Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, after his appointment in 2015, alienated his old war time friends and surrounded himself with dubious characters who misled him into engaging in factional politics, former Cabinet Minister, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said yesterday.
Mr Mphoko was two weeks ago recalled by the ruling Zanu-PF party from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary of the party over allegations of being divisive, a member of the G40 cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office.
He was recalled on the day the party also recalled former President Cde Robert Mugabe from the position of party First Secretary and replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom the ruling party also reinstated as a Central Committee member.
Mnangagwa was eventually sworn in as State President last Friday following the resignation of Mugabe on Tuesday.
The party further recommended that Mr Mphoko, former First Lady, Mrs Grace Mugabe, fellow members of the G40 cabal namely Saviour Kasukuwere, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Ignatius Chombo, Patrick Zhuwao, Letina Undenge, Kudzanai Chipanga, Walter Mzembi, Paul Chimedza, Makhosini Hlongwane, Anastancia Ndlovu, Mandi Chimene, Dr Samuel Undenge, Sarah Mahoka, Mpehlabayo Malinga, Xavier Kazizi, Tongai Kasukuwere, Innocent Hamandishe, Eunice Sandi Moyo and Shadreck Mashayamombe be expelled from the party.
In an interview, Rtd Col Dube, the former War Veterans Minister, said Mr Mphoko, once a personal friend of his, ignored all advice and warnings against aligning himself with the wrong people. “Mphoko was my personal friend; we worked together for a long time in the Zipra High Command. However, when he assumed power, I was disappointed because he surrounded himself with the wrong people who gave him bad advice,” he said.
“He got new friends in the form of the likes of George Mlala. This is where he got things wrong because he involved himself with dubious characters with a very bad history. They misled him into playing factional politics with the G40 people.
“I think you remember that at one point Mphoko dressed me down at (Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial headquarters) Davies Hall when he said I should work with the Mlala group and the rest of the G40 cabal or my political life would come to an end.”
Rtd Col Dube said they were happy that Mr Mphoko, the first former Zipra commander to be appointed Vice President (all his predecessors came from the PF Zapu party side), would use his position in the presidium to unite people and bring war veterans together.
“He however, got there and aligned himself with a clique that was commanded by Mlala.
“A group of self appointed leaders of the war veterans like Mandi Chimene who were never elected by the people.”
Efforts to counsel Mr Mphoko, Rtd Col Dube said, yielded nothing as the former Vice President stuck to the G40 cabal where he became a willing vessel to carry out a sinister factional agenda.
“We tried to talk to him but he refused to listen and stuck with his clique of dubious characters. There is an old English saying that goes, ‘show me your friends and I will tell your character’.
“Mphoko chose the people who contributed to his political misfortunes. Maybe it’s because he lacked people skills having worked away from the people for more than 30 years only to be given such a big position,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said because of the bad advice Mr Mphoko received from his friends, he embarked on projects not befitting his status as Vice President and fell short in filling the shoes of his predecessors.
One such project was the distribution of chicks which turned out to be a monumental failure.
“How does one distribute chicks to people who are failing to feed themselves and expect that the project will succeed? It’s dangerous and it is no wonder that the chicks died and the project failed,” said Rtd Col Dube.