HARARE - A fortnight after igniting a political brouhaha over his take of the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s in Matabeleland and the Midlands, State media columnist, Nathaniel Manheru — widely understood to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba — has stirred another controversy.
In his latest column in the Herald yesterday, Manheru claimed that the late liberation war icon, Solomon Mujuru — who was widely credited with installing Mugabe as leader of Zanu PF in exile in the mid 1970s — had become “anti-Mugabe” by the time he died.
Solomon’s charred remains were found after a mysterious inferno at his Beatrice Farm nearly four years ago, and his hapless widow, Joice, has since been ruthlessly purged from the leadership of both Zanu PF and the government — as the ruling party’s brutal factionalism escalates.
“At the heart of the whole effort (Zanu PF ructions) is a whole legacy of internal, anti-Mugabe succession politics left unripe by the late general Mujuru, and whose truculent infrastructure the ejected past Vice President inherited, sometimes willy-nilly.
“Without taking away her own culpable input, there is a way in which Mai Mujuru is a figure of pre-ordination, a real Thomas Hardly female victim-character slowly grinding to a halt amidst a destructive immanent will.
“Whilst she recognised some features of those politics, of that infrastructure, she never quite encompassed both. And with her stalking husband gone, many dangerous goals encrusted onto those politics, an encrustation which in fact had started well before the demise of the General, creating little demons the late departed was seeking and struggling to exorcise, or at least quieten,” the voluble and often reliable barometer of Mugabe’s and government’s thinking wrote.
Commenting on the recent challenge to Mugabe’s stewardship of Zanu PF by a group of party stalwarts that include former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa — whom he rubbished to no end in his column — Manheru also alleged that this group was working with the opposition, although this would not be easy.
“Two potential stumbling blocks stand in the way. One is (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai and his MDC. Whilst he might have a longer history of working with this group, both during days of its late founder, and surreptitiously during the days of the inclusive government, there is a feeling of angst in his camp regarding what is likely to follow in the wake of such an amalgamation.
“Tsvangirai fears displacement. So, too, does (MKD leader Simba) Makoni. That angst has taken the form of a new leadership structure which would incorporate Simba Makoni as the second in command in the MDC.
“Always the West’s favourite, such an arrangement ensures the resultant government in the event of “victory” will have Simba Makoni at the centre of an envisaged neo-liberal dispensation.
“His initial comments on his readiness to work with the Mujuru group, to which he is linked consanguineously by the way, whilst showing initial hostility, is just a negotiating posture, but one now aligned to the MDC-T or maximum traction,” Manheru said.
“The second stumbling block is that of (ZAPU leader Dumiso) Dabengwa.
Ironically, both Dabengwa and Makoni worked closely with the late General Mujuru, but fell apart when the 2008 project collapsed.
“While Dabengwa may have been amenable to overtures mounted through Rugare Gumbo, and developed at the recent wedding of Tshinga Dube’s daughter, Dabengwa has problems with some personalities in the emerging equation.
“More significantly, he is realising that his politics of raising fears of insecurity in Matabeleland in the wake of the appointment of the two Vice Presidents, might just help draw people towards his otherwise dying Zapu.
“He wants to engage the group from a position of power, which means engage it while flaunting the southern part of Zimbabwe is in his palm,” Manheru added.