There is a plot to oust President Robert Mugabe from the helm of the party during the forthcoming annual conference in Bulawayo, a senior Zanu PF official has confirmed.
Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF politburo secretary for administration, told NewsDay in an interview yesterday the party was aware of the individuals clamouring for President Mugabe’s ouster, but declared the conference would not give anyone any opportunity to do such a thing.
President Mugabe was aware of the plot to unseat him, but Mutasa said the party leader was not bothered because that was unlikely to happen because of his grip on power.
“We know them (plotters) because you write about them,” Mutasa said. “How could we not be aware of that when it is being written left right and centre? We are not paying attention because it’s rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. We have better things to do than attend to that rubbish.”
Mutasa spoke amid reports of growing evidence some in the Zanu PF top echelons were plotting to block President Mugabe’s imminent endorsement as the party’s presidential candidate in elections likely to be held next year.
The reports said President Mugabe had been alerted to the internal plot to force him to step down at the December conference, but was unfazed.
Mutasa was adamant the plot would be squashed ahead of the conference.
He said the Zanu PF chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, who would be in control of proceedings during the conference, would not allow discussions to deviate from its prepared agenda.
“The agenda is done before the meeting and at the present moment we are actually looking at the agenda and the programme,” Mutasa said.
“There is nothing like that (ouster),” he said. “That is rubbish. There will be no such opportunity.”
“We have been with President Mugabe right from the founding of Zanu PF and who could be so stupid to desire to remove him from the party he founded?”
Reports suggested some senior Zanu PF officials were of the opinion President Mugabe was no longer able to stand the rigours of a tough election given his advanced age and reported failing health.
President Mugabe has been to the Far East on several occasions this year reportedly to seek medication.
The alleged plot against President Mugabe comes a few months after leaked United States diplomatic cables exposed several top Zanu PF stalwarts and government officials telling US diplomats of their desire to have President Mugabe leave office and active politics.
Reports suggested some top Zanu PF officials were worried about President Mugabe’s health, and also that of Vice-President John Nkomo, who sources said was also unwell.
President Mugabe’s political nemesis, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has joined in the fray urging the 87-year-old strongman to rest.
“The question of age is catching up, the question of health is catching up,” Tsvangirai said recently.
“I am sure that advisably he would be in a position for the sake of the country, for the sake of his legacy, for the sake of his children, to consider stepping down.”