Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

The greatest threat to ZANU-PF revealed

26 Jun 2021 at 14:44hrs | Views
The conceptualization of factionalism in political parties takes a different view if we consider its importance in a democratic environment. Following an ugly encounter with the ugly face of factionalism in the party one can argue that the analytical approach based on typologies and categories of subparty groups is not very useful in explaining intra-party behaviour and the process of change because, by their nature, these are static tools.

Factionalism must be clearly distinguished from tribalism. We have senior party members who have mistaken the devolution to mean tribalism. We have senior government leaders who wreck Hanock in their provinces attacking some members of the party because they were not born in that province. These misguided politicians who have risen on the benevolence of the head of state start believing that they are the party themselves.  They create their lines of shallowness and pass it as factionalism yet it is clear tribalism. Those who shed blood for this country did it for the country not for tribes not for a province. So all provinces are equal and people must not be dealt with on provincial lines.
Tribalism is not factionalism.

We must learn from the MDC. Factionalism destroyed the MDC and it is now writhing from its devastation and leaking it's wounds to the great advantage of ZANU PF.

Building on the events in ZANU PF we focus on intra-party dynamics instead of organizational forms of faction. Factionalism should be viewed in non-exclusive terms, i.e. as a dynamic process of subgroup partitioning. It is a multifaceted phenomenon that can transform itself over time in response to incentives. Based on the events in ZANU PF we identify three main faces of factionalism: cooperative, competitive and degenerative.

It is suggested that the process of change may occur in a cycle that contributes to party disintegration, as illustrated by the current events in some provinces which imploded in the nasty personal fight under the centrifugal pulls of its factions. If it's not checked factionalism will destroy the unity of the party. As accepted by the acting ZANU PF NPC cde Chinamasa factionalism in Manicaland is rearing its ugly head and is threatening the party. If this is not attended to the party will lose. In Chipinge during the 2018 elections some members of ZANU PF campaigned for the opposition just to make sure that Cde Win Mlambo loses. The result did not injure cde Mlambo but it injured the party. If factionalism tribalism and selfishness is not dealt with now the party will face challenges.

It is true to say factionalism is a fact of life within most political parties and mostly divided in ethnic or tribal grounds.
Political parties are not monolithic structures but collective entities in which competition, divided opinions and dissent create internal pressures. In turn, these pressures often trigger the formation of factions that render the party divided. This needs a leadership with a free focussed mind to handle this scourge.

Although widespread, factionalism is still a relatively under-studied phenomenon. In political grounds of Zimbabwe it is not a new beginning. From ZANU PF to the opposition factionalism has raised its ugly head but never has it threatened to destroy the ruling party but poses as a weakening point. However, this analytical approach has turned out to be a bit of a minefield.

However, with a static view of factionalism in ZANU PF it cannot capture group dynamics and explain the process of change. It has failed to provide convincing and parsimonious answers to key questions, such as why some political parties contain factions while ZANU PF struggles with it why factions become embedded inside some parties but not in others, and why factionalism grows and transforms over time.  
People always forget that they are not bigger than the party. They dwell on the powers bestowed on them by the people and believe that they are powerful. This belief creates a ring fence around the ego of those who will create a faction.

Factionalism is a sign of power struggle and the power will always tilt to one side so all those practicing factionalism will prophecy to do this in the name of the president.  Factionalism in most cases results in the name of the president being abused.

Those who follow these factions end up being cheer leaders and boot lickers.  Bootlicking  destroys the party it creates leaders who cannot smell beyond their nose. They can only go as far as the voices of the bootlickers and praise singers. Bootlicking has never been part of ZANU PF and those introducing it must grow up.

It is argued that factionalism is a multifaceted phenomenon which can transform itself over time in response to incentives. The incentives are mostly the need for positions of influence in the party. Factionalism is a total abuse of democracy. Mostly people form groups of like mind in order to wrestle the power from the incumbent.  In this vein, the effects of factionalism are felt heavily in the government functions. The factious cabinet which can not work together as a unit sabotages the core business of the day. The fight for party positions spreads as cancer to the government business. Surely it is the innocent masses who suffer while the factious buffoons are feeling their bellies at the expense of the electorate.  
Factionalism ignores the impact of institutions such as electoral systems and bicameralism on the career motivations and strategic behaviour of politicians. It only concentrates on the selfish ends which benefits individuals. What the factionalist chose to ignore is that nobody is bigger than the party.  
The intra-party dissent and factional conflict in specific parties at different points in time, destroys the voter confidence.

The intra-party politics, party cohesion and the role of party factions in legislative politics is always blanketed by the ugly results of the factionalism.

We must  regard factions as divisive and potentially dangerous to the government.
People have blamed factions for sustaining corruption for encouraging favouritism and graft among elected officials and for squelching competition between the ‘haves' and ‘have-nots'
Those who are rich in the party becomes untouchables and grow big heads. They throw away all the party procedures and direct all the glory to themselves. This destroys the confidence of the true cadres.
The masses are bribed and the stalwarts are undermined.  Factions are formed on monetary and not ideological basis.

All having been said factionalism destroys parties and cripples the government. In all this nonsense it is the people who suffer.  

As the old Zimbabwean saying goes.  Were two elephants fight it is the grass which suffers.

How long will the grass suffer before the elephants stop the fight.
As we March towards 2023 we must fight factionalism and tribalism. We must maintain ZANU PF as the party for Zimbabwean people and must never be divided into tribes.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
More on: #ZANU_PF, #MDC, #Revealed