyalty of those around him had disappeared like mist in the morning sun.

Of course, Mugabe was disappointed in being booted out of office in the November 2017 military coup but that is not to say he was surprise with the coup. He saw it coming. He has no wealth to doll out to the ever demanding party members for their blind loyalists; the minute they realise you cannot their loyalty to you evaporates.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was the principle beneficiary of the 2017 military coup and, of all people, he knew his stay in power was totally dependent on his paying his patronage dues. He inherited a collapse economy from Mugabe and so he knew he would have to revive the economy quick smart. He thought he had hit the ground running with his “Zimbabwe is open for business!” mantra.

Sadly, no one was fooled especially the savvy investors, Mnangagwa was hoping to attack and kick-start the comatose Zimbabwe economy. They could see that the coup had removed the old dictator Mugabe but only to replace him with an new dictator. When Mnangagwa failed to hold free and fair elections in 2018 he confirm that nothing indeed had changed. “Zimbabwe is open for business!” was dead in the water.

For the last two years, Mnangagwa and his spin doctors have tried to sell the narrative that Zimbabwe’s economy has turned the corner from the Mugabe days and things are getting better and better every day! The reality on the ground has told its own story that things are getting worse. Zimbabwe is a failed state and anyone with eyes can see that for themselves. Zimbabwe’s present social, economic and political situation is unsustainable and it is no surprise then that President Mnangagwa is at a loss what to do.

“President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken a huge political risk by sidelining the military – which has kept Zanu-PF in power directly since 2000 – from his dicey intelligency-driven presidential election campaign, state security sources say,” reported NewsHawks.

Mnangagwa is now working with the dreaded state security agency, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)’s shadowy political dark arts structure Forever Associates Zimbabwe (Faz).

“An internal secret intelligence assessment by CIO, on which The NewsHawks was briefed, shows Mnangagwa has moved to sideline the army in the elections for three main reasons,” the report explained.

“It is a huge risk which may pay a political dividend for him, but trigger the military to fight back.

“Firstly, Mnangagwa is pushing back against the army which is still heavily influenced by Chiwenga and is suspected of planning a 2008-like “bhora musango” (sabotage) campaign which led to Mugabe’s shock defeat by the late founding opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of polling.

“Secondly, he is trying to disentangle and wean himself off the army, which brought him to power through the coup, to secure his own mandate through Faz.

“Sources say Mnangagwa is fed up with Chiwenga and the army’s “we put you there” mantra used to blackmail and control him.

“Thirdly, having dismantled the coup coalition which brought him to power, the President wants to push the army back to the barracks and remove them from the political fray.

“The intelligence briefing sheds light and insight on the matter which will persist well beyond the elections, perhaps deciding Mnangagwa’s fate even after he has won.”

It must be said that Mnangagwa has dug deep and extended the Marange and Chiadzwa diamond looting licence scheme to other areas such as gold, lithium and platinum mining, fuel cartels, etc. to securocrats, cronies, war veterans, church leaders and all those in a position to help him stay in power. Looting in Zimbabwe has gone into overdrive and the few well-connected have become filthy rich.

The recent Al Jazeera Gold Mafia documentary has confirmed Zimbabwe’s position as one of the most corrupt and lawless country on earth. Zimbabwe has attracted unscrupulous business at the expense of the honest long term investors and it s not surprising the country’s economy has sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Mnangagwa can get away with sidelining his former military friends with his new found Faz friends. Can outwit the corrupt and incompetent Chamisa and his CCC friends into participating in flawed elections to give him political legitimacy. What he cannot cheat or falsify is Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown. A Mnangagwa electoral victory next month will be greeted by a new wave of Zimbabweans living the country. Having denying them a meaningful ballot people will vote with their feet, a vote he cannot rig and drawing attention back to the elephant in the room – the collapsed economy!

“It is the economy, stupid!” said former US President Clinton. And when the chips are down it is the economy that boot Mnangagwa out of office.

SOURCE: zsdemocrats.blogspot.com