via Mutasa ready to spill ‘rigging’ beans in court – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2015 by Moses Matenga/Obey Manayiti/Richard Chidza
FORMER Zanu PF stalwart and axed Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa yesterday said he was ready to stand in court and give evidence on how the ruling Zanu PF party rigged the 2008 election “if approached” by the opposition MDC-T.
Mutasa told NewsDay that “if the MDC people approach me”, he was more than willing to testify as an MDC-T witness, adding that he had over the past few months held several meetings with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to strategise for the 2018 elections.
“Even (President Robert) Mugabe said it at congress (that the MDC-T won by a landslide). Am I not saying something that has been said before? The president of Zanu PF had said it before. When I met Tsvangirai several times, he always told me about it.
Three months ago, I met Tsvangirai and he said it again. If the MDC-T approaches me, then I will consider that matter (to stand as a witness),” Mutasa said.
The former Headlands MP is one of the main figures in the People First project which comprises expelled Zanu PF members and believed to be led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
The opposition MDC-T was reportedly mulling dragging the ruling party to court, engage African Union (AU), regional power broker Sadc as well as lobbying the international community over Mugabe’s alleged electoral fraud.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the opposition party would use the information coming from Mutasa to lobby local, regional and international bodies against Zanu PF.
“The revelation from Didymus Mutasa merely confirms what we, as the MDC, have always known. In fact, we did not narrowly win the 2008 harmonised elections. We won those elections with a landslide of well over 73%.
“Mutasa’s confession simply solidifies our conviction to ensure that the electoral playing field in Zimbabwe be evened up in order to produce free and fair elections that will give rise to legitimate results,” Gutu said.
“We will use this information in our ongoing peaceful and democratic struggle to convince Zimbabweans and, indeed, all peace-loving people within Sadc, the AU and the entire universe, that the Zanu PF regime is illegitimate. For as long as it lacks political legitimacy, this regime will never ever be able to turn around the economic fortunes of Zimbabwe.”
Gutu, however, could neither deny nor confirm his boss’ meetings with Mutasa.
“I am not in a position to comment on who my president meets and what it is they discuss. He has a spokesperson,” Gutu said.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka was not available for comment.
Gutu, however, disputed Mutasa’s claims that Tsvangirai instead of claiming power had fled to Botswana.
“Morgan Tsvangirai did not flee the country after the 2008 elections. Surely, matters of a security nature cannot be divulged in the public domain. Do you know that practicing politics in Zimbabwe, particularly opposition politics, is a very high risk activity? Don’t you know that Big Brother is always snooping and watching every move that you make? Come on, my brother!” Gutu said.
Last year, in what has become common, Mugabe in a gaffé told war veterans ahead of his party’s congress that Tsvangirai “won by 73%” though his spin doctors said this was “a slip of the tongue”.
Meanwhile, Information minister Jonathan Moyo questioned how “a petrified Mutasa” would have sought to protect the Zanu PF leader following rumours that Mugabe had lost the elections to Tsvangirai.
“How could a frightened Mutasa rush to State House to protect Pres(ident) Mugabe after 2008 polls? We know he went (into) hiding!” Moyo queried.
As regards the Gukurahundi atrocities that Mutasa claims he was not aware of, the Information minister, who reports say lost a relative in the decade-long State-sponsored violence that targeted Matabeleland and parts of Midlands provinces, pointed out that Mutasa would have known about the atrocities as he was head of the country’s legislature.
“Mutasa says he didn’t know of Gukurahundi as he was Parliament Speaker in Harare yet PF Zapu told all in Parliament!” Moyo said.
But Mutasa maintained he was never briefed, saying that Moyo could check with parliamentary records.
“They can always check with the Hansard (official National Assembly publication), I did not know about that (Gukurahundi),” Mutasa said.
Reports claim that some 20 000 civilians were callously murdered by the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade unleashed by Mugabe, then Prime Minister, to “quell” the disturbances blamed on a handful of “bandits” allegedly linked to the late PF Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo who was later to become Vice-President.