It’s not over, says Mutasa

HARARE – Former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa says he and others who were recently ousted from the party for allegedly plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe from power and assassinate the nonagenarian will not be forced out of the party.

At the same time, Zimbabwe could soon find itself back on Sadc’s political agenda after Mutasa wrote a hard-hitting letter to regional leaders on Tuesday, imploring them to intervene in the country’s deepening political crisis spawned by the ruling party’s brutal and sometimes violent infighting.

Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday from India, where his wife is receiving medical attention, a miffed Mutasa also rubbished State media reports that he and other former party bigwigs perceived to be close to dismissed former Vice President Joice Mujuru were working with the MDC and “regime change” organisations funded by the West, ostensibly to remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from power illegally.

State media also alleged that Mutasa had approached Matthews Phosa, the former treasurer-general (who was erroneously referred to as former secretary-general) of the ANC to host him at his farm in South Africa.

The Herald said Mutasa was reported to have used his contacts in MDC to try and get the issue of his failure to land a central committee seat and dismissal from government tabled at a meeting of the Socialist International Council, which met at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from December 12 to 13.

The Socialist International Council comprises social democratic, socialist and labour parties, and brings together 168 political parties and organisations from around the world.

“Cde Mutasa, who is in India where his wife is receiving treatment, is reported to have begun calling secretaries-general of sister liberation movements in southern Africa to make the same claims he had made to South African president Cde Jacob Zuma, whom he lobbied, saying Dr Mujuru, several ministers and him had been unjustly ejected from Zanu PF and Government.

“Cde Mutasa, who has traditionally represented Zanu PF at meetings of sister liberation movements, appeared keen on exploiting the synergies he built on official party business,” it added.

The paper claimed further that Mutasa had asked Phosa to house him at his farm in South Africa on his return from India, where his wife is receiving medical attention, “as a prelude to seeking asylum, a request which Mr Phosa is said to have acceded to”.

But the former Presidential Affairs minister vehemently refuted the claims.

“How can we rope in MDC as if Zanu PF is no more. What we are doing is to correct what is wrong in the party, the mistakes that have been done by very few and new people in the party.

“Nobody can push us out of the party that we formed … in my case, I have been in the struggle since around 1957 during the days of the Southern Rhodesia ANC (SRANC), moving from one party to the other after they were banned.

“The fact that they (his Zanu PF opponents) are now fighting amongst themselves should tell you that we surely will bring the party back on track and our president will always be VaMugabe and we are engaging him through Sadc as he is the chairman.

“It’s a pity that now we can only talk to you, the independent media because you tell it like it is unlike our own media. I have never heard them say the truth.

“What they are claiming is not true and the people they allege I talked to have written to them to register their displeasure and I hope they will publish that,” a fuming Mutasa said.

In his blunt letter to Sadc on Tuesday — which was ironically addressed to Mugabe and copied to all regional heads of state — Mutasa described the political environment pertaining in the country as “critical” and said pointedly that Zanu PF’s damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare earlier this month was “a farce.”

The letter shows that far from ending Zanu PF’s ugly factional and succession wars, as party leaders had hoped, the congress may have in fact once again internationalised Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

Until his ouster, Mutasa was regarded both as a close aide of Mugabe and also a key advisor to Mujuru who was until recently touted as the most likely successor to the country’s long-ruling nonagenarian.

“We write to you at a critical time for the Republic of Zimbabwe.

“After a number of weeks of what might be regarded as ‘political squabbling’ in the Republic of Zimbabwe, events have taken a much more severe turn. We refuse to simply stand by and watch as constitutional democracy and due process are tossed aside for political expediency.

“Even the most impartial observer could not fail to regard the recent Congress of the governing party, Zanu PF, as a farce.

“In the days leading up to the congress, significant changes to the electoral process of the party leadership were introduced, with limited consultation.

“These changes were part of a wider campaign to discredit and then force out a number of good men and women, comrades who have served their country and party with loyalty, under the distinguished leadership of His Excellency, President R.G Mugabe.

“To suggest that (former) Vice President (Joice) Mujuru, ministers serving in the government and other party members are somehow plotting to oust our President from office, as has been relentlessly and recklessly reported and repeated in recent weeks, is ridiculous.

“Further, it is offensive to insinuate that those who put their lives and families at risk to fight for a free and fair Zimbabwe would now somehow put themselves before their country. Such actions are outrageous to those of us represented by this letter.

“Unfortunately, recent weeks have demonstrated that the same cannot be said of others in Zanu PF. They are the ones putting their own careers ahead of democracy, due process and the stability of the country, destroying as it were, the party from within.

“As the governing party of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has a responsibility to hold itself to the highest standards of transparency and integrity. The decisions the party takes ultimately have implications for millions of Zimbabweans.

“Therefore we would like to stress to the Sadc Community that those for whom this letter speaks denounce the flagrant abuse of party procedure and the subversion of due process as a means of exercising personal political ambition and score-settling.

“Given its constitutional implications, we are appealing to the Sadc Community to provide oversight in this on-going dispute. It despairs us to say that we have completely lost confidence in our party, government and legislature to deliver proper justice,” Mutasa’s letter said.

Specifically, Mutasa added in his letter, he and other ousted officials wanted Sadc to be aware of their position on a number of matters.

“We refuse to be expelled from Zanu PF. We have sacrificed too much over five decades, to be forced out on the basis of completely fabricated allegations.

“We demand the restoration of the principle of “one man, one vote” to the constitution of Zanu PF. The recent amendments adopted at the 6th congress surrender all votes to the President. It is a violation of the supreme law of the Republic of Zimbabwe and therefore invalidates all binding decisions taken at the 6th congress.

“By implication, we demand that the Party immediately re-establish the exact constitutional, operational and procedural principles extant before the 6th congress.

“We require impartial oversight by the (Sadc) Community, or another appropriate body, to ensure the peaceful resolution of this matter.

“Most importantly, we would like the Community and others to be aware that we do not endorse violence or intimidation of any sort in the name of our cause to restore constitutional order to Zimbabwe. We fought in the liberation struggle so we would never have to fight again,” Mutasa’s letter added.

Although efforts to solicit comment from new Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were unsuccessful yesterday, it is anticipated that the letter will exacerbate the party’s brutal infighting.

Before this letter to Sadc, it had been reported that Mutasa had attempted to engage Zuma to intervene once again in Zimbabwe’s deepening political crisis.

In an interview at the weekend with South African media, Mutasa called on Zuma to alert other regional governments about Zanu PF’s controversial congress, again pointedly stating that his ouster from power and that of other officials such as Mujuru had been both “unprocedural and undemocratic”.

Mujuru, Mutasa and other senior officials were removed from their party positions and subsequently sacked from government after they were accused of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe, among a litany of other damaging but untested allegations. -Daily News

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