Mugove Tafirenyika 1 June 2017
HARARE – Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene has slammed
South Africa’s Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande, labelling him a
“daft politician”, after he described President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF as
a “rural party”.
This comes as the South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary
told a Cosatu meeting in Pretoria on Monday that Zanu PF had lost the
largely black urban voter base after embarking on a controversial land
repossession programme that brought the once-prosperous southern African
economy to its knees.
And this did not go down well with Chimene, who, in an unsolicited
response, came out guns blazing, saying Nzimande did not understand why
liberation movements took up arms against white minority rule.
“It goes to show how daft he is as a politician because he thinks we went
to war so that we could take residence in suburbs when the fact is that we
fought for land and that is why we value the rural vote,” she fumed.
In his address, Nzimande blamed Mugabe for seizing white-owned commercial
farms to resettle landless blacks who had little or no experience in
agriculture after his popularity ratings had slid.
“Because iZanu PF essentially has lost the middle class has lost many
urban-based organisations, it’s become a rural party because of the
mistakes they are making. Now ama comrades are denying that there is a
problem,” he said.
Nzimande bemoaned the fact that Zanu PF had alienated workers,
professionals and academics, despite them having helped the ruling party
in the struggle for independence.
But Chimene argued the rural areas was where the bulk of the ruling party
The rural vote has been the mainstay of support for Mugabe and Zanu PF,
which liberated Zimbabwe from white minority rule in 1980 after fighting a
“He (Nzimande) doesn’t know where the people are, hence his thinking is
misplaced. The war of liberation was fought in rural areas, not in towns.
Whether people are educated or not, they all have rural homes, so what is
wrong with us putting our emphasis there,” Chimene said.
“Even the African National Congress (ANC) knows the importance of the
rural folk and I really don’t understand where this comrade is getting his
political ideology from. It’s silly, really,” she added.
Zanu PF and the ANC – which is in a tripartite alliance with the SACP and
Cosatu – have a long history of friendship dating back to the liberation
struggle days when the two collaborated in fighting their respective