By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
14 February 2014
ZANU PF’s supreme decision-making body met Friday, as the party tries to put a lid on the infighting manifesting itself through State media corruption exposés.
The politburo meeting was called by Mugabe following a public spat involving top party officials, in the wake of alarming corruption within government.
The power contest between the ruling party’s two rival factions, led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru, is getting more public as each tries to position itself to take over from their ailing leader Robert Mugabe.
So far the Herald newspaper-led revelations have only targeted officials linked to Vice President Mujuru’s faction, exposing how they drew stupendous salaries from state-linked firms with zero accountability.
It is widely believed that Mnangagwa’s front-man and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is behind the disclosures in the State media.
Last weekend Mujuru did not do herself any favours when she warned the media to back off the salary scandals, remarks which her rivals used against her.
“There must be no sacred cows, whatever the position of those involved,” Moyo told the Sunday Mail in response to Mujuru.
Despite Moyo’s comments that no-one will be spared, no official from his faction has been exposed, and the probe has only focused on the lower rungs, leaving the top levels untouched.
In the aftermath of Mujuru’s speech, many Zimbabweans agreed that although she correctly identified Moyo’s hidden hand in the anti-corruption dossiers, she was wrong to try and gag the media.
South Africa-based political analyst Percy Makombe said the Mnangagwa faction was deliberately playing to the gallery on the corruption issue.
“These guys are preparing themselves for the post-Mugabe era. They have all resigned themselves to the fact that Mugabe will die in office,” Makombe said.
“Their strategy now hinges on outwitting each other to pole position and that is what Mnangagwa is doing, and with Moyo being in charge of the mass media this is playing out well.
“The plan is so far working well for the Mnangagwa-Moyo faction and they may just hoodwink the public into seeing them as genuinely against corruption in public office,” Makombe said.
Veteran journalist and editor Barnabas Thondhlana said unless the Mujuru faction started bringing out its own dossiers, things were looking bad for them, and people will not be concerned about her cries of victimisation.
“In the final analysis corruption is corruption and Zimbabweans want to see it exposed and action taken, regardless of which faction the culprits belong to,” he said.
Thondhlana said Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba’s admission that ministers have knowingly shielded the rot, and it’s time for a clean-up, suggests that his boss may at least give direction on how his party should proceed.
“So we may see this going right up to the top, to Mujuru’s office, with indications that the ‘small fish’ so far netted are part of the case being built up against her.
“Mugabe was aware of the extent of the corruption but did not act, because the feeling within the party, going into last year’s election, was that raising it would give the opposition MDC a boost.
“What will force Mugabe to act are two things; first, the public anger over the corruption levels at a time when the economy is non-performing and secondly, Mugabe is desperate to rehabilitate his image before he dies.
“If he pulls this one off, people will remember him as someone who was intolerant of corruption, cleaned up the rot, and hopefully restored public confidence in public institutions before he left.
Few will remember him for having presided over, and groomed, this corrupt system for many years,” Thondhlana added.