ZIMBABWE – HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru is probably rubbing her hands in glee after Zanu PF fired her tormentor-in-chief war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa, proving indeed there are no permanent friends in politics.
Leading to Mujuru’s ouster from Zanu PF in December 2014, Mutsvangwa was in the fore-front of demonising the former vice president, calling her names as well as going as far as disputing the wildly held version that she downed a plane at the height of the war of liberation.
The war veterans’ leader is also on record as having accused Mujuru of looting millions of dollars earmarked for a telecommunications company for the former freedom fighters and allegedly gave some of the money to exiled businessman James Makamba.
Mutsvangwa has also crossed swords with Zanu PF political commissar Saviours Kasukuwere who labelled war veterans drunkards.
Ahead of the Zanu PF conference held in Victoria Falls last week there were reported political machinations to push for the removal of Kasukuwere from the post of national political commissar but these was allegedly crushed President Robert Mugabe who said it is only the congress with powers to change leadership.
Mutsvangwa, whose wife Monica has suffered the same fate of being fired from the party, has reportedly also rubbed the wrong way Mugabe’s wife, Grace.
Macdonald Lewanika, the former director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition now studying in the United Kingdom, says the fate which has fallen Mutsvangwa, is a clear demonstration of how there are no permanent friends in politics just interests.
Lewanika said Mutsvangwa is a victim of the age old wisdom that if you live by the sword, often enough you die by it.
“But perhaps more importantly, Mutsvangwa’s ousting shows us that the succession debate in ZANU PF was not resolved by the axing of Mujuru, in the same way it is not settled by the axing of Mutsvangwa who ironically has met the same fate he meted to Mujuru and (Sylvester) Nguni, whose recent ouster he probably supported without knowing that the same fate awaited him. It is indeed a long way to the Presidency in ZANU PF for the pretenders, and we are likely to see heads continue to roll at different levels, for as long as the party refuses to institute a democratic, participatory way to settle the issue.”
Vivid Gwede, a Harare-based political analyst closely following developments in Zanu PF, says Mutsvangwa now knows that what goes around comes around.
“It reminds of Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller who said: “…then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew… When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”
“Anyway, what all these politicians miss is that they are all trapped by a system of oppression which is easily angered by any semblance of criticism. Apart from the fact that they here and there benefit from the patronage and help strengthen the unjust system, they are all part of the oppressed,” said Gwede.
Takura Zhangazha, Harare-based popular political blogger and analyst, weighed in pointing out that Mutsvangwa’s own methods are now back being used against him by his former allies.
“The only lucky part is that he is not actually in the provincial structure and therefore his retaining his position is up to the president more than it is about lower level structures,” said Zhangazha.
But other critics charge that Mutsvangwa, a disgraced former ZBC director general and former diplomat in the USA and China forgot that people who stay in glass houses should not throw stones.