via ‘Mujuru sought to cheat us’ | The Herald December 6, 2014
Zanu-PF has witnessed unprecedented drama leading to the Zanu-PF 6th National People’s Conference that has seen allegations of treason leveled against Vice President Joice Mujuru and her inner circle, the firing of senior party members, a vote of no confidence on eight party provincial chairmen and many sitting ministers failing to make it into the party’s central committee. Our Senior Reporter Fortious Nhambura spoke to Cde Chris Mutsvangwa on these and other issues.
FN: The build-up to the Zanu-PF 6th National Peoples’ Congress has been characterised by unprecedented drama. Can you unpack it for our readers?
CM: Drama indeed. Vice President Mujuru was working outside the structures and parameters of Zanu-PF. She was actually hoodwinking the membership of Zanu-PF into believing that she was very close to the President and that her usurpation of power was at the will of the President. Of course that has come to naught. So the drama is really about the end game of a plan which has been going on and in gestation for a very long time. Obviously for the rank and file of the membership there is a Shona proverb “Chinoziva ivhu kuti mwana wembeva arikurwara.” We knew that things were not going on well in the party, there was lethargy, incompetence, corruption and in the last couple of months there were even attempts at power grab as structures were being high handedly interfered with, provincial chairmen being imposed, candidates being disqualified left, right and centre.
All this was frenetic effort on the part of the rebels to try and grab power before the Congress. So yes there has been drama but I am glad that it has been a cleansing process and now that the party is much more lean and focused than at any other time.
FN: It’s been said what has been happening in the party since the Youths and Women’s League Conferences is a manifestation of Zanu-PF’s failure to stitch things in time. We hear Mai Mujuru and her team started these games at the Goromonzi Conference in 2006? Why did you not rein them in then?
CM: No, in hindsight and with what the President has said we now understand the ball game. He has been like a python patiently observing what has been going on. He is like a vulture which is a patient bird. He was vigilant, he knew his enemies very well and their capabilities and how to make sure they are thwarted. And that is exactly what has happened. Look, a premature intervention could easily have caused a split in the party when these people would have gone out of the party with some kind of legitimacy and it would have really ended up with a lot of confusion among the rank and file of the membership because the issues had not yet been exposed as to what has been happening. So yes it has been a painful 10 years. We have suffered a lot, but maybe in the end the solution which we are getting now is much better because these rebels have been decapitated and have since been given a stillbirth. They have nowhere to go, they have no power, they have lost credibility with the people who are now mentally armed and their foreign backers have been disabused of the notion of continuing to use these malcontents and power-grabbers in the party. So all is well that ends well. In other countries, other situations there would have been splits, recriminations and internecine struggles. It has not happened in Zanu-PF, so give the President his credit; he has done a good job.
FN: Could this have been done in any other way?
CM: Our President has got many years of experience as a freedom fighter, in jail before and in nationalist politics of the 60s. He has since graduated to the armed struggle which he led in a very resolute manner to the success of independence in 1980. He is 30 years as a Statesman, Our President where the consolidation of independence was his main task. He has seen off the likes of Muzorewa, the likes of Tekere and the likes of Simba Makoni. He is an experienced hand. There is probably nobody in the world who knows how to handle contradictions as our President. So I don’t think this matter could have been handled in any other manner when we consider the accumulated wisdom of our President. The beauty about the end game is that it has completely disarmed his adversaries and enemies. They have been totally decapitated. They don’t have any new punches to throw back. So this is a good result. Yes there is a pain associated with that long drawn out resolution of a contradiction. But indeed the pain is better than an ill-advised high handed expulsion or castigation of somebody who is still in the party and quite strong. Now that they have been exposed, they are weak and have nowhere to go. This is a neater solution.
FN: Given the changes in Zanu-PF what type of leadership do you think is likely to emerge from the congress?
CM: You always learnt from your mistakes of course we have also learnt from those who become renegades. With all that experience the party will now focus on leadership (musvo), those who have remained steadfast and loyal to the President. We are hoping that with the purges which have gone on in the party and restoration of the democratic will among the rank and file membership represented by the 6th National People’s Congress who are here, the President has got a better pool of tried, tested, reliable and loyal leadership from which he can now choose his Politburo.
