HARARE - Outspoken former Zanu PF legislator Temba Mliswa has added his voice to growing predictions by disaffected ex-party heavyweights who say President Robert Mugabe and the ruling party stand no chance in the 2018 national elections.
At the same time, the former Hurungwe West Member of Parliament also declared in an interview with the Daily News yesterday that he would never re-join Zanu PF, claiming that the party’s ideology had proved to be in conflict with his own ideas of democracy.
Pointing to the ruling party’s failure to fulfil its 2013 electoral promises, Mliswa said the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai would emerge victorious in the 2018 ballot even if Zanu PF employed “its tried and tested dirty tactics”.
“There is going to be a paradigm shift, not regime change. 2018 is exciting, the electorate is disgruntled… I would like to think that although the MDC is said to be weak, it can still land a soft victory.
“While in Zanu PF they will be saying he belongs to this faction or that, for MDC the message is clear…they (Zanu PF) failed to deliver… Zanu PF has lost the plot,” Mliswa, who is set to challenge Zanu PF as an independent candidate for Hurungwe West in forthcoming by-elections, said.
His remarks dovetail with those of fearless former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda and a host of other liberation war luminaries who have predicted the downfall of the faction riddled Zanu PF.
Mliswa, the first victim of Zanu PF’s brutal factional purges, said his former party had lost the plot by handing two key portfolios, that of administration and the commissariat to Ignatius Chombo and Savior Kasukuwere respectively — two people he said had no traceable history in the party.
“There is no consolidation of power in the party. You talk of two key positions in the party, the commissariat and secretariat belonging to people who have never been to the struggle, who are power hungry and vindictive”.
The voluble ex-legislator also said most of the Zanu PF MPs were going to lose the elections because they had abandoned the people.
“Most of these MPs in Zanu PF are on their way out because they don’t serve the people. A two thirds majority doesn’t mean anything if you don’t work for the people”.
And as national discussion around a grand coalition gathers momentum, Mliswa chose to say he belonged to “a generation of change” and would never work with Zanu PF again.
“Our generation is going to make a statement come 2018. I like change. It will start in Hurungwe, that’s where the real election is. The President must wake up one day and see a 21-year-old as an MP.
“There is going to be a grand coalition. Zanu PF will split, MDC will be there and Hurungwe West will set the pace. I am an advocate of change. This fight is about our generation and it has more voters than any other generation.
“I like MDC MPs (Nelson) Chamisa, Jessie Majome. They have good brains for this country, and will one day sit down and shape the way forward for this country, economically, with good governance,” he said.
Spilling some Zanu PF beans, Mliswa alleged that some ministers such as Chombo (Local Government Rural and Urban Planning), Obert Mpofu (Transport and Communication) and Kasukuwere (Environment) could not account for their vast wealth.
“There are two important things, economy and governance…. He (Chombo) forgot to say that he ... he has plundered the country’s wealth mercilessly without a conscience and you think a leadership like that can win the 2018 election?
“Kasukuwere who plundered the youth money, who today is exporting elephants, and indigenisation is in a mess ... so the president shifted him from that ministry. If he was doing such a great job in that ministry, why didn’t he stay there?
“But they are the guys who are now running the party and for me it was a blessing that I was actually expelled,” Mliswa charged.
Mliswa said corrupt politicians were taking advantage of Mugabe’s forgiving spirit to amass wealth at the expense of the poor majority.
“I even told the president himself that he had a very soft spot for Comrade Chombo and he laughed… The guys are in power because they have been forgiven and they forget that,” he said.
He described his ejection from Zanu PF as a blessing in disguise.
“For me I have to be very honest, I’m not one who vacillates. (Information minister) Jonathan Moyo vacillates, I don’t. He has an agenda of being power hungry and my agenda is to represent people, hence I don’t see myself back in Zanu PF,” Mliswa said.
He added that his stint as a Zanu PF MP had made him realise that he was “in the wrong party” and that his mission lay outside the ruling party.
“For me, it was quite a blessing in disguise that I was fired, I can’t associate with an institution that has no compassion. Expulsion is well received. When I was with Zanu PF as an MP, I tried to push for certain things that didn’t happen. I believe God is using me to send a message, especially to Zanu PF that the electorate has its own thinking,” he said.
Mliswa said he was confident that he would win the Hurungwe West by-election without even convening the constituency for rallies as his works spoke volumes.
“I will win resoundingly even if they rig. People of Hurungwe love me. I’m glad that the constituency is saying if there is anyone who is going to get 20 000 votes it is you. I am not holding meetings because I don’t want violence.”
Mliswa said his Constitutional Court challenge against expulsion was meant to show those in power that dictatorial tendencies could be contested, as well as deter the party from initiating more purgings of loyal members.