HARARE – Former Zanu PF bigwigs, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, who were sacked from the ruling party in 2014, have expressed their willingness to rejoin the ruling party.
This comes after the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (Znlwva) recommended on Thursday that they be re-admitted into Zanu PF, along with former war veterans’ chairperson, Jabulani Sibanda, and other ex-combatants who were stampeded out of Zanu PF about four years ago.
Mutasa and Gumbo were expelled from Zanu PF by Mugabe along with a host of other officials who were seen as loyal to former vice president Joice Mujuru who had fallen out of favour with former president Robert Mugabe at the time.
Upon receiving their marching orders, they teamed up with Dzikamai Mavhaire, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Mujuru and many Zanu PF cadres who were disgruntled with Mugabe’s autocratic tendencies to form the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF).
A few months after its formation, ZPF split because of irreconcilable differences between its founders.
Mutasa and Gumbo were among those who clung to the party’s name and offices while Mujuru moved on to form the National People’s Party.
On Thursday, Znlwva secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, told the Daily News that they wanted Mutasa, Gumbo, Sibanda and many others to be re-admitted into Zanu PF, which is now under the leadership of Emmerson Mnangagwa who came to power after Mugabe was toppled in November last year through a soft military coup.
He said: “What came out most was the resolution of asking the party to readmit all expelled war veterans, especially the likes of comrade Jabulani Sibanda, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and others back into the party because we feel the party becomes strong and stronger when people are working together”.
The recommendations would be forwarded to the ruling Zanu PF party for consideration and possible ratification.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Gumbo said they were still talking to the war veterans so that they could rejoin the ruling party.
“There are number of issues we need to discuss before rejoining Zanu PF,” he said, without elaborating.
“We are still consulting and I think if they can manage to clarify some issues, we are going to rejoin the party. We are having talks with war veterans but the talks are not yet formal and I think as war veterans, we need to work together for the good of our country. For us, the war veterans are stating an obvious thing because if you are a war veteran you will remain as a war veteran,” Gumbo said.
This seems to suggest that the expelled ex-combatants do not want to be re-admitted into the party as ordinary card-carrying members.
Before their sacking in 2014, Mutasa was the party’s secretary for administration while Gumbo was its spokesperson.
Both were members of the party’s Soviet-style political bureau, otherwise referred to as the politburo.
Zanu PF’s constitution requires any individual willing to return to the party to appeal to its central committee, which is its policy-making organ.
Thereafter, the appeal is taken to an ad-hoc appeals committee of congress whose decisions shall be final.
Gumbo’s precondition could be based on the fact that the powers-that-be in Zanu PF are known for bending the rules when it suits them and could be out to extract some concessions before his re-admission.
In re-admitting former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo into the party in 2013, Zanu PF took the unprecedented step of inviting the serial political flip-flopper to return to the party because it was desperate at the time to utilise his propaganda skills.
Moyo had been expelled from Zanu PF in 2005 for refusing to give way to a woman candidate for the Tsholotsho constituency after the ruling party had reserved the seat for a woman.
The sharp-tongued politician, who is now in self-imposed exile following former president Robert Mugabe’s ouster, had fallen victim to purges that targeted Zanu PF members who had organised an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho to oppose the election of Mujuru as vice president.
While Sibanda refused to comment on the matter, Mutasa, who is former State Security minister, said he was prepared to work with his former comrades.
“Zanu PF without Mugabe, I will go; I am ready to join, I am ready to talk to them. We went to war for democracy and not for Mugabe, so we are ready. What the war veterans are saying — that we had the same objective — that is very true,” he said.
Mutasa recently set tongues wagging after he met with opposition National Patriotic Front (NPF) leader, Ambrose Mutinhiri, sparking speculation that he could be considering joining the party, which is linked to Mugabe.
As an elder in ZPF, many also believe it would be duplicitous for him and Gumbo to dump their party for another.
Mutasa admitted talking to NPF and ZPF officials.
“Yes I still talk to people in People First,” he said.
“I talk to everyone, I cannot turn down people — I will talk to anyone. Of all the parties that I have been part of, Zanu PF is the one I spent most of my time in. There are many people who sacrificed (for our independence) and had we not taken part (in the liberation struggle) we could not be where we are today. People such as Emmerson (Mnangagwa) and others — if they were not there — Zanu PF would not be there. Of course, Mugabe did something but he is the one who destroyed (the party),” he added.