HARARE - In a call that is set to send temperatures soaring higher within the warring Zanu PF, vocal supporter of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Energy Mutodi, has called on the ruling party to hold an extra-ordinary congress to install President Robert Mugabe’s successor.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, as Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars burn hotter, the musician and businessman-turned-politician also reiterated his public view that it was time that Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe, whom he described as old and “ailing”.
Mutodi also claimed that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had become so unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections against popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The highly-opinionated Mutodi sentiments come after another vociferous Mnangagwa supporter, former Cabinet minister and war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa, was also emphatic in a recent interview with a UK publication, the New Statesman, that the VP would “100 percent” soon be Zimbabwe’s next president.
In addition, Mutodi said yesterday, anybody who believed that Mnangagwa was “unelectable”, as many of the Midlands godfather’s Zanu PF enemies were fond of saying, was “lost”.
Further, Mutodi said, he fully supported ongoing calls by war veterans for Mugabe to retire, adding that Mnangagwa was “not to blame” for the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s in which an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians were killed mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
“Mugabe must retire. What we must be discussing now is how we share power in Zanu PF post-Mugabe,” he said, adding that it will be very embarrassing for Mugabe if he stood for election again and lost.
“Mnangagwa is too loyal to Mugabe, to the extent that he cannot even express his own views for his boss to retire. It’s up to Mugabe himself to be really thankful to his loyalists who have helped him to remain in power for this long and not the opportunists who praise him during the day and denigrate him during the night.
“This is what the man (Mnangagwa) is made of and he has shown total loyalty and obedience to the president,” Mutodi told the Daily News.
He was also emphatic that he was “even prepared to die” for his views and personal beliefs, adding that the ongoing demand by the Zanu PF women’s league to push a woman back into the presidency, possibly at Mnangagwa’s expense, would come to nought as this would only be entertained in 2019 when the party holds its next elective congress.
“The extra-ordinary congress that we may want to do now is for the 2018 presidential candidate, because we feel our long serving president is now old.
“I don’t think that one deserves to be a VP simply because one is a woman. You must be deserving not because of your sex. We are not going to be entertaining that resolution,” Mutodi said.
He said all conferences until 2019 were not elective, which would make it difficult for the women to see their demand coming to fruition anytime soon.
“Those people raising the issue of the quota system, the likes of (Mandi) Chimene and (Sarah) Mahoka are drug abusers,” he also claimed.
Mutodi torched a similar storm just over a week ago after he appeared in pictures with Mnangagwa who was holding a cup inscribed with the words “I am the boss”, in a saga that has since been dubbed “Cupgate”.
Following the release of the pictures, Mnangagwa’s foes went to town about the issue, interpreting it as the VP’s open statement that he had presidential ambitions.
There were also questions surrounding Mutodi’s presence at the party, which was held by the VP at his rural home, but the businessman said he just found himself at the event, though he did not receive any written invitation like other officials who attended the gathering.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is believed to be a key member of the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which rabidly opposes Mnangagwa, immediately went to town about the “Cupgate” issue.
But Mutodi dismissed the Tsholotsho North MP’s criticism as aimed at causing divisions in the ruling party.
“He is keen to see a war between Mnangagwa and Mugabe. I have always reminded him that there is nowhere he can go with factionalism.
“He has been said to have claimed that he wanted to destroy Zanu PF from within and any normal person will tell you that he is perhaps doing that now, starting with the expulsion of (former Vice President Joice) Mujuru and other senior party members, among them 16 or so ministers.
“That was not a joke and that issue could have been solved within the party amicably and people should not have been expelled in such large numbers.
“He is in the habit of divisive politics and right now President Mugabe has been alienated from the people who liberated the country, the war veterans,” Mutodi said.
“He (Moyo) is the Judas of Zanu PF. He doesn’t want the party to succeed because he has got grievances against the party that date back to the 1980s.
“He is not happy that the party continues to win elections. He has been in and out of the party and for the president to trust that individual is the biggest blunder he (Mugabe) has ever done,” he added.