WAR veterans, youths and women in ZANU-PF are baying for the blood of former ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, who stirred a hornet’s nest when he published a damning statement in the media calling the revolutionary party’s congress held in December illegal, null and void.
The ire of the volatile ZANU-PF youth and women’s leagues and war veterans was evoked when in the statement Mutasa launched a thinly veiled attack on President Robert Mugabe and heavily criticised First Lady, Grace Mugabe along with the new party leadership that was sworn into office at the party’s congress held last month, referring to them as ‘political imposters.’
Mutasa ridiculed the congress which he disregarded as a non-event and unconstitutional and called for all disgruntled members of the ruling party to mobilise and confront the new leaders. He also declared the congress a non event and illegal, saying “all peace-loving patriotic and loyal ZANU-PF cadres to join us in refusing illegality and remain resolute in our defense of the values of the struggle. We reject and dismiss the unconstitutional appointments made at this illegal meeting,” thereby drawing fire from party organs.
In separate interviews, youths, women and war veterans come out guns blazing, calling for Mutasa’s expulsion from the party. ZANU-PF deputy secretary for youth affairs and Politburo member, Kudzanai Chipanga, said the youths were riled by Mutasa’s utterances saying they have potential to cause confusion and urged the party’s leadership to expel him.
ZANU-PF deputy secretary for youth affairs and Politburo member, Kudzanai Chipanga, said the youths were riled by Mutasa’s utterances saying they have potential to cause confusion and urged the party’s leadership to expel him. “With what he is doing, comrade Mutasa is actually chasing himself away from the party. He is widening the gap between himself and the party,” charged Chipanga.
“We are advocating for his expulsion and we will present our position to the President when he returns from holiday. He is now causing confusion in the party. He is moving around masquerading as the party’s secretary for administration when everyone knows that we now have a new person in that office who came from congress and he is comrade Ignatius Chombo,” he said.
Ironically, Chipanga was Mutasa’s ‘blue eyed boy’ in the run up to the chaotic youth conference held in August last year where he won the position before turning on his ‘political godfather.’ Tough talking spokesperson for the war veterans association, Mandi Chimene, who triumphed in last year’s Central Committee elections at Mutasa’s expense, labelled Mutasa a rebel who has no place in the revolutionary party.
“He’s only seeking to be officially declared expelled. He knows very well that rebellion is not tolerated in the party and that it attracts expulsion. So as war veterans, we are saying he should be expelled,” Chimene said.
Chimene, who is also Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland, said Mutasa was a not a ‘well cooked’ party cadre who only joined the liberation war on its penultimate stage, hence his actions. Although official comment from the ZANU-PF Women’s League could not be obtained as its spokesperson, Monica Mutsvangwa, was said to be out of the country on leave, the organ is also believed to be calling for Mutasa’s head.
“Women are very angry with Mutasa. We are calling for his expulsion from the party with immediate effect. He cannot be allowed to continue on his divisive trend. Obviously he is living in 2014 where he still thinks he is an authority in the party but unfortunately he has been overtaken by events,” said a Women’s League national executive member who declined to be named because she is not authorized to speak to the press.
In last week’s issue, the Financial Gazette reported that there was likely to be high profile expulsions in the ruling party upon President Mugabe’s return from his annual leave. Mutasa would become the third high profile victim to live the chop after the party also showed the door to former spokesman, Rugare Gumbo and former war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda.
The continued internal strife in ZANU-PF is raising fears that at a time when the ruling party should focus and concentrate its energies on the economy which continues on a precipitous decline, the tension. Instead of subsiding is being worked into yet another crescendo with healing between the parties nowhere in sight.
“We would prefer a situation where there is healing, but the conflict continues. We had thought that the conflict was dying down, but it is accelerating again,” said Rashid Mahiya, executive director the Heal Zimbabwe Trust. “From our expert understanding of conflict, it has to reach a climax before it subsides and when that does happen a lot of Zimbabweans could be affected.”
Mahiya, whose non-governmental organisation has in recent months been pushing frantically for the establishment of the national peace and reconciliation commission, said his organization feared that violence could erupt. “If internal resolution mechanism fails, chances of civil strife are higher and from experience we have seen that when conflict arises whether with external parties or internally, ZANU-PF resorts to violence. Violence is their modus operandi,” Mahiya said.
Even before Mutasa’s “offensive” statement Tuesday, the coast, since the congress last December and the subsequent firings of the former vice president Mujuru and some ministers, had not registered any inclination towards reconciliation and healing. As things stand, the police who have been investigating Mujuru for any criminality in the corruption allegations levelled against her, have been reported to be waiting for the President to give the go ahead on calling her for questioning, given her position as former vice president.
As if that is not enough, in the party’s structures in the provinces and districts across the country, calls have continued for those suspected to have links to the disgraced vice president to be ousted. In other circumstances, disgraced government officials, including former minister Nhema and others, who have made appearances at the new Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s events have been rebuffed and turned away, in developments that have continued to show that healing is not on the cards for ZANU-PF. At least not in the short term.
Publisher and academic, Ibbo Mandaza was quoted in the media earlier in the week saying there would be continued pressure on President Mugabe to be vindictive. “(President) Mugabe will be under pressure from the victorious faction to become more vindictive and crush the Mujuru faction completely. But doing so would also mean widening divisions in the party,” Mandaza said. “He will need to reach out to his wounded former lieutenants…” – Maggie Mzumara and Andrew Kunambura – (Financial Gazette)