via Mugabe ally predicts chaos – DailyNews Live 20 August 2015
HARARE – Retired and highly-respected Zanu PF elder, Cephas Msipa, has once again spoken about Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises — manifested by the escalating and brutal infighting within President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party and the worsening waves of job redundancies in the country — saying he now fears for his “beloved country”.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, the despairing elder statesman said such was the magnitude of Zimbabwe’s problems at the moment that it had become imperative for all the country’s leaders — including those in politics, business and grassroots communities — to come together and seek urgently-needed solutions.
“I am really concerned that we are moving from crisis to crisis. You can imagine, for example, this labour thing (ongoing job losses). I am not sure what will happen but I foresee strikes and strikes and there is going to be chaos.”
“This does not augur well for the country. It is a big problem and there is therefore need to sit down together and say let’s talk,” he said.
Msipa recalled that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had approached him in 1996, asking him to carry a message to Mugabe in which he was proposing to meet the nonagenarian every year to discuss important national issues and to try and agree on key agendas and programmes.
“I went to the president and he said why don’t you put it in writing. The president actually said let’s meet thrice a year even, and I think as Zimbabweans we need that approach again.
“I love my country and that is why I suffered for it. It pains me when I see the suffering of our people and I ask aren’t we able to sort this out? Some people have approached me again saying I should meet the president, but then the whole situation in the country is chaotic and some people may even misunderstand me although I am genuine.
“I remember a lot of friends who died for freedom and a better Zimbabwe and they would cry if they were to come back. I want to remain quiet, but not with all this suffering,” the despondent Msipa said.
Asked whether he was being blocked by bureaucrats to meet his old friend Mugabe, he said the last time that he had met the president was last year.
“He (Mugabe) said then let’s meet again because our talks were not conclusive and I think he then became very busy as the chairperson of Sadc and the AU. I haven’t made any attempts to meet him but I hope when I do I will meet him because in the past he never refused to meet with me.
“He is getting a lot of advice and I don’t know whether he would take my advice, but all I am saying is let us put our country first. This is our only country. With all the resources we have, it boggles the mind why we are poor. Maybe its corruption, I really don’t know,” Msipa said.
Asked if he could not, in the meantime, engage with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa about all the issues, as the VP comes from the same province as Msipa does, the Midlands, he said he had already done so.
“I have met the VP once, but he is my sekuru (uncle), and he will not say much to me,” he said.
Msipa’s latest pronouncements are in line with what he said three months ago when he first broke his recent silence over Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises and said candidly then that Zanu PF had failed the country badly.
Speaking in a similar interview with the Daily News in May, Msipa — who fondly refers to Mugabe as muzukuru (nephew) — said the embattled nonagenarian needed all the help Zimbabweans could give him across the political divide, if the country was to be rescued from the edge of the precipice where it had been for too long.
And describing Mugabe as “fundamentally” having good intentions, Msipa said not many positives could, however, be said about Zanu PF, which he said was failing dismally to deliver the “milk and honey” the ruling party had promised Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle.
“He (Mugabe) needs a lot of help and so we must support him. His heart is in the right place and he needs help,” the concerned Msipa emphasised repeatedly.
He added that although he had retired from active politics last year, he could not, however, bury his head “in the sand” when it was self-evident that the nation was “burning”.
“I am trying to get away from elective politics where people are jostling for positions. But because I have invested a lot of my life and time in politics, going back to the 1950s, I want to see this country prosper.
“I want to see the economy prosper. I look at the poverty in the country and I am worried at what is happening. When we went to war, we were promising people milk and honey and Zimbabwe was supposed to be a country of plenty.
“Milk meant enough to eat and honey represented happiness. I want to see people happy in the country. But I see there is fear, fear to speak and yet that is why we went to war to attain freedom of speech. Many people suffered for this country so that we can be happy, but where is the happiness?” Msipa asked ruefully.
Most analysts say Zimbabwe is beset with mostly man-made crises — with both poverty and income levels today for the majority blacks often described as “disgracefully” far worse than they were during Ian Smith’s minority regime.
In the process, the country has moved rapidly from once being the bread basket of the region to a hopeless basket case, a situation widely blamed on Zanu PF’s misrule and the gross corruption of its leaders.
Msipa, who also describes Mugabe as a long-standing personal friend, said petty personal differences should be put aside at this difficult moment in the country’s history as Zimbabwe was “burning”.
“Let us concentrate on things that matter. Let us put our heads together as a country so that we can stop this death where industries are closing and people are thrown out of employment,” he said.
Some economists estimate that up to 95 percent of the country’s 14 million people is unemployed and live well below the poverty datum line — most of them eking out a difficult living as street vendors.
In the run-up to the disputed 2013 national elections, Zanu PF promised Zimbabweans a better life under its still-born economic blueprint ZimAsset, which promised more than two million jobs before 2018.
But Msipa warned that without unity of purpose in the country, most Zimbabweans would continue to suffer and wallow in poverty “because the pangs of hunger do not discriminate” along party-political lines.
“Let us have a unity of purpose. Let us see that Zimbabwe is prosperous regardless of political affiliation. Zanu PF cannot do it alone.
“This year we are going to have a drought and it will not affect Zanu PF members only but everyone. I ask often when this suffering is going to end. Let us identify our commonness as we are all Zimbabweans. We swim or sink together and once we identify our commonness we will see what we can do,” he said.
Msipa was among the first prominent Zanu PF members to warn of an imminent split of the ruling party last year, going on to criticise Mugabe openly for failing to deal with Zanu PF’s deadly infighting and refusing to take advice on the party’s escalating factionalism.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News late last year, he said pointedly that he feared for the worst for Zanu PF if its ugly intra-party ructions continued to obtain — a prophetic warning that has since come to pass,
“If people continue being dissatisfied with what is happening, it is possible to have a split. I think the president has the key to all these issues. I hate factionalism and if it continues I don’t know what will become of the party,” he said then.
Msipa also bluntly warned Mugabe that his failure to unmask and stop the party’s real factionalists would result in the party splitting into several opposing camps, further attacking the party faction aligned to Mnangagwa for behaving as if it “owned” Mugabe’s divisive wife Grace — a development that he said had fuelled factionalism in the party.
Amidst all this, analysts say Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when the country’s perennial political crises precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar.
The analysts told the Daily News last week that the only difference between then and now was that supermarkets were currently full of goods unlike seven years ago — although very few Zimbabweans were able to afford the goods as joblessness and poverty levels in the country are increase exponentially.