'Mugabe must name successor'

HARARE - With Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars continuing to rip both the ruling party and the country apart, one of President Robert Mugabe’s long time friends and comrade, Cephas Msipa, has urged him to groom a successor to put Zimbabwe on a stronger footing.

Writing in his explosive book titled: In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice, Msipa criticised Mugabe for failing to promote the necessary debate on his succession, and suggests that by failing to do so, the increasingly frail nonagenarian is responsible for the turmoil ravaging Zimbabwe.

A constant theme throughout the book is the country’s fragile democracy and the myriad political and economic challenges that its citizens continue to encounter, which prompt Msipa to ask the question, “is this the freedom we suffered and sacrificed for”?

“Sometime in 2003, several senior members of Zanu PF asked me to persuade President Robert Mugabe to name and groom the person who would eventually succeed him.

“These people were not wishing Mugabe to go away, they were only saying that one day he will go, as is the way of all flesh,” Msipa reveals in the book.

He also says that he used his long-standing friendship with Mugabe, and the comfort of the knowledge that he would not be suspected of harbouring any ulterior motives if he raised the sensitive issue with the president, to approach his old friend with the proposal.

“I regret that I was unsuccessful in this bid as the president insisted that his successor would be democratically-elected by Zanu PF members through the appropriate structures. In theory, Mugabe is correct but in practice what he suggests may not work.

“I remain convinced that the current contentious approach to the succession is wasteful, destabilising and inappropriate for a country with such a fragile economy,” Msipa writes ruefully.

Citing past examples where Zanu PF has tried to chart a number of succession and democracy paths, the former Midlands governor says that “if the past is anything to go by, the attempt to democratise the party has been met with hostility”.

He also says bluntly that Zanu PF is to blame for the economic rot afflicting Zimbabwe.

“By and large, Zanu PF leaders and members seem oblivious to the critical bearing their conduct has on the nation, and particularly on the economy.

“Zanu PF conduct looms large in the minds of potential investors, and the constant upheavals and bickering within the party give the impression of instability,” Msipa writes.

He says the effects of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration of 2004, which resulted in a number of senior party officials being expelled from the party, pointed to the fact that “no one was to challenge the power of the president to install his anointed appointees into any position”.

Shooting from the hip further, Msipa dismisses the various charges that have been levelled against former Vice President Joice Mujuru as a mere “barrage of sensational publicity centred on unproven allegations of corruption, sabotage and assassination plots, and peppered with accusations of witchdoctors unleashing charms”.

And warning that the country could soon descend into an ungovernable abyss because of conflict within the top echelons of power spawned by the unresolved succession issue, Msipa says Mugabe has the means to end the deadly factionalism devouring Zanu PF.

“In all this, Robert Mugabe has the power to remove causes of factionalism. That has been my call and it will remain my call,” he writes emphatically.

Analysts say the respected Zanu PF elder’s book could set the cat among the pigeons within government and ruling party circles as it spotlights democracy deficiencies in the country, as well as how authorities did little as an estimated 20 000 innocent people, mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands, were brutally killed by the Fifth Brigade in the early 1980s.

The book dismisses the official massaging of narratives on the Gukurahundi atrocities as “a moment of madness”, saying as the massacres happened over a period spanning more than five years, they cannot therefore be described as such.

“Innocent men, women and children perished in their thousands. They were accused of either harbouring dissidents or supporting them. It turned out to be a massacre of people perceived to be PF Zapu supporters.

“The fact that the people were Ndebele-speakers was regarded as sufficient proof that they were PF Zapu supporters and therefore dissident supporters,” reads part of the book.

He also described the statement that the massacres were “a moment of madness” — which is attributed to President Robert Mugabe — as absurd, adding that three decades after Gukurahundi was launched, it still raised “more questions than answers”.

“Gukurahundi was not a day’s event or a ‘moment of madness’. It began in 1981 and continued until 1987 when the unity accord was signed.

“There were meetings at which the matter was raised in my presence, and Mugabe insisted that the matter be discussed so he could learn more about what had happened and was still happening.

“The question is why did he not know what was happening when it was in the media and many human rights organisations and churches were publicly protesting (about it),” Msipa writes.

Despite the two men enjoying a decades-long friendship, Msipa was fired from Mugabe’s Cabinet during the Gukurahundi era and placed under house arrest, something he says still puzzles him up to this day.

A man of steadfast principles and strong convictions, Msipa also says in the book that when Zanu split from Zapu in the early 1960s, he was allegedly approached by Mugabe to desert Nkomo, but refused.

“When the split occurred, Mugabe had approached me and asked if I would join Zanu. I told him I would not because I did not trust Ndabaningi Sithole.

“He then said to me, ‘I hope this will not affect our relationship’.

“Why should it?’ I replied, and indeed it in no way affected our friendship, which continues up to now. He remains my ‘muzukuru’ and I remain his ‘sekuru’”.

Msipa also touches on the disputed 2008 elections in his book and says it was during the presidential run-off elections where the “army was active” that he had decided to end his illustrious political career, as he had been appalled by the army’s involvement in the elections.

“At one election meeting, in Chief Mazvihwa’s area in Zvishavane, I was surprised to find myself sharing a platform with army commanders.

“I kept asking myself, ‘is this the freedom we fought for?’ ... it was there that I made up my mind that I would never again participate in elections where people were openly threatened and intimidated into voting for any political party,” Msipa said.

