ZANU PF Harare East legislator Terrence Mukupe (TM) has stirred controversy in the ruling party since he came into the political limelight in 2015 after winning the parliamentary seat in a hotly-contested by-election with the support of political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Soon after landing the seat, Mukupe made a volte-face and shifted his allegiance to a rival camp sympathetic to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, where he has become a fierce critic of Kasukuwere and the G40 faction.
In an interview with NewsDay (ND) reporter Obey Manayiti yesterday, Mukupe (TM) openly disclosed the fissures in Zanu PF and his undying support for Mnangagwa.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
ND: You have been very vocal against a faction in Zanu PF called G40. Does this faction exist and what’s your problem with this faction?
TM: Zanu PF has a constitution that governs how things are done. My rights as a party member are protected by the party constitution.
What is worrying is that there is clearly a clique of party members who see themselves as super Zanu PF members with more rights than others.
They will openly degrade a Vice-President appointed by His Excellency, RG Mugabe, with impunity.
They have total disregard of the party constitution and do as they please within the party and nothing ever gets done to them in line with the party constitution.
ND: You are alleged to be a member of the Team Lacoste faction angling to have VP Mnangagwa take over from President Mugabe. Is this true? Do you support Mnangagwa’s takeover?
TM: President Mugabe, according to the party constitution, clearly has a mandate to be the party candidate for the 2018 presidential elections, which, according to the Zimbabwe Constitution, will be his last.
Naturally, someone has to succeed President Mugabe and the successor has to come from the people via the 2019 congress.
If at the time of the 2019 elective congress VP Mnangagwa is a candidate, then, definitely, he will have my vote as he is more than capable to turn around the fortunes of this country.
It’s my democratic and constitutional right to have a preference of the next leader of Zanu PF just like it’s NPC (national political commissar) Kasukuwere’s democratic and birthright to harbour presidential ambitions.
ND: You openly singled out Kasukuwere as the source of problems in Zanu PF. What motivated you to attack him like this?
TM: I have so much respect for NPC Kasukuwere as he is definitely an up-to-date card-carrying member of Zanu PF. My misunderstandings with him are purely ideological and his clear lack of understanding of the mood of the masses.
I’m afraid if he does not reconnect with the grassroots, the army and especially the war veterans, he will be found on the wrong side of history, which will be a tragedy of epic proportions given his zeal for Zanu PF.
ND: You seemed to be in good books with Kasukuwere during the time you were campaigning to represent Harare East constituency. What went wrong?
TM: We are still in good books, but I’m just a principled person. My political mentor, who is an army general, told me at the start of my political career that I should never be munhu wemunhu, but to always retain my individuality and so my interactions with NPC Kasukuwere were purely a working relationship, though he hoped otherwise.
NPC Kasukuwere is a good person when you get to know him, but the problem is how Prof Jonathan Moyo supposedly manipulates him and makes him do stupid things without thinking, some of which I’ve witnessed first-hand.
He needs to humble himself and reconnect with the masses and leave name-calling and antics of aloofness to Prof Jonathan Moyo, who really is a non-entity with the grassroots.
ND: Are you satisfied with the current state of affairs in Zanu PF? Do you think the party will win next year’s elections considering that it is so divided?
TM: We do have our challenges like any other organisation, but we are still the party of choice and one can see the record numbers of people turning up at our Presidential youth interface rallies.
Given also the total chaos within the opposition parties and alliances and the lack of a credible opposition candidate, 2018 will have, as is the norm, Zanu PF winning the elections.
ND: Also, Zanu PF has made many unfulfilled promises to the electorate. Do you think people will believe any of your promises now?
TM: It’s normal to have well-meant and well-thought-out promises to the electorate. Last time I checked, the party had achieved the majority of its election promises, albeit the emergence of new economic challenges.
What gives us comfort is the fact that our economy has definitely grown from its 2013 size and the Command Agriculture programme has resonated well with our primary electorate.
ND: But where are the things that you are talking about? Let’s talk about the promised jobs.
TM: It’s not necessarily about looking at the white collar jobs, you have to look at the activities happening at the farms.
You are not looking at the activities happening at the mines and construction.
It’s possible that we have not reached the two million jobs, but if you look at the economy of Zimbabwe, even during the colonial era, the single sector that employed many people was agriculture and not white collar.
ND: Does it mean you are not concerned about white collar jobs?
TM: It’s not that we are not concerned, but if you look at Zanu PF, the majority of our voters are in rural areas. So, when you look at the people who voted us, they are happy.
We have given them inputs and irrigation facilities. The person who is in town and never votes for Zanu PF is the person you listen to and get their comments. Go to rural areas.
ND: Are you saying those in town are not important?
TM: They are important, but we have limited resources and our resources are best served with the people who vote for us. Isn’t it that human nature?
Can I waste money chasing a girl who will not love me back? Rather, I focus on the one who will love me back. On top of that, the mainstay of our economy is mining and agriculture and these are found in rural areas.
ND: Reports say VP Mnangagwa was given food laced with poison at the last interface rally. Do you think enough has been done to trace the roots of the poison? What could be the motivation to poison him?
TM: Whatever the case one chooses to believe, God has a plan with his life. What is true is that definitely, there have been attempts to eliminate him. Remember the cyanide attack that left his secretary fighting for her life and the various break-ins by professionals into his office via the roof.
People can make their own devilish plans and vilify him all they want, including the loose-tongued, but they are wasting their time and energy as at the end of the day, it’s up to God and the masses as to the final life destiny of VP Mnangagwa.
ND: Do you think there is a plot to eliminate other leaders within the party?
TM: Suspicions of poisoning each other in politics are normal. No politician ever eats food at a public gathering as a general precaution. It’s all unjustified and unproven fear.