HARARE - Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says he will attend Zanu PF’s planned disciplinary hearing against him, if only out of his “enduring respect” for President Robert Mugabe.
Commenting publicly for the first time about the mooted hearing in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, the ex-party secretary for administration said he would, however, ask some of the committee’s members to recuse themselves as it was clear that they hated him.
“Well, I shall attend the meeting out of respect for the president who is the sole legal official of the party. I shall request that some members of the committee who have shown extreme hatred for me be left out of the committee,” Mutasa said.
“There is more that I want to say in the future following receipt of their invitation (to the disciplinary hearing),” he said.
Mutasa said he had not yet been served with either the official notice or the papers for the hearing.
The Manicaland supremo commented as the gladiatorial battle between party hardliners and a group of aggrieved liberation pioneers is hotting up, amid suggestions at the weekend that the party stalwarts who are unhappy with the recent turn of events in Zanu PF were close to launching their planned court action.
“My understanding is that all the papers for the court action are virtually ready and that it is now a question of timing when these will be lodged. It is imminent and this can happen anytime now,” a Zanu PF official who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation said.
Former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo would only say that the court challenge would proceed soon.
“It’s going to proceed,” he said.
Mutasa’s comments regarding the mooted hearing against him came in the wake of a weekend interview conducted by the Daily News with Pupurayi Togarepi, the Zanu PF youth league chairperson, in which he insisted that Mutasa’s proposed hearing would proceed whether he turned up or not.
Togarepi, who is part of the six-member disciplinary committee set up by Mugabe to deal with Mutasa’s alleged misdemeanours, said the committee’s verdict would not be dependent on whether Mutasa attended or didn’t attend the hearing.
The other members of the committee, chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, are Patrick Chinamasa, secretary for legal affairs; Savior Kasukuwere, political commissar; Kembo Mohadi, secretary for security; and Mugabe’s wife Grace, chairperson of the women’s league.
The mooted hearing comes amid calls by some party hawks such as Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Ignatius Chombo and Kasukuwere to have Mutasa expelled from the party altogether.
“The process will not stop whether Mutasa comes or not as it is his constitutional right not to attend. It is his own business if he does not come as he is claiming and it will not change anything as we will go ahead and sit as a committee,” Togarepi said.
He said he would not predict the outcome of the hearing before the sitting.
“I can refer you to the chairperson, vice president Mphoko on that matter but we are waiting for him to set the date and time for the hearing. We are all looking forward to it,” Togarepi said.
Mutasa and other party stalwarts are adamant that the party’s December congress was illegal, and they have gone on to implore Mugabe to “listen to the voice of the majority” in the ruling party and ignore the advice of Mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies) who they say have hijacked the party and are leading the nonagenarian down the garden path.
Mutasa first courted the wrath of his erstwhile Zanu PF comrades when he recently signed a damning statement which was provocatively written in his former capacity as the ruling party’s secretary for administration.
The no-holds-barred statement called for the nullification of all “purported constitutional amendments drafted and rail-roaded immediately before this so-called congress”, as well as the restoration of the “elective dignity of congress and the one-man one-vote principle as enunciated by our armed struggle and constitution”.
Meanwhile, legal experts say the planned hearing against Mutasa has “fatal defects” even before it gets off — particularly because almost all of the committee members who are going to look into the case have allegedly “compromised” themselves already.
“If the committee attempts to sit to look into the case, it can easily be challenged because apart from all the issues that Mutasa is raising, the bias that its members have already publicly displayed is glaring,” he said.
In the meantime too, Zanu PF’s propaganda war had gone a notch up with another faceless Facebook character, in the mould of the controversial Baba Jukwa, surfacing in recent months and dishing out damaging tidbits about the ugly goings-on in the ruling party. The intrepid political gossip phenomenon, going by the name Zimbabweans for Prosperity (ZFP), already has more than 14 000 likes in the months it has been running.
However, it is believed that hundreds of thousands more people are accessing the page anonymously daily for fear of ending up being accused by thin-skinned officials of being associated with the Internet troll, as happened to some during the Baba Jukwa era.
Like Baba Jukwa before it, it comes across as intimately connected to and in the full know of many of the ugly goings-on within Zanu PF — dishing out a steady stream of sensational claims about the party and its bigwigs, from the days of the liberation struggle to the present.
The page, which uses both Zanu PF and Baba Jukwa lexicon such as Aluta Continua and Asijiki, was created after the disputed July 31, 2013 elections, but only started blowing full steam following the recent worsening of ructions in the ruling party.
ZFP has a cover photo with questions like “why did you go to war you Zanu PF idiots?” and “Where are 2,2 million jobs Zanu PF maggots?”