Monday, 19 October 2015

People Can Differ but Should not Have Factions

By Nick Mangwana

The drama in our party continues unabated and it’s catching the imagination of the international media. Only last week I had 1 radio interview and 2 radio discussions. At the centre of all this was the notion that Zanu PF was imploding. As the party representative on this continent,  I kept the party narrative given to outsiders;  there are no factions in Zanu PF. But dear Cde Reader, you and I know better.  However we will continue to completely deny the existence of factions even if it makes us look silly and sound ridiculous.

 The defence is always to say that Zanu PF like every organisation has no homogeneity of ideas.  You cannot have an organisation which is over 50 years old, and has a membership of millions of people and you have all these people thinking the same, holding the same value system and having the same vision. That would be clearly a lie. Now those keen to tell or hear lies can go to another column to look for such. Here we are frank. We tell it as it is.

If twins who have pretty much the same genetic structure, are raised eating the same food and even wearing the same type of clothes can fight, how about millions of people with different genetical compositions and raised under different domestic value system who went to different schools and have different life experiences, how much more should there be a plurality of thought and diversity of ideas? I think if people tell you that they agree with everything a leader does they are a bunch of either liars or numpties.  Damn, I never agreed with everything my father did and yet he taught me most of the things I know today. I view the world through the prism of his value system yet there are things we could never see eye to eye on.  So if I cannot agree 100% with my father how much more should be expected that people in the same party would view things differently?

What keeps families and organisations together regardless of this plurality of visions or ideas is respect and discipline. That’s what brings order.  I am no hired gun for any of the so-called factions. The leader is President Mugabe. After him is a brilliant team that has contesting views and my take on those views is eclectic. This means there are things from either side which find resonance with my own views.  I am also on good terms with my leaders and those around them regardless of their own differences.  I am proud of some of the things a lot of them do and so if it was my choice I would keep them that way.

For starters I identify with the current commissariat. Some of my reasons are quite selfish. For example, the reason that for the first time in the history of the party bar 1980, this commissariat has put two Diasporans in parliament.  It is selfish view because I consider the Diaspora my constituency. This is a progressive approach and one I will ever be so grateful.  And I think this would have probably struggled to find traction with the old team. It is dynamism of this nature that can only take the country forward. So am I a member of an imaginary faction? No way.

The President in the abundance of his wisdom chose people whom he knew would be safe to assist him run the country. He felt comfortable with those he chose himself this time round after he had been subjected to treachery. These are people he saw fit to act in his position when he is not around.  If the President can trust his deputies that much and I trust my President,  then because I trust his judgement, I give my full backing to my vice presidents. But do I then belong to a faction now? Hell, no. I belong to Zanu PF. Like the President said, even he also simply belongs to Zanu PF.

What our party needs is to be able to pull together despite these varying views. Just like a country. In regular democracy, if one is voted in by 51% of those that vote he becomes a leader including of those 49% who voted against him and those that did not bother to go vote.  The leader represents them all. They are obliged to pull together with that leader despite their  divergent views. Now a party cannot pull together if it is divided into contesting factions.  Warring factions cannot walk in unison. There should be a difference between having different sides to a debate in a political party to having factions.  Factions create contra powers. People spend too  much time trying to counteract and create a Zero sum situation on each other’s moves instead of supporting the President to fulfil his mandate.  When this happens, the people suffer and the party suffers.

Zanu PF is a vibrant party, but factionalism is a sign of ill-health. Zanu PF is a party built on the ideology of empowering the masses. Factionalism disempowers the masses and empowers faction leaders.  Empowerment emboldens the youth to chase their dreams whilst never sacking the ethos of the Liberation Struggle which is the founding pillar of our nation. This also cannot happen without acknowledging and giving deference to those that made it happen. Now for me there is no contradiction between these views. They are in tandem and therefore any counter-force gravitation around those ideas should build the party and not cause fissures.

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