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Mugabe outburst stuns Zanu PF


SENIOR Zanu PF leaders in Bulawayo seem to have been taken aback by President Robert Mugabe’s pronouncements at the weekend that they had failed the province and should make way for fresh blood within party structures.


Addressing thousands of people at his 90th birthday celebrations at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera on Sunday, Mugabe called on Zanu PF leaders in Bulawayo and Harare to give up their positions.

Bulawayo and Harare have been under the MDC-T since 2000. Although Zanu PF holds a few National Assembly and council seats in Harare, the party has never won a single seat in Bulawayo since 2000.

“Let the leaders of these two cities, Harare and Bulawayo, open up . . . you cannot say Harare is for Zezurus only while Bulawayo is for Ndebeles only. There are a lot of tribes in these cities,” Mugabe said.

“The leaders who failed should give others a chance . . . you have failed.”

Zanu PF politiburo members from Bulawayo yesterday elected to remain mum on Mugabe’s sentiments.

“I do not have a comment at the moment,” Joshua Malinga said when contacted by Southern Eye to respond to Mugabe’s call.

Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial political head Sikhanyiso Ndlovu also declined to respond.

“I do not have a comment,” Ndlovu said.

The secretary for youth Absolom Sikhosana, who was at the forefront of bootlicking Mugabe and even went to the extent of saying he should assume the grand title “Conqueror of the British Empire”, seemingly became tongue-tied after waxing lyrical on Sunday and referred questions to Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Callistus Ndlovu.

“Why don’t you call the provincial chairman? I do not have any comment on the matter,” Sikhosana said.

Sikhosana shocked all and sundry by bestowing Mugabe with the title that the late ruthless former dictator of Uganda Idi Amin Dada gave himself while slaughtering thousands of his countrymen during one of Africa’s bleakest periods in the 1970s.

Political activist Dumisani Nkomo said Zanu PF leaders in the province were afraid of commenting on Mugabe’s utterances for fear of undermining his authority.

“Obviously they are scared of undermining Mugabe’s authority. They cannot say that he is old and at 90 years should make way for fresh blood because of fear of censure,” Nkomo said.

“The reason Zanu PF lost in Bulawayo is not entirely because of the old party leaders, but the legacy of Zanu PF in Matabeleland and some of the unresolved political issues. They lost partly because of the Zanu PF brand itself.”

Mugabe used events to celebrate his birthday last weekend to warn those linked to factions that they risked expulsion.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have often been touted as leaders of the party’s warring factions, but both have denied harbouring ambitions to take over from Mugabe.

An insider said the senior party leadership in Bulawayo was in a quandary over Mugabe’s statements while others were disappointed and vowed to raise the matter with the president at the next Zanu PF meeting of the central committee.

“Some were heard saying they would raise the matter with the president in the next meeting of the central committee, but knowing them, none will have the courage to confront him. It was just talk to appear tough,” the insider said.

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