“Factionalism! What Factionalism, it’s just different opinions,” Ziyambi: as he claims Tsvangirai wants to join Zanu PF. In just a little over a year, Zimbabwe will be holding elections which are crucial as they could usher in new leadership both from within the government and within the ruling party Zanu PF.
Of late, the Zanu PF ship seems to have been rocked by intense in-house fighting and factionalism as senior party officials are allegedly positioning themselves to succeed President Robert Mugabe both before (in the event that he doesn’t make it to the plebiscites) and after the elections.
Although factional fights have become too clear for all to see, with the two protagonists, the G40 and Lacoste camps recently painting the picture that all is not well in the party.
However, former Member of Parliament for (formerly) Kadoma West Constituency, Zacharia Ziyambi is of the view that there is no factionalism in the party but just divergent views.
Our reporter Lovejoy Mutongwiza (LM) recently caught up with the aspiring Senator, Zacharia Ziyambi (ZZ). Below are excerpts of the interview.
LM: Cde Zacharia, you have been around for a long time but please introduce yourself!
ZZ: My name is Zacharia Ziyambi, former MP for Kadoma West Constituency where I served for three consecutive terms. I then served the constituency when it was called Sanyati. It was then broken down into two and I served under the Chakari Constituency. I’m also a member of the Zanu PF central Committee.
LM: Recently you announced that you want to come back into the political arena as a senator after a hiatus, why do you want to come back?
ZZ: I’m a politician and serve at the request of the people. The people in my area want me to serve them from the senate hence i took that decision.
All the district chairpersons have been coming to me and persuading me to contest next year for the parliament.
LM: You are coming to represent Zanu PF, a party that is believed to be engrained with factional fights, a lot of squabbles, what’s your view on that issue?
ZZ: What factions are you talking about? I’m hearing them for the first time from you. There is no such thing as factions in Zanu PF. We just people with few different, divergent views and the media has blown that out of proportion.
People are mistaking different opinions for factionalism. This happens in every institution where people clash on various things and Zanu PF is no exception.
If there were factions then we would know the ring leaders but as it stands no one has come out in the open to declare that they lead a faction.
Mugabe does not lose sleep over that. The only faction that we can talk about is during the Joice Mujuru era. She is the one who wanted to create disharmony during her tenure other than that there is no factionalism.
LM: But we cannot ignore the alleged factions that are in Zanu PF and we both know the alleged leaders, so what are you saying Cde?
ZZ: we have proper structures in the party which do not allow such things to happen. What people need to know is the party is so big that it attracts a lot of opinions, and the mere that someone has presented his or her opinion and someone disagrees does not make it a faction.
Those people whom you think are embroiled in factionalism are actually discussing issues of national interest and it’s unfortunate that it is interpreted in an otherwise manner.
In fact, those are just a few of opinions which are brought to public attention. If we had more people who openly have such discussions, would we then say we have so many factions? Would the party be as strong as it is right?
LM: These so called factional fights, are they not an impediment going into the 2018 elections?
ZZ: like I indicated earlier, we do not have factions and these discussions and various opinions will make it easier for us to trounce the opposition.
I can assure you; even the opposition is envious of us. People like Morgan Tsvangirai are watching from the sidelines and they would really want to be part of such open discussions and they would want to join Zanu PF
LM: Why do you claim that Morgan Tsvangirai wants to join Zanu PF?
It is evident by his behaviour since 2013. He donated his 23 seats to ZANU PF and that has made the ruling party to have the majority in the House of Assembly.
Were it not that his backers will abandon him, Tsvangirai would have joined Zanu PF a long time ago. He is a secret admirer of Zanu PF.
What he is only failing to do is just come and in the open and declare that (President) Mugabe is a good leader. Those close to him will tell you he likes Zanu PF.
LM: Let’s talk about the Senate; you want to contest as a senator in 2018, what is the role of a senator?
ZZ: As it is, its a legislative authority. It looks into what the parliament has passed. The senate looks into whether what the parliament passes is correct, is it in line with the constitution. Are the resolutions from the parliament in line with the economic policies? If then that where the senate comes in to remind the parliament on the need to do the right thing.
So basically it is a watchdog of the Parliament.
LM: What’s your take on youth participation in government? Should they be given more positions?
ZZ: They are critical in all aspects. In Zanu PF we have a vibrant youth wing that has a representation in the politburo.
However, we should not overlook the seniority aspect of it. We want the youths yes but they need to earn their stripes. They need to rise through the ranks and prove their mettle.
If you look at this older generation in politics, you will realise they did not wake up where they are. They were once youths and through hard work they are holding top positions.
Consequently, our youths should wake hard and not clamour for positions. They need to mature and prove that they can handle the pressure but they are needed so that they learn a thing or two.
LM: what are the chances of ZanuPF winning the 2018 elections?
ZZ: One thing that has remained since independence is that Zanu PF has been dominating the elections and I don’t see that winning mentality ending soon.
We have the numbers; the people are what make ZanuPF to be the strong part that it is. We only need to strategically plan and we will be home and dry.
So expect a huge victory for Zanu PF in 2018. I predict it will be even better than in 1980.
LM: thank you Cde Ziyambi for your time, I wish you well in your campaign and during the elections.
ZZ: You are welcome young man, I look forward to having this conversation after my victory in 2018.(laughs)