Comments (16)

Gushungo is grooming his wife Grace as his successor. Mnangagwa has been nikuved for been a ruthless killer. Today Mugabe is blamed for the Gukurahundi attrocities and murder of MDC-T supporters in 2008 because of Mnangagwa who was killing for the master to the extent that the master was also terrified. If ever Mugabe is going to nominate his successor it is not going to be Mnangagwa. We have suffered enough as a nation, as a people and as the opposition. Nhamo isingaperi inhamo rudzii? Chii chatakatadzira vanhu veZanuPF?

Jonathiel Moyowaonda - 28 November 2015

Indeed chisingaperi chinoshura. It's about time we see some real change towards democratisation . I have had the opportunity of living in countries where every human being is treated as equals . In Zimbabwe it's a different story and I have always asked myself what if Bob wakes up dead? What will these animals in ZANU pf do? Are they going to respect the constitution ?

Be warned! - 28 November 2015

Fungi, wareswa headline. It should read Grace must name successor to Mugabe. Or precisely grace declares herself successor to her husband Mugabe. Vakazwiwanira zwikukuvatavata zwavo muZimbabwe. All what they need to do is use the Womens League - league yembudzi - kuita zwavanoda.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 28 November 2015

China is now in control and will decide who takes control, full stop, end of story.

Basic Truth - 29 November 2015

The best thing for this country is to have zanu out of power that is the only right direction that can lead us to recovery which has seen us lagging 20 years behind all third world nations in the whole world . Whether they is a new leader for zanu or not the fact is we can not afford zanu in govt in this country even for 2hours no ways . Why try to run away from the fact that the problem for everyone in zimbabwe is zanu and Mugabe and if these two things are removed from power this country will see development resuming once more .Sticking with a political party and its leader which has failed for 35 years is being foolish and dull.

Diibulaanyika - 29 November 2015

ZANU PF must be removed from power period. Naming a successor is the equivalence of naming another oppressor.

Ndevuziqamulamankomitsho & Thambolenyoka - 29 November 2015

In the interest of both Zimbabwe and China, maybe China should consider enticing Mugabe into retirement.A financial package that helps fix the Zimbabwe economy and look after Mugabe and his family might just do the trick. The old man needs to retire while saving face at the same time.

Collins Vambe - 29 November 2015

Cde Mugabe taneta nemi mudhara chi zorora wakapisa General Mujuru iwe Na chiwenga muchishandisa ka ngochani kanonzi Ray Mutadza no we know so remember what goes around comes around Chiwenga tinewe Bob wacho tinewe

cdetorasabutiende - 29 November 2015

Guys ini suggest another bhora musanga pa 2018 becoz the way l think is that anyone else will be easy to remove akangonetsa se zvataitwa na Cde Bobonto so People First Ndizvo

cdetorasabutiende - 29 November 2015

People first is zanu and will if a mistake is made and they get in power they will repeat what they are doing now to hell with people first bcoz it is the other version of zanu /

Chimedza matombo - 29 November 2015

Chidhara ichi chiri selfish ende hapana wachinopa pito. But on the other side, why should someone expect to be handed over such a good and powerful post without sweating. Aiwazve Mugabe worked hard for this post and you expect vana Munangagwa kuti vangotora ziya rakwe nyore here. Hazviite. Whoever wants to be a president must work hard for that and not waiting to be named "successor". Kkkkkk!!!

Muponyeri - 30 November 2015

Mudhara bob sando dzako ,urigamba chairo kwete just because akarwa hondo asi nechikonzero chekuti ane nharo neunhubu.mudhara hapana zvaangamboitwa achatobva nerufu

comrade gabarinocheka svirochete - 30 November 2015

yu all lost but papi?Succesor isu mu zanu is now well known.President Mugabe appoited VPmnangagwa,yes.Who is running government now/?who do ministers report to now,i mean developmental ministers,not Zhuwawos n that lot.Real ministers.They report to ngwena even bfo cabinet.If anything goes wrong with our president ,its automatic ,Mnangagwa will take oath n contiue running gorvnment.simple.Yu want president Mugabe to shout the name ,he did so already n look no further than Ngwena.Who else can summon military council besides Mugabe and Mnangagwa?NOONE.Who is Chinamasa reporting to now?ngwarai mhani.zviripachena izvi.Saka muchivhiringwa naana mhamhi,becoz yu listern toomuch to mothers shouting.Listern to men,baba vemba,becoz when Baba speaks let no dog bark .

viola gwena - 30 November 2015

as long as its not mdc t in power. whether its people first or ngwena it doesn't matter. isu watisingade ndi save wemadzimai mazhinji. havadiwo kubva pachigaro just like it is in zanu pf. we don't want the same thing happening to us with morgan achirambira pachigaro. no no guys.

zvirozviyedzwa - 30 November 2015

Uri duzvi futseke

Chimedza matombo - 30 November 2015

Bobo can not stop the rot and tongoseka hedu isu ma Zimba. Problem is bob became too power hungry forgetting that he will die one day...one thing (among many others) that President Mandela got right was that he allowed the country to get used to the idea that it is o.k. to change leadership so that the country (S.A.) can move on long after he was gone and Mandela only served one term and one term only because he had accomplished his mission and left the opportunity for others to improve on other matters. Manje wedu uyu muchembere haadi kupasa baton stick. Bob can live to be 500 years but he will never finish what he wants to do...hell we can give him 1000 lifetimes...nehudofo hwake hapana chinobuda

obama4eva - 1 December 2015

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