HARARE - In an unexpected turn of events, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa has called on all democratic forces, including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, to join him in the “real Zanu PF” to rescue the country from its current political and economic crises.
In an apparent response to the weekend appeal by MDC national executive member Nelson Chamisa, for Mutasa and other disaffected Zanu PF stalwarts to join hands with the MDC as the only way to defeat what he called the spectre of tyranny in the country, Mutasa said yesterday that this was not the solution.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News, the Headlands legislator said it did not make sense “to leave a vibrant organisation (the real Zanu PF), notwithstanding the challenges” it was facing at the moment.
“No, we cannot join the MDC. If anything, they should come and join Zanu PF because we are the biggest party.
“Everyone in MDC was once in Zanu PF, including Tsvangirai. So, it should be them who come to Zanu PF, not the other way round,” Mutasa said.
He said even though he and other Zanu PF officials, including former vice president Joice Mujuru, had been treated unfairly by their erstwhile colleagues in the Zanu PF that emerged post the party’s disputed “elective” congress that was held in Harare last December, he would never leave the “real Zanu PF” and join another party.
“I have never left Zanu PF and I will never leave the party. I am in the old Zanu PF and I belong in that Zanu PF. However, I am not in the illegal Zanu PF and that one I do not recognise,” Mutasa said.
Addressing party supporters in Kuwadzana on Sunday, Chamisa said it was good that Mutasa and other prominent Zanu PF members now agreed with the MDC that the ruling party had too many “fatal deficiencies” to be allowed to continue misruling the country.
“We call upon people like Mujuru, Mutasa and all other democratic forces to come and join Tsvangirai. I even told Mutasa come, come, come and unite with us as Zimbabweans to extricate the country from the economic mess that it finds itself in,” Chamisa said.
The Kuwadzana East legislator said all democratic forces should take advantage of Tsvangirai’s massive grassroots support and coalesce around him if they entertained any hopes of dislodging Zanu PF from power.
But Mutasa, who maintains that he is still the bona fide Zanu PF secretary for administration, said opposition parties interested in democracy instead should join the “real Zanu PF” to advance the interests of all Zimbabweans.
Meanwhile, the ruling party’s disciplinary committee, headed by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, that will decide Mutasa’s fate is set to start its work soon, following the return of First Lady Grace Mugabe from her long Far East sojourn, where she allegedly underwent a minor medical operation.
But even then, there is apparently serious disagreement among Zanu PF hardliners about how to deal with the dissenting former Presidential Affairs minister, who is also contemplating dragging Zanu PF to court.
Although Mugabe and his legal advisors have warned Mutasa against taking the court route, Mutasa is undeterred and insists that the party should repudiate its December congress and return to a more democratic dispensation.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that while some of the hawks were agitating for Mutasa’s summary dismissal from the party — as had happened with former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda and former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo — others were not sure that this would serve the warring party’s interests.
Grace demonstrated the immense power she now wields in Zanu PF when Cabinet ministers, service chiefs and Zanu PF bigwigs scrambled to Harare International Airport to welcome her back to the country on Sunday after she had been away in the Far East for more than two months.
Most observers were agreed that the fact that senior government and Zanu PF officials had felt compelled to converge at the airport to welcome her back to Zimbabwe in the manner that they did spoke volumes about how much political power she now wielded in the country.
President Robert Mugabe himself admitted during the ruling party’s damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare late last year that Grace now often directed him what to do.
There was much pomp and ceremony as Grace arrived at the airport, with one senior Zanu PF official who spoke to the Daily News describing her welcome as “fitting for a Queen”.
“She (Grace) is now probably the most powerful politician in Zimbabwe, which is why her welcome back to the country today almost rivalled the treatment that the president gets when he returns from his trips abroad.
“To not go and pay homage to Amai at the moment amounts to virtual political suicide and everyone knows this. Her welcome was fitting for a Queen,” the central committee member who requested anonymity said.
Among the bigwigs at the airport were Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, politburo member Shuvai Mahofa and fast-rising Youth league boss Pupurai Togarepi.
Mugabe himself only came back from the family holiday late last month, claiming at the time that he had left his wife in the Far East recuperating, after she had undergone a medical operation. Mugabe reportedly sneaked out of the country a few days ago so that he would accompany his wife home.
Speaking at the welcome party, Togarepi wasted no time in reminding the gathered Zanu PF bigwigs that it was in fact “Comrade Stop It”, as Grace is now popularly known in party circles, who was in control.
He bluntly told them that the honeymoon was over for those who had taken advantage of her absence to misbehave and frustrate the ruling party’s youths.
“We are happy as the Youth League that mother (Grace) you are back. We were being persecuted when you were away. When a mother is not there, others take advantage and push you, but this is our time to report them to you” he said to loud applause.