Written by Boaventura Mandlate

Translated by Francisco Chuquela

It seems that time has come to study the succession and transfer processes in Southern Africa, following the relatively recent events in Zimbabwe and South Africa. This is a trend that occurs in the two countries of our region, although not widespread throughout Southern Africa, needs to be realized.

At first glance, the question of the succession of power isn’t peaceful. It was to be hoped that we would have had a smooth transition and succession, but we were uneasy.

Calton Cadeado, a specialist in International Relations, describes the events of party indiscipline that characterized ZANU-PF in the succession of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and the ANC in the succession of Jacob Zuma. “I am deliberately using this expression of partisan indiscipline, but other people can use the term of internal democracy in both the ANC and the ZANU-PF,” explained Calton Cadeado, stressing that the use of that expression is for a term of comparison with Frelimo, in Mozambique.

He emphasizes that party discipline in Frelimo is very rigid, which makes it very unlikely that this trend will happen in Mozambique and with Frelimo. Succession isn’t so easy in Frelimo, but there is no short- and medium-term probability of a similar indiscipline to happen in ZANU-PF and ANC, and there is a historical reason for this.

The ANC, ZANU-PF and Frelimo had a similar trajectory, but in terms of Party rigidity it wasn’t the same as it was with Frelimo. Frelimo was constituted and had crucial moments that threatened the survival of the ruling party in Mozambique. The threat of survival forced Frelimo to become a more cohesive party and to impose a very rigid discipline, built on a process in which Frelimo itself became a Party-State. ZANU-PF also had a history of party building that almost died, however, because it had tense moments that threatened the survival of Robert Mugabe’s party, and also eventually became Party-State. The same has not happened with the ANC.

Nadja Manghezi says in her book “Friendship Betrayed Friendship Recovered” writes that Frelimo showed a great discipline within the party, which didn’t happen in the other Liberation Movements, although all were in Tanzania. This is why one can see the ANC behaving in this way, as well as ZANU-PF as a party, however it is no longer possible to see a similar position within Frelimo, where strict discipline prevails. The same can be said for the Chama Cha Mapenduzi in Tanzania. Botswana is a similar example to that of Mozambique and Tanzania, from the point of view of party discipline, in the liberating parties.

The second historical data has much to do with the fight made by the parties listed here. Frelimo and ZANU-PF made a field-to-town fight, the ANC made a fight from town to town. “This way of building the fight also marked the process. One thing that struck me was that many of the ZANU-PF elements were shaped by Frelimo’s discipline on the basis of this party as they fought for independence.”

The historical events of Tete, Manica, Gaza and Maputo are well known, where there were many members of the ZANU-PF political-military elite, who were formatted under Frelimo discipline. However, today they have “finalized” the discipline they drank from Frelimo, for an action that begins with a coup d’état to end in an intra-party coup.

In Mozambique it is extremely difficult to find a similar situation. In the ANC, we find a coup within the party, but a coup d’état is almost zero. In Tanzania and Namibia, where we have SWAPO, a historical liberation party, built on war, cohesion, it is also almost unthinkable to find a similar situation to South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Future of Zuma

“The future of President Jacob Zuma wants me to feel that he will not be quiet because he has to respond to legal proceedings, with a total of 783 charges. “But it will not, in my view, be an uneasy future in witch-hunt mode. At the moment Zuma no longer constitutes an element of power that requires a lot of concerted and even diabolical effort to get him out of the power game, despite being an influential figure in South Africa and the ANC, he is no longer in the decision-making circuit , as happened with Thabo Mbeik. Although he is an influential figure, he is in the society, he is consulted, he has the prestige he has, but from the moment he left the structures of power he doesn’t have much influence, what happens to any. And in the case of Zuma, it’s not a good idea to do a witch hunt, because it would mean resentment, some dissatisfaction with the way the former South African president came out of power. In addition, if this is mobilized, there is a great risk of mobilizing another more dangerous element, ethnic identity. Zulu ethnic identity can be detrimental. This element has been dormant and in total tranquility, because many Zulu people are also dissatisfied with the governance of President Zuma, who is their identity, but if witch hunts occurs, this identity element can be mobilized that will unite around Zuma, not to defend Zuma, but to defend his ethnic identity.”

Another detail to bear in mind has to do with the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa himself makes a speech against corruption, because he wants to regan many hearts of South Africans for the next election, but there are no indications that the President Ramaphosa will go on a witch hunt, as that would mean divert the focus of his governance, which is expected to be turned to job creation. If Ramphosa doesn’t reach this goal it may be a harbinger that he may also not complete the mandate.

It must be recognized that it was almost always predictable that Zuma would not end his term from the time the scandal began and when the victimization theory wasn’t used. Zuma didn’t use this theory in the second term but has already used it in the first one.

On the other hand, it was foreseeable that Zuma would leave, because he took power in the same way, by ousting President Thabo Mbeik, and by the fact that the Party and state functioning system in which the ANC Congress took place, one year before the elections, have created or provided the conditions for this bicephaly, the two centers of power, which is difficult to coexist.

This is where again the question of succession and transition of power, which is difficult to make coexistence, both Zuma-Mbeik and Ramaphosa-Zuma. (x)

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