ZANU PF is not taking lightly the threat posed by its former leader, Robert Mugabe, who has refused to retire quietly following his forced resignation last November.
Mugabe has been taking pot-shots at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, saying its rise to power was through a “coup”.
He has since taken his message to the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
But seeing that there is inaction from both the AU and Sadc, he has lately been using his private residence in Borrowdale, Harare to agitate resistance against Zanu PF at the polls.
In a statement issued yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said the ruling party has noted with grave concern attempts by certain elements of the society, including some political parties and the media, to impugn the legitimacy of the presidency of Mnangagwa on the “false premise” that his ascendancy to the highest office was a consequence of a military coup.
“The party is also aware of some related utterances associated with the former provincial affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri’s resignation from the party. It is abundantly clear that the notion is grossly misplaced and is a mere cheap profiling by individuals with the agenda to secure political relevance,” said Khaya-Moyo.
Asked if Zanu PF was worried by the new political outfit’s association with Mugabe, he said “I have no evidence to that effect, I have not spoken to him and I don’t want to think for him because he is a seasoned politician”.
Khaya-Moyo said one of the reasons why Mutinhiri could have decided to lead the new party was that he lost his ministerial post when Mnangagwa came to power.
The Zanu PF Youth League told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe should come out in the open and stop using proxies such as the New Patriotic Front to re-launch himself politically.
“As the youth league, we view this as child play and we are ready for them. To us, it’s a bunch of failures trying to come back into politics, but that they are failures is their problem not ours. What Mugabe should know is … we respect him only if he respects us,” said Zanu PF politburo member and leader of the ruling party’s youth wing, Pupurai Togarepi.
“If he decides to rock the boat and then his actions affect the stability of the party … he should be ready for the storm to come… we will not be soft with him,” said Togarepi.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) yesterday said they were ready to strip Mugabe of the multiple farms he grabbed at the height of the land reform programme they spearheaded.
Znlwva secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, who is also a member of the influential Zanu PF politburo, said Mugabe risks everything.
“The old man is being misguided. Remember he walked away when he did not deserve to walk away a free man. While he was starring at an impeachment, he agreed to resign and avoided embarrassment; he was supposed to be sentenced to prison but the people of Zimbabwe forgave him but now we are seeing that he does not have a culture of appreciation…
“He forgets that during his 37-year rule he took the people … for granted, and now he wants to destabilise the country. The question now is; when are we going to withdraw the pension that was offered to him? He cannot continue having it both ways.
“He is the person who brought the policy — one family one farm — yet he has over 14 farms and he must lose those, and we are ready to take them as war veterans…” said Matemadanda.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said now that Mugabe has proved to be angling to form his own party — he will “taste the bitter medicine” he used to give to opposition parties when he was still the boss.
“This could be interpreted as a national threat, there is also the issue of regional stability, but I doubt that he will get support from the region. What is now likely to happen is that the new administration will pounce on him because internally he is a threat.
“His projects will be targeted more than those of the opposition and he is going to taste the same bitter medicine he was giving to the MDC and other opposition parties a few years ago,” said Masunungure.
“We thought that the reconfigurations had ended with events of November 2017 but they are some elements who refuse to disappear from the political space, this group, that includes Mugabe is refusing to die, I cannot rule out the possibility of the former gamatox and G40 officials who are still in Zanu PF resigning,” said Masunungure.