HARARE – The ugly infighting currently devouring Zanu PF is getting nastier, with party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo coming out guns blazing yesterday and stunningly accusing party members loyal to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting a second “Tsholotsho Declaration”.
The “Tsholotsho Declaration” refers to the failed Zanu PF putsch that allegedly sought to oust President Robert Mugabe from power in 2004.
Addressing a Press conference at Zanu PF’s headquarters in Harare, an angry Gumbo said he could no longer hold his peace on the ugly goings-on in the ruling party, particularly as State media — and chiefly the Herald newspaper — were clearly running a campaign to denigrate Vice President Joice Mujuru.
He further accused the Mnangagwa faction of being manipulative and always scheming to destroy Zanu PF.
“It’s unfortunate that we are witnessing Tsholotsho Two Declaration,” he said.
“The people who were involved in Tsholotsho 2004 are now are involved in Tsholotsho Declaration 2014, the aim being to bring down the government and effect regime change.
“The aim is not only about bringing down President Mugabe, it’s not about bringing down Mujuru, but it’s about bringing down the entire legacy of the liberation struggle. It’s about bringing down all the fighters who died in the bush,” Gumbo added.
Asked to name those who were behind the second Tsholotsho Declaration, Gumbo retorted, “We know them. The six provincial chairmen who were suspended in 2004 are still there and all those who were involved from the Mnangagwa faction are still there”.
A number of senior Zanu PF officials were either suspended or expelled in 2005, after holding a meeting at Dinyane Secondary School in
Tsholotsho in 2004, where an agreement was allegedly struck to oust Mugabe from power and install Mnangagwa in the presidium. Mugabe later on confirmed that a coup had been plotted against by the Mnangagwa faction.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, former Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba, former Manicaland chairman Mike
Madiro and former Cabinet minister July Moyo were among the high-profile casualties of the Tsholotsho debacle who were suspended from the party.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who was viewed as the chief architect of the alleged putsch, was banished from the party and only allowed to rejoin in 2009 after winning elections as an independent. Gumbo said yesterday that Mujuru was the vice president of the country and would remain in that position until Mugabe decided to change that.
He also said the vice president had delivered a “strong and comprehensive” presentation during Thursday’s tense politburo meeting, chronicling her journey with the party.
“What people should bear in mind is that Mujuru, whether we like it or not as of now is still the vice president of Zanu PF and the vice president of Zimbabwe until changes take place,” Gumbo said.
“Accordingly she deserves our respect and protection. We cannot have the vice president of a country being treated the way she has been treated.
“The vice president made a powerful and lucid narrative about how she joined the liberation struggle in 1974 and linked up with President RG Mugabe in Mozambique in 1975.
“She noted that she has never sought any positions in the party. She was always asked to take this or that position in the party and government. She spoke well and eloquently with dignity and maturity, demonstrating her fantastic leadership qualities,” Gumbo added.
Gumbo said those supporting Mujuru had not committed any offence as Mugabe had previously said that the vice president should aim to continue rising up in the party’s leadership ladder.
“When Mai Mujuru was voted to her position as vice president, the president said are we going to leave her on that post or will we support her to rise. And that is what we are precisely following and if there is a change of heart we will be told,” Gumbo said.
The Zanu PF spokesperson expressed his umbrage at how the State media was reporting on Mujuru.
“Politburo called upon the media to report objectively about the politburo deliberations. It was therefore shocking and unfortunate to see the Herald dedicating a lot of pages on the vice president.
“The Herald was particularly negative, damaging and unprofessional.
This is our public media which should report objectively but no, it has decided to go to town about the vice president and on allegations which have not been proven,” he said.
Gumbo said all the allegations that were being peddled against Mujuru “are false and the work of forces who want to bring regime change”.