MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said Zanu PF was in the middle of a political storm with President Robert Mugabe’s imminent exit now unavoidable as the ruling party had been hijacked by “nonentities and opportunists”.
Addressing journalists at the MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare, Tsvangirai said Zanu PF was facing a leadership crisis because of Mugabe’s “impending end”.
He said Mugabe’s exit would create a political vacuum to be capitalised on by buccaneers and nonentities, but sadly it was ordinary people who would suffer the most.
“When the big man’s exit is unavoidable, what happens is that nonentities and opportunists take advantage because there is a political vacuum,” Tsvangirai said.
“What is happening in Zimbabwe is not different from what happened during Mao (Mao Zedong, the late Chinese Communist leader)’s end days. Mao’s wife tried to take over leadership because Mao was dying and, unfortunately, she did not succeed.
The same happened in Malawi when (Kamuzu) Banda was dying, John Tembo and (Cecilia Tamanda) Kadzamira (Banda’s female partner) wanted to take over power, but it failed.”
Tsvangirai added: “Can’t you see that history is repeating itself in Zimbabwe? Unfortunately, it is the people who are facing the crisis. I don’t know how this lack of leadership that we are facing can solve our problems. How can the fight of two women help bring food on our tables or stop the closing of companies? Please give us a break! Get away from the circus.”
Zanu PF is currently locked in bitter faction fights as the race to succeed Mugabe, who turns 91 next February, sours.
Beleaguered Vice-President Joice Mujuru is reportedly leading a faction tussling for control of the party with another led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
First Lady Grace Mugabe, fighting in Mnangagwa’s corner, last month launched brutal attacks on Mujuru, accusing her of corruption and plotting to topple her husband Mugabe.
Several Mujuru allies have since been axed from Zanu PF as the party edges towards its December elective congress to be held in two weeks’ time.
Tsvangirai said his party was concerned that ordinary people and the economy were bearing the brunt of the infighting in Zanu PF.
The MDC-T leader lashed out at South Africa for taking 12 years to release the 2002 election report on Zimbabwe produced by two South African High Court judges tasked by ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The report, finally released this week, 12 years later after a legal battle between South African newspaper Mail&Guardian and the South African government, confirmed that the 2002 polls were flawed.
Tsvangirai challenged the elections in the Zimbabwean courts, but the matter has not yet been heard up to this day.
The MDC-T leader said the same serious defects and failings highlighted by the South African judicial report that characterised the 2002 polls also marred the 2008 and 2013 polls where Mugabe was controversially declared winner.
He said the report vindicated his party’s position about elections in Zimbabwe and castigated South Africa for trying to sweep that under the carpet.
Tsvangirai said he wondered why South Africa was working with the Mugabe regime that had “reduced elections to nothing more than deadly military operations” against civilians and the opposition.
“Once again, we are outraged by the role of some Sadc countries in subverting democratic processes of another sovereign State,” Tsvangirai said.
“When the genocide in Rwanda was taking place, the majority of African leaders remained silent about it. Likewise, when violence flared up in Zimbabwe with innocent civilians being butchered in broad daylight, Sadc countries turned a blind eye. Sadc’s failure to censure, denounce and punish Mugabe’s actions continues to represent a travesty of democracy.”
He said Zimbabwe’s problems could have been solved a long time ago had the report been made available on time.
“It would seem that Mugabe’s treachery should be a cause of instant outrage within Sadc itself, potentially stripping Mugabe of the chairmanship, but again, the report clearly shows that this man does not operate in isolation of others in the region.”