THE war of words in Zanu PF following last month’s congress just went a notch higher, with deposed secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday saying he was not cowed by secretary for the commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere, while axed spokesman Rugare Gumbo insisted he was still a member of the party.
SILAS NKALA/MOSES MATENGA
Kasukuwere on Tuesday said they were ready for Mutasa, but the former Zanu PF honcho says he will not be cowed by the new party secretary for the commissariat.
Kasukuwere said Mutasa’s statement that they did not recognise outcomes of the congress showed that he was always against President Robert Mugabe.
Mutasa yesterday hit back, saying Kasukuwere’s response to his statement betrayed desperation for power and positions.
“I am working for unity in Zanu PF and in the country as a whole,” Mutasa said.
“These are the same lies they have told people before.
“We have never been against our president, but we are against omafikizolo like him who have misled our president.”
On Monday, Mutasa issued a statement to the media accusing party newcomers, whom he described as omafikizolo, of being vultures who have hijacked the party with the intention of destroying it from within.
Kasukuwere, Information minister Jonathan Moyo, Higher Education minister Oppah Muchinguri and former legislator Patrick Zhuwao have been accused of pulling the strings in Zanu PF and determining the ouster of several members, charges they deny.
Mutasa threatened to take the party to court over the congress, describing himself as the bona fide secretary for administration.
Mutasa, Gumbo, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and 11 ministers were sacked from their positions in Zanu PF and the government for allegedly plotting to kill Mugabe and replacing him with Mujuru.
Mujuru was accused of corruption and abuse of office.
Mutasa has been the most vocal of the fired members and has written to Sadc to have a look at the congress procedures.
On the other hand, Gumbo yesterday said he was still a Zanu PF member and supported Mutasa’s statement calling for the nullification of the party’s December congress.
Gumbo was initially suspended for five years, but was later fired from the party a few days before the congress on charges of conniving with Mujuru in a plot to unseat Mugabe.
He said he and several other vilified party officials, purged for their perceived association with Mujuru, were still operating and fighting for internal democracy from within Zanu PF.
“We want to revert to collective leadership,” he said.
“We have concentrated power on one person and we want to address that.
“We are operating within Zanu PF to find ways of addressing these issues.
“We have argued and said we want to keep the original Zanu PF and we agree with Cde Mutasa on that one.
“The party has departed from the principles and values of Zanu PF, so we are saying let’s return to the values of the party that brought democracy and one man, one vote.”
Gumbo said Zanu PF made a mistake of concentrating power in Mugabe in the last three decades and there was need to correct the anomaly.
The former Zanu PF spokesperson’s utterances come at a time some retired army officials and war veterans, who have also been victims of the Zanu PF purge, were reportedly burning the midnight oil in various provinces plotting to “rescue” the party from omafikizolo.
Mutasa’s statement has reportedly caused unease among Zanu PF members amid fears it could trigger a split in the party.
However, other party hardliners who include Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene and Information minister Moyo have dismissed Mutasa’s statements as inconsequential and a sign of desperation.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Mutasa’s statement was likely to shake the corridors of power in Zanu PF, as it was a direct challenge to both Mugabe and the congress outcome.
“They are saying the congress was null and void and that the pre-congress status quo should be retained,” he said.
“What happened before congress was the illegal dismantling of elected committees and irregular amendments to the constitution.”
He described Mutasa’s statement as “strong, well-written and obviously prepared by very qualified lawyers”.
Impeccable Zanu PF insiders yesterday said Mutasa’s statement came as a result of a series of meetings by party cadrés who felt the party had been hijacked by those who did not subscribe to the party’s ideologies.
Mujuru, who prior to her ouster appeared a strong contender to succeed Mugabe, has now reportedly extended an olive branch to former party gurus, among them Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni and Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa to form a grand coalition.