via ‘Zanu PF infighting has destroyed Zim’ – DailyNews Live 25 May 2015
HARARE – Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says Zimbabwe is destined to remain a nation of street vendors unless post-congress Zanu PF leaders concentrate on fixing the country’s comatose economy rather than their “destructive” factional and succession wars.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News last week, Mutasa accused ruling Zanu PF bigwigs, many of whom are Cabinet ministers, of focusing their energies on accumulating wealth and power instead of the bleeding economy, which has resulted in poverty levels in Zimbabwe reaching their worst point in 60 years.
Mutasa spoke as Zanu PF’s deadly infighting continues to escalate, with President Robert Mugabe — constrained by advanced age and failing health — seemingly unable to stop it and ambitious young members of his party making it ever more clear that they are impatient to take over from him and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Noting “with profound sadness” that the economy was continuing to nosedive, with hundreds of industries closing on a monthly basis and unemployment now hovering around 90 percent, Mutasa said it was both heart-rending and disgraceful that Zanu PF leaders were blind to the pain of Zimbabweans.
He said it made him very sad that many Zimbabweans now eked a difficult living as street vendors, which was a complete negation of the lofty aspirations of the liberation struggle that had motivated many young people to confront the Rhodesian government.
He said like most Zimbabweans, he too was bearing the full brunt of the economic malaise destroying the country, and this was all thanks to Zanu PF’s misrule and misplaced priorities.
He added that this was why it was important for all Zimbabweans to work together to ease their pain, while at the same time the ruling party now needed to put people first before its leaders’ selfish interests.
Mutasa, who along with other Zanu PF leading lights such as former Vice President Joice Mujuru, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, and war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda were ruthlessly purged from the ruling party over murky allegations of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe last year, said his erstwhile comrades should have the courage to put the past behind.
“We need proper reconciliation where people bare their minds. At such a platform, yes, we will talk about the congress. Our comrades will of course use the technicality that we did not get any positions in the congress but there are a lot of things that happened before that which must be addressed correctly,” Mutasa said.
The former trusted top aide to Mugabe said there was need for honest debate in the ruling party and country in order to save Zimbabwe from total economic collapse.
“We should not waste time fighting. We should sit down and talk frankly and see where we have gone wrong as a country. It is the people who are suffering. But they are for example, fighting over Harare East and ignoring the economy,” he said.
Zanu PF’s top leadership has been in turmoil over the party’s representation in the Harare East by-election, with the politburo eventually settling for unknown candidate Terence Mukupe over Mavis Gumbo to represent the party in the forthcoming by-election.
Mutasa said all these “ugly” ructions ran counter to the ideals of the liberation struggle, which he said were now a pie in the sky, as a decent life was now beyond the reach of the vast majority of Zimbabweans.
“I cannot be happy with the vending in the streets. Those vendors want to advance from what they are doing now to something better and that is what we want to discuss as the political leadership,” he said.
With the hopes of many now hinged on the opposition to rescue them, Mutasa said the Zanu PF (People First) would get going soon.
“You can expect Zanu People First anytime,” he said, adding, “It is true we have delayed launching the organisation but we are trying to sort it out”.
Mutasa, who was recently ditched by his lawyers said he was not going to drop the court case where he is challenging the outcome of Zanu PF’s 2014 congress.
“The lawyers were expecting money in advance and they dropped their services. But what should be noted is that it was a personal matter. But on the bigger issue where we are trying to bring democracy back to the country that is a national issue and the expenses must be met by all of us,” Mutasa said.
Retired and hugely-respected Zanu PF elder, Cephas Msipa, also recently told the Daily News that Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises could be traced to the ruling party’s policies which he said had failed to deliver the promised milk and honey that prompted many to take up arms against Ian Smith.
Msipa said the worsening poverty levels in the country owing to the deteriorating socio-economic conditions could only be mitigated if Zanu PF accepted that it had failed the people and all Zimbabweans put their heads together to come up with lasting solutions to the crises.
Yet, at the time of Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980, the late Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, exhorted the new Zanu PF government to look after the country’s economy that they had inherited from Smith’s government, saying: “You have inherited the jewel of Africa, don’t destroy it”.
But just over 35 years later, Zimbabwe is beset with perennial and mostly man-made myriad crises — with both poverty and income levels today for the majority blacks often described as “disgracefully” worse than they were during Smith’s minority government.
In the process, the country has moved swiftly from once being seen as the breadbasket of the region to a hopeless basket case — a situation widely blamed on Zanu PF’s misrule and the gross corruption of its officials.