Former Zanu PF secretary for administration and for decades a close confidante of President Robert Mugabe, Didymus Mutasa, says the increasingly frail nonagenarian must restore democracy within the warring ruling party by ditching its archaic one-centre of power principle if he is to redeem his and the former liberation movement’s damaged image.
By Fungai Kwaramba
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa — now an elder at new kid on the political block, the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) — also rubbished claims that by telephoning Mugabe recently, this meant that he intended to go back to Zanu PF or get favours from his former boss.
Mutasa’s comments also came as a Zanu PF faction consisting of the party’s Young Turks and going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) — which is rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — is similarly proposing that the party of liberation dumps its one-centre of power principle and pave way for the election of its two deputies; in a move that is widely seen as targeting the Midlands godfather.
In addition, the G40 also wants Zanu PF to re-insert the contentious clause in its constitution which allows for a woman to take one of the party’s two VP posts, as was the case before the former liberation movement’s sham December 2014 congress when former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who occupied one of these positions, was brutally purged from the party.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa said Mugabe needed to heed the calls by the G40 and abandon the one-centre of power principle, adding that this was not only undemocratic but also “satanic”.
“I will never return to Zanu PF because I am a founder of a democratic party (ZPF). So, those who are saying that I will return should continue saying and writing their nonsense.
“If they remove their one-centre of power nonsense, then we can maybe accommodate them in our party (ZPF). After all, we are former Zanu PF stalwarts,” Mutasa said.
“But what you hear about the so-called one-centre of power was never what Zanu PF stood for. Its founding fathers are probably turning in their graves. We used to go for democratic elections in Smith’s Rhodesia but now they are no longer doing so in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. This one-centre of power wants to return us to the feudal system,” he thundered derisively further.
Mutasa, who once served as State security minister, was sacked from Zanu PF in the run up to the party’s hotly-disputed 2014 congress, together with Mujuru and other senior officials on untested allegations of plotting to topple and kill Mugabe.
The sham congress gave Mugabe unfettered powers which made him its sole appointing authority, doing away with the original system which subjected his deputies and others senior officials to elections.
Current VPs Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko were appointed by Mugabe soon after the damp squib 2014 congress.
Last week, Mashonaland Central province, a stronghold of embattled national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also said to be one of the kingpins of the G40, announced that it was pushing Zanu PF to re-introduce the divisive debate about the need for a woman to become one of Zanu PF’s two vice presidents.
The call for a woman deputy and Zanu PF’s VPs to be elected as the ruling party meets at its crucial annual conference in Masvingo next month, was made by Kasukuwere’s brother, Dickson Mafios.
“The president was elected by the people and should be the one centre of power, not the VPs. They have no mandate from the people. It is a resolution that we are standing with and a resolution that we shall take forward at the conference, and we are not talking about one VP but both of them.
“If there is a faction that wants a certain VP, then it is free to vote for him. The fact that Mujuru was expelled from the party doesn’t matter, we want a woman. The women are free to choose whoever they want. We are not campaigning for anyone. This is about implementing the policies of the party,” Mafios said.
However, Mashonaland Central has since claimed that its controversial resolutions were only meant to be implemented in 2019, and not next month, after attracting fierce criticism from Mnangagwa’s allies. Daily News