Bhora Musango, a Shona language phrase which literally means "to deliberately kick the ball off the pitch, instead of scoring it", was a clandestine campaign by some Zanu-PF leaders in the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections against voting for the party's presidential candidate leader Robert Mugabe.
As part of the campaign, party members would pretend to be in support of the party's presidential candidate during the official campaign trail, but would instead, not vote for him at the ballots. Bhora Musango was used as a counter to the party's official Bhora Mugedhi ("kick the ball into the nets") campaign.
The campaign was allegedly masterminded and led by the then Vice President of the party and country, Joice Mujuru. As part of the campaign, Zanu-PF National Assembly and Councillor candidates called for the party's supporters to not vote for Robert Mugabe for the presidency while still supporting MPs and Councillor candidates. The campaign is credited for successfully resulting the defeat of Robert Mugabe to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 2008 presidential elections.
Mugabe was, however, able to recover the loss by "winning" a second round of elections that Tsvangirai boycotted because of the violence Zanu-PF was targetted on MDC party members resulting in the death of several hundred party members.
Mugabe acknowledged the Bhora Musango campaign had caused disunity in the party and warned his party members against such acts in the future. He was quoted saying, "Kwedu takamboita bhora rainzi rovera bhora musango rekuti mumwe atadza kusarudzwa asi anoenda achiti ini ndinavo vangu vanondisupporter havambofa vakakuvhotera iwewe. Ibhora rerudzwai, ghedi racho riripi? (In our party, we once had people undermining each other because they claimed to have more support than other party cadres)"
The Bhora Musango campaign was cited by the party as one of the reasons Mujuru was expelled from Zanu-PF on 2 April 2015.
2018 Bhora Musango
In the run-up to the 2018 Harmonised elections, another Bhora Musango campaign against new party leader Emmerson Mnangagwa was reported to be gathering momentum in Zanu-PF. A chaotic primary election riddled with irregularities and candidate imposition was cited as part of the cause for the campaign, with losing candidates mooting a new Bhora Musango. To tackle the problem, Zanu-PF organised a two-day Zanu PF reconciliation and healing workshop from 29 to 30 May 2018.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said at the workshop:
The programme, whose thrust is to preach the gospel of unity and reconciliation to the winning and losing candidates, was spearheaded against the backdrop of the need to tackle the bhora musango mantra particularly from the losing candidates.
At the workshop, Zanu-PF president, Emmerson Mnangagwa said that he knew that some prospective Zanu-PF MPs were planning to impeach him once they are elected into parliament.
Another cause cited was that some members of Zanu-PF sympathetic to the unceremoniously ousted former leader, Robert Mugabe, were plotting to frustrate Mnangagwa's bid for election.
- Everson Mushava [Mugabe’s ‘bhora musango’ election nightmare], Daily News, Published:2 January 2012, Retrieved:3 April 2015,
- Chiwenga’s ‘bhora musango’ headache, NewsDay, Published: 30 May 2018, Retrieved: 30 May 2018
- Lovejoy Mutongwiza, I Am Aware Of Plans To Impeach Me: Mnangagwa, 263Chat, Published:30 May 2018, Retrieved: 30 May 2018