Skip to comments.Zimbabwe army heavily factionalized
Posted on 08/27/2009 7:53:53 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces are heavily factionalised and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that, should anything happen to Mugabe, the army will fall in behind a single successor.
This was revealed to me in detail yesterday after an interview I did with SW Radio regarding the story I broke on this blog about Mugabes medical trip to Dubai.
The factions within the armed forces mirror those within ZANU PF itself. For example, last year in February, when Simba Makoni jettisoned the party to launch a challenge to Mugabes hold on the presidency of Zimbabwe, senior army commanders and officers loyal to the Mujuru faction issued instructions for General Mujuru, Zimbabwes first black Defence Forces Commander and the man who put Mugabe where he is in 1975, to be put under 24 hour surveillance.
Within two days, however, 17 senior armed forces officers met with Mujuru at his farm and explained to him that this is what they had been requested to do. Their message to him was: We will not do it. But we thought you should know, because junior people have been forced to carry out the instructions.
You will recall that at the time, Mugabe told The Herald, the main State daily newspaper and Zimbabwe Television that Mujuru had come to tell him that he was not behind Makonis bid, insisting that, with his wife as Vice-president in ZANU PF, it would be unthinkable for him to do that.
Mugabes death, therefore, will unleash these factional loyalties as people jostle for positions. Even within ZANU PF itself, there is fear that this country will then be plunged into a Somalia-type scenario, with various armed forces factions claiming territories to rule and putting up their choice as the civilian head.
In Somalia, warlords for years controlled specific areas, regions and cities depending on where they came from. They collected taxes and effectively ran mini-governments in those areas where they entrenched themselves to the extent that not even the USA under Bill Clinton, which sent forces in there to restore order, could make any headway.
The same is now feared for Zimbabwe and the risk is extremely real.
Of course, do not expect that Zimbabweans will take any of this seriously. For some reason, my countrymen seem to think that no lesson applies to them, always trotting out the same retort that Zimbabwe is different or that That era is long gone, this is the 21st century.
Even as some of us warned in September last year that Morgan Tsvangirai risked going the way of Joshua Nkomo and being swallowed by Mugabes flattery and mischief, these excuses were trotted out.
Where are we now? MDC-T itself is now unhappy with Tsvangirais quiet diplomacy towards Mugabe, with several of his own Executive questioning whether he has been bought off.
It was the same with the land issue, where we were told that Mugabe would not dare do such a thing as forcibly acquire land because he knows what will happen.
That, also is now just part of history.
But what it does is lead people into a false comfort zone, where they fail to come up with proper strategies to counter what is clearly imminent, in the hope that it will somehow all just go away.
So strong is the animosity towards each other by these factions that even Mugabe himself realises just what he has done in failing to resolve the succession issue.
The more worrying thing about all this, however, is the fact that, as we speak now, these same factions are vying for control of mineral resources like diamonds and gold.
Only last week, I revealed to you how the defence forces are using third parties to sell loose diamonds on the world market. Others are in control of gold fields (not so widely publicised).
Which also explains why this country is failing to benefit of these resources. The fear then is that proceeds from these minerals are being hoarded by individuals and factions in preparation for the funding of their own ambitions when the time comes.
Of course, personal nests are being feathered in the process, but that is only a by-the-way.
Mugabe remains at the apex of the governance structure in Zimbabwe only because he has not clearly and unequivocally settled on an heir whom the entire party can rally behind. This keeps the ambitions in check, as each faction thinks: It could be us.
Now, the same armed forces are, as I told you a few months back, now saying Tsvangirai is part of the game. Tsvangirai is now just leader of another faction fighting to succeed Mugabe within th context of ZANU PF politics.
For him to do this, he has to play the ZANU PF political game as well, which is why you see him meeting with Mnangagwa, Mujuru and others in an effort to try and see where he fits in.
But it is a dangerous game, because these same ZANU PF factions cold easily play up his cosiness with any one of the factions to destroy him and his ambitions.
What is certain is that Tsvangirai has also now realised that ZANU PF politics and factionalism is the only game in town, which he has to play in order to be a contender.
The only question is whether he is up to the task.
Between those who want to get paid twice a day as opposed to three times a day?
I imagine the Zimbabwe Defense Forces are about as stable as Zimbabwe’s currency. Lesotho could beat them.
I am interested in Zimbabwe as a example of what not to do, and read what articles I can find on it. I gave up my last hope for it’s people after the last election. It appears that there is a natural human tendency for societies under stress to break down into small often warring power factions, with warlords, gangs, villages, kinship groups or whatever helps them survive. Eventually they might reunite or get absorbed into another nation.
I think GHW Bush sent them, Clinton didn't know what to do with them.
I am convinced that Mugabe's regime is ripe for a coup, if the right people outside of Zimbabwe want it to happen. I don't believe it can be done by anyone inside the country.
I don't think anyone is worries about them getting into a pitched battle with another country. I think when that country falls apart the army will become three or four or five factions fighting each other for control with their wonderful neighbors and some nosy outsiders each supplying their favorite faction. Zimbabwe used to feed a large portion of Africa with it's agricultural output. Now they are starving. Soon they will die in larger numbers by faster methods.
I have lately discovered Google news as a good source for stuff like this. Find an article about the country or situation you are interested in and underneath the blub will be a link that says "all 432 news articles". That's how I wandered into this one.
Here's the page for the latest news on Zimbabwe.
Oh, the power of a single “golden BB”.
What an evil man Mugabee is.
His absence would bring on a shark feeding frenzy?
Maybe China will claim it is a breakaway province and take it over, since they get lots of raw material from there. It would make as much sense as some of their other claims....Okay I’m grasping there.
From what I remember and have read, GHWB sent US troops in to aid in alleviating a famine. It was in early 1993 that the mission changed to nation building and the US troops became involved in local politics. Being in the military at the time, I fully agree that Clinton didn't know what to do.
You have hit the crux of the problem, however. Africa is a continent rich in oil, gold, diamond, natural gas and countless other resources. But they lack the infrastructure to exploit it and governments strong enough and competent enough to hold it together. What wealth there is in the continent seems to be siphoned off by dictators or spent on bullets.
And this is one of the things that makes Free Republic so great. I have had to look up about six things that have been posted to me tonight. I might not be any smarter, but I'm better educated.
***What an evil man Mugabee is.
His absence would bring on a shark feeding frenzy?***
How dare you say that about the darling of the Main Stream Media and the Liberals of 25 years ago! He could do NO wrong even when he shot down civilian passenger planes and butchered the surviving passengers!
No soup for you! Two weeks of remedial Diversity training instead!