'Mugabe must be replaced by a Mugabe'.

HARARE - THE ruling Zanu PF party  is divided over President Robert Mugabe’s succession, a situation that is now affecting government business  amid threats of war from the warring factions if their  preferred candidates to take over from the soon-to-be 93-year-old leader are sidelined.

Our senior writer Mugove Tafirenyika (Q) caught up with Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzanai Chipanga (A) to discuss this and other issues.

(Q) The Zanu PF youth league is leading preparations for the 21st February Movement. How far have you gone?

(A) Preparations are now at an advanced stage after we set up provincial and national preparatory committees. We will be having a fundraising dinner to ensure that all the necessary logistics are in place.

(Q)  What figures are you looking at raising?

(A)   We used to set ourselves targets to say how much do we need for the event but this time around, we have been alerted that the delegates will be more than we normally have so we are just looking at raising as much as we can to make sure that all the people are well taken care of.

Mashonaland provinces have pledged to bring about 10 000 delegates each because of the distance from the venue while those that a closer, Matabeleland, provinces, Masvingo and Midlands will bring more than that so it’s going to be massive and it will require quite a lot of resources but we are confident we will pull through.

(Q) Your critics say your choice of Matopos as the venue for this year’s celebrations is meant to provoke the people of Matabeleland given that some of their relatives are Gukurahundi victims who are buried in mass graves there.

(A) These allegations have unfortunately been overtaken by events. I assume they were not in the country when our national fathers … President Mugabe and the late vice president Joshua Nkomo  took the bold step to sign the unity  accord as a way of closing that chapter.

I therefore do not think there is any patriotic citizen who would want to open those wounds again so the opposition can say all they want but we are going ahead.

We know they oppose everything that we do but we also know that it’s their duty to oppose us.

They opposed the liberation struggle, they opposed the land reform programme, they oppose Zanu PF when it gives inputs to farmers to revive agriculture so they can continue to do that.

(Q) War veterans say Mugabe should relinquish power because he is too old and that he must hand over to Mnangagwa.  What is your take on that?

(A) In Shona we say haisi mhosva kurota asi hazvina kunaka kufamba uchirotomoka  (Day dreaming is not a criminal offence but it is not good to daydream in this way) like what these comrades are doing.

It’s only their wish and it remains a wish ...They think… President Mugabe is a war veterans leader but he is a national leader and citizens are far more than war veterans

It is unfortunate when you realise that the leadership of the war veterans, the three or four comrades, were part of us when we campaigned for the president in 2013 elections but now we assume they didn’t know what they were doing.

They did not know that the terms would start in 2013 and end in 2018 and for them to start saying before the end of his term he must hand over power is very unfortunate. It looks like they have a short memory.

They need to be reminded that power is not handed over to anyone, it is contested. That is the essence of the democracy that they went to war for.  We have made it clear as a party that he is our candidate for 2018 and the future and as youths we are fully behind him.

If the entire nation voted for him who are they to want to reverse that? They think that a president is elected so that he hands over power. No it doesn’t work like that.

(Q) I am aware you are on record saying youths want Mugabe to be life president. But should the unexpected happen, and Mugabe is incapacitated, who would you prefer as youths to take over from him?

(A) We cannot imagine a situation where we do not have our president but should we be forced into that situation we would second someone with the name Mugabe because that name is sellable. Our people have gotten addicted to that name and they will easily vote for such a name as long as it has been forwarded by Zanu PF.

(Q) What do you mean? That you want one of Mugabe’s relatives including his wife and children to take over and create a dynasty of some sort?

(A) It is not secret that the youth league and the women’s league work closely together hence we will have no problem with supporting a woman to any position of the party including presidency as long as it is done according to the dictates of the Zanu PF constitution and like I have said, that person must carry the name Mugabe.

By the way it (Zanu PF constitution) does not bar women from contesting. Our point is that we prefer to go into an election riding on the back of the Mugabe brand. It does us good to have the name Mugabe on the ballot paper than someone with a name say like Chipanga.

(Q) You have also vowed to take up arms if war veterans attempt to impose Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor at a time they have also threatened bloodshed.  How do you intend to wage such a war given suggestions that military chefs are said to be backing them?

(A) The aspect of the army is secondary. What is important is what the people want. One can have the support of the armed people but our biggest weapon is the will of the people.

As long as we will be fighting to make sure that their will is not subverted by way of attempting to take power without going to an election as provided for by the law, then we are guaranteed their support.

The fact that our fathers went to war to liberate this country means that there is already a revolutionary spirit. Zimbabweans are courageous and keen enough to liberate themselves.

Over and above that, we have got the energy and willpower to fight for that just cause. We are further emboldened by the fact that we will all be doing it for the sake of the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the owner of the army and the arms making it even easier for us.

(Q) Are you not worried that the infighting in the party that has divided it into two will affect your performance in next year’s elections?

(A) Zanu PF is not divided although we might have some rogue elements who masquerade as Zanu PF spokespersons such as the likes of Energy Mutodi who is more of a musician than a politician.

We, however, don’t take what he says as a political statement because to us he is just a musician-turned-comedian and when he speaks we assume he is singing a boring song being the poor musician that he is.

So we don’t take that seriously when we hear such funny characters as him say something. He is just like Thomas Mapfumo who criticises Zanu PF and has made a lot of negative comments about government and our president but it changes nothing. The only difference is that Mapfumo has an established band and Mutodi doesn’t but basically they represent the same interests.

But overally, the party is ready for elections next year and we are confident of a landslide victory.

(Q) What is your comment regarding Mnangagwa’s “Cupgate” scandal?

(A) Let Mnangagwa answer that for himself given that he is an adult, he is fit and alive and always available. It would not be proper for me to respond on his behalf as if I am his spokesperson.

(Q) Zanu PF promised to create 2,2 million jobs but so far this has proved to be a pie in the sky. How do you hope to convince the electorate, come 2018?

(A) When we promised to create jobs, it did not mean Zanu PF employing Zimbabweans but making sure as the ruling party that conditions for employment creation are put in place.

This includes reviving the productive sectors of the economy and genuinely fighting corruption by public officials not pursuing individuals on the basis of personal grudges.

The party and government is, for example, rehabilitating Kariba power station, supporting the agricultural sector,  coming up with protectionist measures such as the import ban, meaning that if all this is done along with other several projects, a lot of companies that have closed shop owing to say unavailability of agricultural produce to process will start to get raw materials so business resumes.

So I can safely say we are still on the right track.

 

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Comments (3)

Madness

Ziggy Zigawo - 3 February 2017

Please, please, can somebody tell that stupid chipanga to shut the fuck up. We are sick, sick, sick and tierd of reading this hencman's stupid repulsive suicidal statements, enough.

nhemacena - 3 February 2017

I wish this fella understood what he is speaking about, coz the people are waiting for practical salvation from scourges of poverty rather than being told crap about companies shutting down because of the apparent lack raw materials like agricultural produce, this guy is really pathetically cynical , people want money not the stuff you are talking about , such as misguided protectionism lord help!!!

POLITICAL PROPHETS - 4 February 2017

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