Zimbabwe: Power Struggle, Dictatorship or Anarchy?

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Is the power struggle in Zimbabwe dragging the country into a dictatorship or irredeemable anarchy? This is the question in the minds of many as the power rivalry within the ruling Zanu-PF party and political chess game to succeed President Robert Mugabe head into a dangerous dimension in Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, four people have been dragged to court in Zimbabwe for allegedly booing First Lady Grace Mugabe. The accused persons are facing charges of undermining the president’s authority.

The four were arrested after the First Lady addressed a rally in Bulawayo. Although the accused have been released on bail, many are wondering whether the country is heading to a political Armageddon. The recent intensive political squabbles among the political heavyweights in Zimbabwe, aimed at succeeding the 93-year old President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power for 30 years, has created a tensed atmosphere in the country.

Three days ago, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leading candidate to succeed President Mugabe, was unceremoniously sacked by Mr. Mugabe, following accusations from the First Lady that Mr. Mnangagwa was trying to stage a coup to topple her husband. Mr. Mnangagwa, who is nicknamed “Ngwena” (The Crocodile) due to his fearsome power and alleged ruthlessness against rivals had been President Mugabe’s close ally since 40 years. Unfortunately, the former Vice-President, who served as Intelligence chief and is believed to be close to the military brass, could neither outsmart nor crush The First Lady, Mrs. Grace Mugabe. Mr. Mnangagwa has since fled to South Africa, alleging that his life is in danger in Zimbabwe.

Interestingly, the four people, who were dragged to court are believed to belong to the Mr. Mnangagwa’s political camp, which is in a bitter political fight with the Mrs. Mugabe led faction. The First Lady is strongly believed to be favoured by her husband, the President to succeed him. The axing of the potential contender to the Presidency, former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is, therefore, seen in the political arena as a strategy to elevate Mrs. Grace Mugabe to the post of Vice President – a position, which will lead her to take over from the husband as the President of Zimbabwe. The First Lady is now expected to be appointed vice-president at a special Zanu-PF congress next month. Will this lead to a political turmoil in the country? Let us not hope so.

With the removal of Mr. Mnangagwa and the alleged political ambition of Grace Mugabe in mind, some are asking whether the Mnangagwa’s dismissal was a political victimization aimed at sending him into a political oblivion – and some would say wilderness. Others wonder whether the accusations against the former Vice President were indeed not fabricated to suit Mrs. Mugabe’s agenda. The First Lady has recently called Mnangagwa a snake, which “must be hit on the head.” Yet, other observers of the Zimbabwean political theatre insist that Mr, Mnangagwa is paying the price for the role he played in eliminating the former Vice President Mrs. Joice Mujuru from the political queue to fulfil his own political ambitions. Mrs. Mujuru, was the leading heir apparent to succeed President Mugabe, whom she had solidly supported for more than three decades until she was also shamefully removed from the office for allegedly harbouring a political ambition to succeed the President.

Some observers wonder whether Grace Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe; as such, Is booing her or criticising her tantamount to insulting President Mugabe, they ask? This line of thought makes this group worry where the country is heading to and whether Grace Mugabe will, in fact, be intolerant to criticism if ever elected President of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, once one of the few self-sufficient countries in Africa in terms of agriculture, used in fact, to be a success story in Africa. Positively, the country has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. This makes some struggle to understand why a country with such a highly educated population would allow their country to be turned into a political sucker punch.

Regardless, one will be excused to ask: Has the power struggle in Zimbabwe systematically created a dictatorship in the country and led it into a dangerous anarchy?