ZANU PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says in terms of seniority based on age, he is second to President Robert Mugabe and cannot retire because he still has a job to do.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Ndlovu told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was a “small boy” when he joined the liberation struggle.
“I cannot retire because I still have a job to do. I am 78 years old now,” he said.
“In the politburo, Mugabe is 91, the next person is me at 78. I am telling you the truth.
“Others are young breeds and you can count them from Mnangagwa who admits he was a small boy when we sent him to Cairo for training.
“I feel very pained because my close colleagues — Nkomo (Joshua), Msika (Joseph) and John (Nkomo), are gone together with several others we were in detention with.”
Mnangagwa who is being tipped in some Zanu PF circles to succeed Mugabe is 68.
Last week, Ndlovu penned an article in the State media attacking Zanu PF leaders who are already talking about Mugabe’s potential successor saying this was taboo when a leader is still alive.
He also defended Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s assertion in a BBC interview that Mnangagwa was not guaranteed to succeed Mugabe. Moyo said Mnangagwa was appointed to assist Mugabe not to succeed him.
The statements reportedly angered a faction backing the Midlands strongman to take over from Mugabe.
In the article, Ndlovu argued that former PF Zapu members should be given equal opportunities in Zanu PF as spelt out in the Unity Accord. Meanwhile, Ndlovu bemoaned the belittling of Zipra’s role in the armed struggle by local historians.
He said in the 1980s a group of teachers, including whites, refused to use a history textbook which “was favouring one political party as if Zipra did not fight”.
Ndlovu said: “The person who wrote that book was conniving with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in producing the book to make money and 100 000 copies were printed, how much money do you make from that?”
The former Education minister said at that time he established Zdeco (Zimbabwe Distance Education College) Publishing House. He said another manuscript came from the ministry seeking approval for publication and he advised them that he could not accept it because of its bias. He suggested it be rewritten.
Ndlovu added that some of the ministry’s ghost readers backed him.
“At one time I told the politburo that we should have books giving a balanced history about Zipra and Zanla’s contributions to the liberation war,” he said.
“That is on record . . . You cannot wish away Zipra and (Joshua) Nkomo’s contributions.”
The government has been accusing of approving history textbooks that seek to portray Zanla as the only credible liberation movement while underplaying the role of Zipra.
Former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa led former PF Zapu members who pulled out of Zanu PF protesting against alleged ill-treatment by the post Unity Accord Zanu PF.