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As Zanu-PF's brutal factional and succession wars continue unabated, amid growing suggestions that President Robert Mugabe's party could split down the middle, disaffected senior members now taking the nonagenarian head-on say they will neither leave nor be forced out of the former liberation movement by anyone.

In an interview last week, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa  - who still defiantly regards himself as the ruling party's legitimate secretary for administration - said his group had no desire "whatsoever" to leave Zanu-PF and form another political party.

He said their sole aim was to restore "order and constitutionalism in the broken party".

The outspoken nationalist contemptuously dismissed suggestions that he, along with former vice president Joice Mujuru and all her perceived sympathisers wanted to form a new party, saying the only political home he knew was Zanu-PF, and his group was determined to stay put.

"No, no, there is not going to be anything of that nature and I will not start a party and I have told you before that I do not want to be a president at all. I have said this again, again and again.

"In fact, if you look back there is one time that I was being cartooned kuti ndiri kuramba chigaro (that I was refusing to take higher office), so I have not changed. I do not change like weather, I am very consistent - very, very consistent right through my life," Mutasa said.

While he had now crossed swords with some of his former comrades who have remained in government, Mutasa said he had a very good working relationship with Mujuru.

"My working relationship with Mai Mujuru has always been good.  It is very good and it will always be good," he said.

Despite repeated murky reports in lickspittle State media to the contrary, Mujuru and her supporters have consistently denied ever hatching plots to remove Mugabe from power and to assassinate him.

Mutasa also said he was yet to engage Mugabe on the turmoil devouring the party, but would gladly do so if the 90-year-old made himself available when he returns from his long holiday in the Far East.

Asked about the alleged and inordinately negative influence that Mugabe's wife Grace now had on the nonagenarian, Mutasa said, "I do not know. I really do not know. I can tell you the influence my wife has on me and not the First Lady's influence on Baba. I do not know, that's the truth."

With the country's economy almost on its knees and the government evidently clueless, Mutasa said only Mugabe could rescue the country from collapse.

Quizzed on why he was speaking out now, he said he had chosen to do so because Zanu-PF was now like "a broken bicycle" that was in serious need of repair.

"I am speaking now because this has never happened before. This, what we are experiencing now, has never happened. I couldn't talk last year about what is happening now, so why shouldn't I talk about it now.

"There is somebody who said you cannot mend a bicycle until it is broken. This is the principle I am taking. The bicycle is broken and so it needs mending. I could not have mended it before it was broken," he said.

Regarding Zanu-PF's damp squib "elective" congress that was held in Harare last December, Mutasa said: "I was part of the preparations but when the crime was being committed I was ill in India.

"I would have stopped it then, and in fact the way they took it forward was to avoid people like me. I put this issue on the agenda three times and three times it was evaded. That I can say now. I tried to see what was going to be in the final constitution and it was not discussed and I gathered from those who stayed that it was never discussed at all. It was simply presented to the central committee as they had gotten it and that was it.

"If you ask for copies of that constitution now, you do not get any. I have been asking for a copy and I have not received it". In the first part of the exclusive interview that was published in the Daily News at the weekend, a defiant Mutasa said no one could expel him from the "real Zanu-PF" - vowing to do everything in his power to "rescue" the strife-torn party from the brink of collapse.

Pouring his heart out in the interview, as party hawks ratcheted up their vitriolic attacks against him, including pushing for his summary expulsion from the former liberation movement, the strong-willed Mutasa said their "machinations" would come to nothing and he was at peace with the world. He also dismissed contemptuously the recommendation by his Manicaland home province for him to be expelled, saying the only Zanu-PF that he knew and recognised was the one that existed prior to the "criminal congress" held in Harare late last year.

"I want to know which Zanu-PF they are talking about. Is it the Zanu-PF after congress where they are members of, or which came to being after the 6th congress?

"If it is that, I am not a member of that. I am a member of Zanu-PF which goes up to the 6th congress and they cannot expel me from that and because they are not anymore members of that Zanu-PF," he said.

Although Mutasa still fondly refers to Mugabe as Baba (father) he said his erstwhile comrades who participated in the damp squib "elective" last December effectively fired themselves out of the real "law-abiding Zanu-PF".

"They all moved to their Zanu-PF after their congress, which was illegal, and I don't mind how many times they expel me from that because I have never been a member of it," he said.

The outspoken nationalist added that given the liberation struggle history that he shared with Mugabe, he was shocked that Mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies) were now calling the shots in "the Zanu-PF after congress" and "even advocating" for his dismissal from the "real" ruling party.

He gave as examples of Mafikizolos, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Agriculture minister Joseph Made, both of whom, he said, had opted not to join the liberation struggle although they had been old enough to do so.

ALSO READ: Joice Mujuru at advanced stage of launching her own political party, fresh elections loom


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