And the good thing is that we are now cognisant of the dangers of developing too many centres of power in the party. So the Constitution has been rightly amended to concentrate the power in the President. Since the President is tried and tested and is popularly elected he cannot but choose people whom he can work well with and that’s what the new constitution has since delivered. A new beauty is born in Zanu-PF and is going to deliver on the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe which is for a vibrant economy which delivers prosperity on a day to day basis to the totality of the Zimbabwean population.
It’s a democratic party, remember it comes out of the personal sacrifices of individuals, their only one lives, to make this country full. The message of those people had to be combined with that of Zimbabweans from all walks of life, in schools, in the village and everywhere, who volunteered their support and lives to the same war. So there is a very deep and abiding democratic tradition in Zanu-PF. The danger which you talk about can only arise if the party becomes undemocratic and that’s precisely what was happening with the Vice President (Mujuru) and her crew.
They were usurping the power of the people to decide on who is their leader. They wanted to cheat the people into leadership. As that has been effectively done away with, democracy has gone back to the roots of the Zanu-PF. We are very confident that it will always produce leaders who are there due to the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe.
FN: There has been talk in some quarters that Zanu-PF has weakened itself by kicking out eight provincial chairpersons and dumping a number of Politburo members, how do you respond to that?
CM: To the contrary these were bad eggs who wormed their way into the epicentre of the party leadership. Their actions are now being exposed and for some of them the CID and the police will make sure that they eventually get to the law courts. Their conduct has been abysmal, it has been abominable and now that we are rid of them the party has been cleansed. It’s a purging process, that’s what has happened. We are very confident that the party will emerge from this more people oriented, leaner and more focused on delivering the prosperity that the people of Zimbabwe have longed for.
We have a very good resource base; we have carried out the biggest land reform and property asset restitution in post colonial Africa. We have developed a very good human skills base which second to none in Africa, it excels wherever it goes. We have a fairly good infrastructure which obviously needs to renovated and revamped. We are now focused on making sure that all these elements gel together and under the leadership of the President, Zim-Asset which is the economic programme, we can finally deliver the prosperity which the people of Zimbabwe sacrificed so much for. Remember, nobody goes to sacrifice his own life in collective national and ever unless there is the prospect of the nation doing well in terms of delivering goods and services in abundance to those who survive.
That is precisely what Zanu-PF stands for. All those sacrifices particularly in the 70s now want to see a realisation in the general improvement in the day to day lives of the people of Zimbabwe. If China, India and all other former colonised or semi colonised countries could now become so important players in a global village there is nothing that can stop Zimbabwe from achieving similar destination in call.
FN: Zanu-PF has been criticised for its failure to deal with corruption. With this cleansing act, are we beginning to see the party confronting the scourge?
CM: It is very important that you separate corruption from political power which is being abused. If you do not do it properly you run the danger of crash-landing the revolution of the people. The President was very patient, he made sure that at the end of the day we have dispersed the political aspect of the rot that was happening in Zanu-PF. That is what has been happening in the minds of the Vice President and her ilk of hangers on, charlatans, imposters, and counter revolutionaries. Now the road is clear, the law enforcement and investigation agencies, as well as courts can ready themselves for finally exposing and imprisoning, if need be, all these malfeasances which have been a hallmark of the last 10 years of Vice President Mujuru’s tenure. There was a lot political protection of corruption on her part. Government machinery was being hobbled, sometimes compromised in order to serve her self-serving ends. Now that is over.
As the President said yesterday in his speech at the opening of Zanu-PF 6th National People’s Congress, those who have been putting their hands in the till, stealing and engaging in corruption now we will throw them to the hands of the law enforcement agencies.
FN: The new spokesperson of MDC-T told Al Jazeera this morning (yesterday morning) that following the recent contradiction in Zanu-PF, the party is finished and is nearing its end. Your comment on that.
CM: Aaah . . . these are sour grapes from a routed party. They had no message to the people of Zimbabwe and they lost on 31 July, they lost dismally. They are still groping for a new life. They will look at anything that happens in Zanu-PF, even renegades from Zanu-PF they will try to impress them. You can’t expect anything from Obert Gutu other than to be a sour grape spokesman of a party which rapidly disappearing in the twilight and dust of history.