Dirtying youths with sins of our fathers


THE politburo, which is Zanu PF’s apex decision-making organ, has made selections within its ranks for people to assume the task of ripping the scourge of factionalism and also ensuring adequate provincial organisation (mobilisation) ahead of the elective congress slated for December.

In more sincere sense, the country has for long expected such a bold move towards national restructuring and expected President Robert Mugabe to at least speak?

Factionalism is not a glaringly uncommon occurrence to Zimbabwe’s political running as most people could easily identify the Zanu PF party as a separatist party, itself a latter-day institution that broke-away from Zapu, which during the days was led by Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo.

Nkomo, for his undying national unification quest showcased in his humane conduct that went beyond tribal stripes, is today posthumously reminisced as “Father Zimbabwe”. During his time, it was not called “factionalism”, for a fact not because it wasn’t.

It is also true that factionalism is not exclusive to Zanu PF only, neither is it solely to Zimbabwe within the Southern African or global political context.

For example, three years following the overthrowing of Muammar Gaddaffi, Libya is said to have been battling with acute fragmentation.

The major oil-producing State has had two governments and parliaments since former insurgents from the western city of Misrata took over the capital naming their own prime minister and forcing the formally constituted government to drift 1 000km to the east.

With the deepening disorder, it now has two State news agencies.

But that is not the issue. The real issue is on what bearing that has on the overall development outlook of a country and how on a more national scale Zimbabwe is capacitated to intervene in redressing the problem.

Another more serious point to ponder on is which group of people factionalism benefits in the ultimate. Factionalism is an oblique intra-party contest formulated on power bases, for power.

It is based on the culmination of coteries of like-minded character and ambition. The “ambition”, in the now traditional Zimbabwean context, is anchored on wealth and pinned on resource manipulation.

This being the reason why prior to her “meet the people” tours, First Lady Grace Mugabe was allegedly offered a bribe which she reportedly turned down.

That should explain why it is/will be somehow difficult to regulate a body of synchronised individuals set on a premeditated and excogitated agenda, especially when that body/faction has successfully managed to attract a human capital with a common denominator.

It is here that we hope the newly selected “anti-factionalism” taskforce itself doesn’t constitute people with underhand dealings dedicated to seeing their preferable factional lining blossom, thus dominating at the December congress. What a combative point?

Also equally important is to see where we plant youths in this whole mega jigsaw.

A fortnight ago when the Vice-President Joice Mujuru was in Dotito for her graduation celebrations, frictions emerged within youth camps with main characters being Jim Kunaka and Godwin Gomwe.

The issue was factional and decried insincere logistical sponsorship to rallies. For advocates of youth’s emancipation in development affairs, this signalled yet another danger so imminent.

Any slightest hope for normalcy during the congress, therefore, gets outrightly shattered as youths will be required to maintain their off-stage role of keeping sentry to those on “resource battles”.

Factionalism in a country struggling with high poverty ratios and a high unemployment rate should not be mistaken for a slight political wrangle, but a last blow to an already bleeding economy.

Grace in Mazowe noted that youths were being given $75 tokens to “execute their duties”.

These were youths from the pro-Gamatox faction said to be led by Mujuru. This is not saying the alleged “Weevils-cum-Mazowe Orange Crush” faction has not been held in contempt of youths’ rights.

Was it not political vulnerability that led youths into chanting “We will deal with Fortune Chasi” when the latter was prescribed with a bitter political dosage at the recent Zanu PF women’s congress. One never wishes to know how Chasi was to be dealt with.

Under which of youths’ constabulary bureau? Under which conferred political power particular to youths? For what benefit to the empty bellied youth?

In recent years, we condemned a culture of use and abuse of youths by powerful political figures as they sought to amass power to their advantage. I took it with too much loath.

To me, youths (or rather T-shirt politicians) were being slowly subjected to perpetual political powerlessness.

The same earned powerlessness playing core in today’s political welkin.

This is untrue if these factional battles seek to reposition youths into powerful posts, which I largely argue against. The fractured youth congress elections which saw non-youth Zanu PF goons play a determinant role in results teaches that in this factionalism phase, youths should be prepared to be dirtied with sins of their fathers. Uncaring fathers that ours are.

There is always a number of youths eyeing entrance into MDC structures, youths eyeing entrance into Zanu PF structures, but this only melts down to be a mere nightmare in a scenario where youths have been pre-conditioned for eulogies.

Zisunko Ndlovu is a social development practitioner and political writer from Binga, Zimbabwe. Send comments and suggestions to: kubutonga@gmail.com