HARARE – As president Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF continue to feel the heat from angry protesters who want the rot devouring the country arrested, former senior Cabinet minister and ruling party stalwart, Didymus Mutasa, says mounting public agitation for change could force the nonagenarian out of power before the 2018 national elections.
Mutasa, 81, served as State Security and later Presidential Affairs minister before he was sacked in December 2014 for allegedly supporting a failed bid by former Vice President Joice Mujuru to topple Mugabe from power.
Speaking in Harare yesterday, Mutasa said there was no doubt that Mugabe was “susceptible to pressure”, and could be forced out of power through public pressure.
His assessment of recent events in the country came as church organisations also warned that the current wave of protests by fed up Zimbabweans could mark the beginning of bigger protests.
“It is important for us as African people, as people of Zimbabwe particularly, to start to walk away from Egypt to Canaan.
“I would say there is need for an overhaul of all the processes in Zimbabwe. There is need for change in Zimbabwe,” Mutasa told journalists at a National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) policy dialogue conference on electoral reforms.
“I do not think that Zanu PF still has life for much longer. Zanu PF is the president and I am sure he will succumb to that pressure (protests) … from what his wife is indicating I do not see Zanu PF as our future government. No,” he added.
Mutasa previously claimed that Mugabe was ready to relinquish power in 2008 when he lost that year’s ballot hands down to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but was pressured to stay by Zanu PF hardliners.
Once very close to Mugabe, Mutasa is now a senior figure in Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First party which is fighting to dethrone Zanu PF from power.
“We need that very important initiative that youths have started. They must do it peacefully. As you know our party slogan is let’s take Zimbabwe from Zanu PF peacefully.
“I am very pleased with what is being done by Evan Mawarire and his supporters … what they did has made the government to panic …,” Mutasa said.
Mawarire, leader of #ThisFlag campaign was arrested and detained earlier this week for allegedly inciting public violence. The State attempted to alter the charges to more serious ones when he later appeared in court, a development that could have seen him facing a possible 20-year prison term had he been convicted.
However, the court threw out the charges and allowed Mawarire to walk away a free man on Wednesday evening, at a packed Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
Mawarire and other social groups, including #Takamuka/Sesjikile, have been playing a leading role in recent protest actions which the government says are allegedly sponsored by Zimbabwe’s external political enemies.
Mutasa also said yesterday that a grand coalition would increase the chances of the opposition beating Mugabe.
“We need to work together. We need to be united as Zimbabweans so that we will achieve our objectives. Our objective is to take away from us the yoke of poverty and slavery.
“We have agreed to work with what I refer to as a coalition of political parties. We had a government of national unity in previous years but it did not achieve very much,” he said.-Daily News