PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has flushed his rich political legacy down the cesspit by aligning himself with “a cabal of selfish self-centred crooks” hell-bent on elbowing out Zanu PF’s founding members and presenting themselves as bona fide party members, former politburo member Cephas Msipa has lamented.
by XOLISANI NCUBE/ jairos saunyama
The former Midlands provincial governor and stalwart of the liberation struggle, who quit active politics in 2014, told NewsDay yesterday that the current wave of infighting in Zanu PF was being propagated by “people with no history of the armed struggle”.
The development came after Zanu PF Women’s League secretary First Lady Grace Mugabe and party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere effectively accused Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting a coup against President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa has not responded to the allegations, first raised against him last Wednesday by Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka, who also warned the VP risked “dying” if he does not keep his presidential ambitions in check by reining in party officials abusing his name and campaigning for him to succeed Mugabe.
“What the people surrounding the President have done is to destroy his legacy . . . my heart bleeds when I look at what is happening now. The most unfortunate part in this is that I can’t help looking at my age and I don’t even think the President himself would listen to me,” Msipa said, his voice choking with anger.
“I have no relations with the people who have power today and I can’t even talk to them because we don’t share a similar ideology. They have no history of the liberation struggle and what they are doing is really worrisome.
“It’s a very painful and disturbing moment for people like me who sacrificed a lot for this country. We have been made spectators to this drama unfolding while the country is burning. People are dying of hunger, but leaders are busy fighting for power, and protecting their selfish interests. It’s very painful.”
The latest wave of Zanu PF internal fights climaxed on Friday when Grace dressed down Mnangagwa and top security chiefs, accusing them of plotting to oust her husband, who turns 92 on Sunday.
This was followed by Kasukuwere’s reported purging of three provincial chairpersons believed to be Mnangagwa’s allies — party Midlands provincial chair Kizito Chivamba, Masvingo’s Ezra Chadzamira and Mashonaland East’s Joel Biggie Matiza on Saturday for alleged indiscipline.
Kasukuwere and Grace were believed to be members of an ambitious Generation-40 (G40) group fighting to block Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed Mugabe.
Msipa added: “For a person like me, who went to war and suffered immensely for this country, what is happening now is traumatising. I know that most of the people who went to war like me are disappointed with the way Zanu PF is handling itself. We are disappointed and asking ourselves real questions. Is this what we fought for? Is this what thousands of our colleagues died for in the liberation struggle? What is really happening and why are we allowing the party to take this trajectory? I think it is time as a country we ask ourselves real questions . . . for how long shall we watch this drama unfold yet our future is neglected?”
Msipa also said: “I have not been sleeping well over the past two days, reflecting on what is happening in the party. I really feel something should happen now, or else we are going to take this country to the dustbin.
“I tried to talk to President Mugabe over this issue in 2014, but he said he was going to deal with it. But it seems he is not attending to it and I don’t think he is interested in discussing this matter with me. This is one of the matters we need to seriously deal with once and for all and start to focus on development.
The most painful part is that we have leaders who are wasting all their time fighting for power when people are dying of hunger. They want to act when their relatives start to die. It’s very painful.”
Government officials and donor agencies have put the number of food-insecure people at three million, while over 16 000 cattle have reportedly succumbed to drought.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza also accused Mugabe of causing the current political crisis by failing to properly manage his succession plans.
“This is a sad reality. There is no legacy to talk about. Mugabe has really failed to deal with the succession issue and it could degenerate into anything, unless something happens,” Mandaza said.
“Mugabe has mishandled the succession issue and really it will haunt Zanu PF. I hope the fights will not degenerate into any civil war. We are now waiting to see how the other group will respond following the events of last week and that will guide what happens in the near future.”
Another political analyst Alexander Rusero said the developments in Zanu PF showed that Mugabe wanted to die with his party.
“It’s unfortunate that Mugabe has decided to watch the disintegration of a party he built and won elections that got him into office in 1980. It is his Zanu PF that brought Independence and he wants to leave it in tatters. There will be no Zanu PF to talk about post-Mugabe, but splinter groups of ex-Zanu PF members.
There is no legacy to talk about because all he is doing is to kill and destroy what he built,” he said.
Kasukuwere declined to comment on Msipa’s remarks, referring all questions to party spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo, who was reportedly out of the country until today.
“Talk to the secretary for information,” was all Kasukuwere could say.
Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti warned that the current fights within Zanu PF could trigger civil unrest.
“I smell blood in this country. I smell war. I smell disaster. I am not a prophet, but I see dark clouds, I see a hurricane, a tsunami. If one plants a whirlwind, he will reap a tsunami. This country will go the Rwanda way,” Biti told PDP members at a campaign rally at Sadza Growth Point in Chivhu over the weekend.
He added: “All that caused the 1994 Rwanda genocide is already being experienced in the country. There is leadership crisis, economic crisis and breakdown of the social contract. This all happened in Rwanda and the spark was ignited when a plane with the country’s President and his counterpart fell down. In Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe will ignite the spark and I tell you in two weeks’ time, something will happen.”
Biti also said: “In Germany, there was a mad man by the name (Adolf) Hitler. He bulldozed his way to the top while people were relaxed. Grace is like Hitler, she will go all the way to the State house, and she must be stopped. The First Lady has crossed the path of war veterans, the paths of the securocrats.”