- Published: 16 December 2014
- Written by Herald
Zanu-PF secretary for production and labour in the Politburo Cde Josaya Hungwe has sparked outrage for likening Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to Jesus Christ, with analysts saying such slavish hero-worshipping had the danger of creating an alternative centre of power in Zanu-PF which the party's just-ended 6th National People's Congress rectified by killing factionalism.
In the run-up to Congress, the popular slogan was "Gushungo chete chete, One Zanu-PF, One Centre Of Power'' which was a dig at the Mujuru cabal that claimed the disgraced former VP was de facto party leader though de jure (at law) President Mugabe was the Party's First Secretary and President.
Cde Hungwe, who was speaking as he introduced Cde Mnangagwa, at a gathering in Zvishavane convened to celebrate his ascension to the Vice Presidency of the party and Government equated the new VP to "The Holy Son of Man".
Said Cde Hungwe: "This man who has been made VP has various names that we all know but some of the names you don't know them . . . He is known as the Son of Man . . . I can tell you that I received several texts from Bishop Andrew Wutaunashe (leader of the Family of God church) telling me that the Son of Man will be ordained VP way before these things happened and I just told him that I had heard him because I know he is a Man of God."
Efforts to get comment from Cde Wutaunashe were fruitless.
However, Zanu PF supporters yesterday said Cde Hungwe's conduct and slavish remarks had the potential of creating another centre of power in the party and implied that VP Mnangagwa was above the one who appointed him.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that Cde Hungwe had implied that Cde Mnangagwa should have 'struck in 1980 but waited to strike now?' I would love to know what he meant by that? Was he saying Cde Mnangagwa should have been the Prime Minister?
"Such reckless talk should be nipped in the bud," said Gloria Peresu in remarks sent on The Herald mobile platform.
Cde Hungwe was quoted saying Cde Mnangagwa behaved like a real crocodile which does not hunt for its prey but lies in wait in shallow water to strike prey that come for a drink.
"It's a matter of calculation because a crocodile does not hunt but waits for its time…those who wanted it to strike in 1980 got it all wrong. It only caught at the right time," Cde Hungwe was quoted as saying.
Another reader, Tonderai Chiromo had no kind words for Cde Hungwe accusing him of exhibiting loyalty to an individual and not the party, Zanu-PF, itself a harbinger for factional tendencies.
"These statements are ordinarily uttered by somebody in the stable of political allegiance to a specific individual obviously buying current and future favours and advantages," Mr Chiromo said.
"If that person does not believe in God and is not a Christian, he is bound to worship a living man for political advantages. Anybody who is a Christian and worships God will consider such remarks as blasphemous.
Cde Hungwe's statements, he said, suggested that "here comes the anointed one replacing the existing political centre of power."
"The statements further undermine the power of ascendancy process that were followed by Zanu-PF at the 6th National Congress. In that regard one now looks at Cde Hungwe seemingly celebrating the victory of the Mnangagwa faction against the Mujuru faction. In essence, Cde Hungwe spoke like the spokesperson of a winning faction at the national congress."
Another analyst said Cde Hungwe was trying too hard to impress the newly installed Vice President and his blasphemous statement should be condemned in the strongest terms. He said Cde Hungwe and other people of similar inclination should be stopped from their tracks before they inflict the sort-of damage that ensued from former Vice President Joice Mujuru's shenanigans.
"It is precisely this kind of tone, language and attitude in addressing leaders that led us to the Joice Mujuru's fiasco. We expect the national leaders to be temperate and sober in addressing persons in position of responsibility," she said.
Such praise singing and psycho-fanatic expression, she said, were not helpful in the construction of a productive and unified administration.
"While the idea of celebrating elevation through the party is common and understandable, such events should not be used for purposes of propping up the appointee to the level of higher than whatever is being celebrated," said the analyst.
"Honourable Hungwe seemed to be shifting the spotlight from the unity and order that had been established at the national Congress, to VP Mnangagwa apparently for purposes of accumulating cheap political points for himself. Unfortunately his effort threatened the best interest of his party."
In his address VP Mnangagwa thanked President Mugabe for the appointment.
He said his family and close team had lined up parties to celebrate his appointment in Zvimba and at his Sherwood Farm in Kwekwe.
Cde Hungwe; whose sentiments would have made former Local Government and National Housing deputy minister, the late Tony Gara, green with envy could not be reached for a comment last night.
Cde Gara torched a storm when he likened President Mugabe to Jesus Christ.
But he later refuted the claims saying: "How can I liken Mugabe to Jesus? There is only one Jesus and he can't be matched by anybody,"
Cde Gara passed on in 2006 and was buried in his rural home in Zvimba.