President Robert Mugabe is now too old to remember anything and government is no longer taking his statements seriously, his successor and long time ally President Emmerson Mnangagwa told guests in Rwanda on Wednesday.
Mnangagwa came to power through a military-assisted takeover of government that resulted in the fall of Mugabe and the scattering of the Generation 40 (G40) faction across the globe, but the former president is now throwing salvos at his former comrade, accusing him of ruling the country “illegally”.
Recently, Mugabe told selected journalists that Mnangagwa came to power through a military coup.
However, Mnangagwa, whose mission to charm the world has been made lighter by the widespread hate of the former Zimbabwean president, told his guests during his visit to Rwanda where he signed the African Continental Free Trade Area on behalf of Zimbabwe, that he gives little regard to Mugabe’s rants.
“He is our founding father. We respect him, he is now 94, he may not remember that he will not cast his vote for me if you ask him today.
“We still respect him as our founding father and we will not bother because he is old, if you ask him again, he will say no, no, no, I will also vote for ED,” said Mnangagwa.
During a wide-ranging interview a fortnight ago, Mugabe said he will not vote for Mnangagwa.
“I would have wanted to support Emmerson’s bid but through the party system, the system that we have, (but) for one to represent the party, you must be elected by the people.
“So he should go through an election process, which he hasn’t done. After working so many years with him, I didn’t think he can be the man to reject an election process,” said Mugabe.
Despite feigning bravado in the face of Mugabe’s riveting and revealing “rants”, Zanu PF has now seemingly pressed the panic baton as it had hoped on harvesting on his support in the Mashonaland provinces to win the forthcoming elections that could be held between June and July this year.
The party has threatened to expel its “founding father” and in the past few weeks, has, through the State-controlled media, gone into overdrive attacking Mugabe and dropping prefixes like comrade.
While Zanu PF is apparently in sixes and sevens on the best course of action to take against Mugabe, the opposition is riding on the confusion, with leader of the MDC Alliance Nelson Chamisa claiming that the former president would vote for him in the elections.
Mugabe has made it no secret that he has an axe to grind with his former allies, apparently still too rankled that his former right-hand man Mnangagwa turned to be a “Brutus” who turned against Julius Caesar in the tragic story of the Roman Empire.
Mugabe urged the opposition to work closely with the full spectrum of the youths to enable them to take over the governance of the country in the interest of generational renewal whose time he said has come.
“Don’t oppress them; make sure they are not harassed. I know they will be harassed and some arrested but empower them mentally to fight for what is right,” Mugabe said.
Speaking to the SABC in an interview on Monday, Chamisa said given his deep-seated grievances, there was no way Mugabe would vote for Zanu PF.
“The good thing in this election is that for the first time in the history of this country, Mugabe is not going to vote for Zanu PF.
“Not only that, Mugabe is going to vote for the opposition and the biggest question is which opposition. On that the jury is still out, but I suspect he is going to vote MDC,” said Chamisa.