HomeLocal News‘Zanu PF finished without Mugabe’ Nkala

‘Zanu PF finished without Mugabe’ Nkala


DESPITE his love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe, one of Zanu PF’s founding fathers Enos Nkala believes the party cannot survive beyond the aged leader.

Nduduzo Tshuma

In a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday punctuated by bursts of laughter from the former minister, Nkala tactfully ducked questions, with the trade mark, “I have not exercised my mind on that.”

Never one to shy away from controversy, the former Defence minister waded into the Zanu PF succession politics, saying he believes Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is a better leader than Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.

“Zanu PF is already fragmented, I am not sure if it will survive if Mugabe leaves, these factions will grow beyond what our present politics may take,” he said.

“Zanu PF is an old party, it has made many mistakes during the time it has been in power, and maybe that is what may cause its defeat in the next elections.”

Nkala, recently discharged from hospital over heart and kidney complications, walks with the aid of a gold-coated stick and complains that age has taken the strength from his knees, but the light in his eyes does not reflect that the body is ailing.
His eyes light up each time he speaks of Zanu PF, a party he helped form.

Commenting on revelations by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott that Mugabe wanted to leave politics, Nkala said Zanu PF would collapse without the veteran ruler.
“If he does not stand in the elections, Zanu PF will lose to MDC-T,” he says. “You know Mugabe is a good speaker and commands a lot of respect, if he leaves and someone takes over I do not know who that is, maybe Joice Mujuru, she may not be able to command the respect that Mugabe enjoys.”

However, Nkala said Mnangagwa was a better-suited leader and would lead Zanu PF better in a post-Mugabe era.

“I think Mnangagwa,” he said. “Well he knew what he was doing, he had a programme for his own leadership and I think if he were given the opportunity to put that programme into operation, he would have done very well.”

Pressed if Mnangagwa has always had ambitions to lead Zanu PF, Nkala said: “like anybody else, people have ambitions, they maybe hidden, but they have ambitions.
“If you dig into them you will find that they have ambitions, they maybe loose or solid ambitions.

“Mugabe has done very well and has been in this game for a long time, his strengths overcome his weaknesses.”

Nkala does not believe that grooming a Mugabe successor would have helped avoid divisions in the party.

“Do you groom or someone grooms and projects themselves and become acceptable?” he said. “I am not so sure that you can groom somebody, it is what that individual is made of.”

The Zanu PF founder ominously said army generals wielded immense influence on the country’s politics and he was not certain what would happen if Mugabe lose elections.
“I am not sure what would happen if Mugabe left because the generals have a lot of influence and some of them date back to the days of the liberation struggle,” he said.

Nkala shares memories of the late Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena coming to invite him for Mugabe’s wedding with First Lady Grace.
Mugabe and Nkala were not on speaking terms then and the President reportedly sent Mabhena as an emissary.

“I’m not sure whether really we were not on talking terms or we had grown apart,” the former minister said with a burst of laughter.

Nkala believes that Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa would have been an automatic successor for the late Vice-President John Nkomo had he not left Zanu PF.

Blamed in many circles for his involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres that reportedly killed 20 000 people, Nkala believes Dabengwa, charged at the time with treason alongside Lookout Masuku, would have even risen to the presidency of the party and country.

“I would have thought of Dabengwa himself, but it is hard now since he left Zanu PF,” he said. “I do not know whether Naison Khutshwekhaya (Ndlovu) or Obert Mpofu would make it.

“I have not been exercising my mind on those things. It is hard to see anyone beyond Dabengwa.”

Nkala said he was not sure whether Simon Khaya Moyo, considered by many as the front runner, qualified for the position.

“But if he rises, he would be acceptable, each person has qualities that make for leadership, he cannot just be devoid of those qualities,” he said.

Nkala defended the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, saying the nationalist, “rescued Matabeleland from violence, remember there were flashes of violence so when he went into unity, peace was established, I think he should be applauded for that”.

Commenting on Callistus Ndlovu’s appointment to chair the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial structures, Nkala said he had the ability to turn the party’s fortunes.
On a lighter note, Nkala says he cannot wait to lay his hands on the first edition of the Southern Eye.

Southern Eye, published by AMH, will be launched on Monday, being the fourth paper in the stable after NewsDay, The Standard  and the Zimbabwe Independent.

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