By Ndafadza Madanha
THE succession wars within the ruling ZANU-PF government over who will succeed President Robert Mugabe have spilled into 2017 and are likely to dominate ahead of efforts to revive the economy.
Mugabe and his fractious Zanu-PF party which has been in power since the country gained independence in 1980 is divided into two distinct factions which are engaged in a brutal fight to succeed the veteran leader who turns 93 next month.
The factions who go by the monikers Lactose allegedly backing VP Emmerson Mnangagwa and G40 made up of young turks who have coalesced reportedly to push the candidature of first lady Grace Mugabe.
An economist who spoke on condition of anonymity said the succession war within the ruling party if left unresolved could scuttle the country’s economic revival prospects.
“We have seen what is happening in the party (Zanu-PF) and it does not augur well for the country, it now seems ministers are spending more time trying to find the successor rather than on implementation and delivery. Look at how the government contradicted finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on a number of occasions last year and that did not send correct signals to investors.
“One thing about capital is that it flows to countries that have sound and predictable policy frameworks and unless the government begins to act in unison then 2017 might again be a missed opportunity,” said the economist.
The economist sentiments were echoed by a World Bank report which predicted that Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by 3.8 percent this year but could be disrupted by political uncertainty.
Despite the Zanu-PF annual conference held last month affirming Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 harmonized elections and calling for the unity amongst its members, little has changed as the factions continue to throw brickbats at each other.
So intense has the succession war become among the factions that the fights have spilled onto social media platforms such as twitter where party members take turns to belittle one another.
In one of the tweets on the micro blogging site twitter Professor Jonathan Moyo a perceived G-40 proponent and minister responsible for Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development revealed that implementation of government programs had halted owing to the factional wars in the party.
“Big progress would be made if officials worked not for their successor but for the success of the policies of President Mugabe and the government,” tweeted Moyo.
Some of the government programs that have suffered owing to the deadly factional wars include the Ease of doing business reforms, amending of the Indigenization and Empowerment Act to incorporate clarifications made by the President early last year.
The factional wars further gained momentum further when pictures emerged of VP Mnangagwa in the company of expelled Zanu-PF former youth provincial chairpersons at a party he hosted at his rural home during the Christmas holidays.