ZIMBABWE – Vice President Joice Mujuru’s fate was left hanging on the ropes yesterday after President Mugabe ripped into her backers for fanning factionalism and planning war against him.
President Mugabe slammed Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda for planning to wedge war against him, before turning the whip on Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa and Mashonaland East provincial chair Cde Ray Kaukonde both of whom, he said, had become bigheaded.
Sibanda, Mliswa and Kaukonde have been openly supporting VP Mujuru despite allegations were raised that she was corrupt, subversive and that she had abused her office for personal gain.
President Mugabe was addressing thousands of placard-waving war veterans, youths and women at Zanu-PF headquarters yesterday, who gathered to express displeasure with VP Mujuru and her supporters and demanded that she be booted out of the party and Government.
VP Mujuru has been under fire in the past weeks after First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe exposed sordid deals she had been involved in since taking over the Vice Presidency in 2004, chief among them illicit diamond deals and allegedly demanding 10 percent shares in private companies. She has also been accused of working with opposition parties and her backers in a bid to oust President Mugabe.
Sibanda, whom President Mugabe described as possessed by the spirit of “Beelzebub”, has been accused of undermining the authority of the President when he was quoted this week saying he would not accept a “boardroom and bedroom coup” in apparent reference to the nomination of Amai Mugabe to lead the Women’s League.
President Mugabe said it was Amai Mugabe’s sole decision to accept the nomination, adding that there was nothing wrong with her assuming the post. Said President Mugabe: “Now kuma war veterans, Jabulani hameno ndimi munonzi makamutengera motaka, ndokutaura kunoita vanhu navaMutasa akagozopihwa dzimwe mota shanu dzichibva kuchibusiness here chirikuitwa nava (David) Butau kuMashonaland Central.
“Saka apihwa izvozvo akubva anamata vakamupa. Arasa gwara chose hameno, ko hondo yaari kutaura ihondo yamuka papi? Saka anoda kuita hondo nemasoja angu? Tingade kuzvionaka kuti arikuironga rinhi hondo yacho. Hatidi kuti munhu atengeke zvakadaro. You are not a commodity.” (I heard you bought him a car with the other five cars coming from (David) Butau. What’s this war is he planning? He wants to fight my soldiers?”
The party cadres who gathered at the Zanu-PF headquarters were drawn from the country’s 10 provinces and sang, chanted slogans and waved placards denouncing VP Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Kaukonde and Mliswa.
Some of the placards read: “Jabulani Sibanda, are you even a war vet?”, “Pasi ne10 percent”, “Suduruka hako vanhu vati kwete”, “Pasi nedemon refactionalsim”, “VaMugabe havabviswe nechana chidiki” and “Dr 10% resign now”. The youths were heard singing: “Zimbuya reDotito zimuroyi”, in reference to VP Mujuru who hails from Dotito in Mount Darwin.
Mutasa had a torrid time when he twice failed to address the gathering who continued chanting “Pasi negamatox”.
In response, Mutasa said: “Handimbofa ndakati pasi negamatox. Hamundimanikidze.” (I will never say down with gamatox. You don’t force me.)
President Mugabe said provincial chairpersons had become big headed to the extent of disregarding Politburo decisions.
“Kune machairmen ataona vakabva vadhakwa nehukuru hwavapihwa ihwohwo,” he said. “This is the same with Mashonaland West chairman (Mliswa) who thinks that because he is now a king, above President Mugabe simply because he is the chairman.
“He thinks what he says should stand. The Politburo has made a decision that people should go to congress after all the processes have been done perfectly and other chairmen say no, they have the power. We don’t want a repeat of what happened during the Youth Congress.”
President Mugabe castigated Cde Kaukonde for attempting to disrupt Amai Mugabe’s rallies and fanning factionalism.
When Amai Mugabe went to Mashonaland East during her “Meet the People” tour, youths attempted to disrupt her address by beating drums and singing, allegedly at the behest of Kaukonde.
“Vazoenda (Amai Mugabe) kuMarondera ndokwabva kwatakurwa nengoma nengoma,” President Mugabe said. “Kwagara kuchizivikanwa kuti kune kamurume kanonzi Kaukonde. Zvisingazive vanhu vamwe vedu vechidiki wasarwudza kunzi iwe ndiwe mutungamiri weprovince hauna kupihwa hushe hwekutonga.
“Wanzi unotungamirira vanhu. Kutungamirira hakureve kuti handidi ngana ngana haauye kuno. Unenge uri aniko? (It’s well known that there is a man called Kakuonde. If you are a chairman, it does not mean you impose people.) President Mugabe said the police wanted to stop yesterday’s demonstrations claiming that they were meant to be a violent confrontation against members of the other faction.
He said he did not influence Amai Mugabe’ decision to accept nomination by the Women’s League. President said it was not the first time it had happened since the late First Lady Sally Mugabe had also served in the same capacity. “Kana iyeyo akabvumwa nemusangano, kouyu (Grace Mugabe) akurambirwei?” he said. “Constitution yemusangano hapana payakanyorwa kuti mudzimai waPresident haagone kuva mutungamiri.
“It depends on what she wants. When she was asked to lead women she sought advice from me, but I told her to make her decision. Zvino vabvuma kudaro, kocharwadza vamwe chii?
“Handisi kuzvinzwisisa ini. Charwadza vamwe chii even iye wamurikuti Jabulani, chamurwadza chii?” War veterans have since distanced themselves from Cde Sibanda’s outburst, saying he did not deserve to lead them since he disrespected the President’s bedroom when he said he would not accept a “boardroom and bedroom coup”.
They asked President Mugabe, who is the war veterans patron, to facilitate Cde Sibanda’s replacement by someone else before the forthcoming Zanu-PF elective congress in December. The liberation fighters said Cde Sibanda was not a true war veteran, hence his lack of respect.
President Mugabe implored them to unite with war veterans who were aligned to Sibanda and reconstitute their leadership. He asked the war veterans why they had allowed themselves to be led by a fake war veteran.