ONE of the founders of Zanu-PF and former Cabinet minister, Rugare Gumbo has reiterated that it is in the best interest of Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling party for unity to prevail in the country.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Gumbo – a liberation struggle stalwart who was controversially fired from the ruling party in the run-up to Zanu-PF’s sham 2014 congress, at the height of the ruling party’s tribal, factional and succession wars – also implored Mnangagwa to unite Zanu-PF if it is to survive much longer.
This comes as there is a renewed national push to nudge Mnangagwa to engage the opposition and other key stakeholders for the sake of the country. It also comes as both Zanu-PF and the main opposition MDC are riven with sharp divisions – with the party founded by the late Morgan Tsvangirai now virtually on its knees, while Zanu-PF’s ructions are fast-approaching the levels that almost disembowelled it in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe, who was later ousted from power by a stunning and popular military coup in November 2017.
The forthright Gumbo told the Daily News yesterday that Zimbabwe’s, Zanu-PF’s and Mnangagwa’s own tenure in power were bleak if there was no unity in the country.
“The situation on the ground doesn’t seem to allow the continuation of the crises because people are now tired of all this.
“There must be a change in the attitude of those who are in power. They must unite the people, as any failure to do that will mean that they will be digging their own political graves,” he said.
“He (Mnangagwa) must absolutely make sure that he unites Zimbabweans as he is the president. He has the power to sit down with all Zimbabweans.
“He must be able to contact his rivals and talk with them so that they can solve the current problems,” Gumbo added.
“I was watching vaMuzenda’s (the late former Vice President Simon Muzenda’s) video, where he was encouraging unity among Zimbabweans.
“Without unity, the future of Zimbabwe is bleak. It is going to be problematic for the ruling party to go into 2023 without uniting Zimbabweans.
“They are digging their own grave if they fail to talk to all political parties and unite all people to solve the country’s current crises,” Gumbo told the Daily News further.
“He (Mnangagwa) must seriously rethink the future of the country and … the young generation. He must not think about himself and power, but the young generation that we have.
“What are they going to inherit? Are they going to inherit the violence and divided country? These are the kind of things the president must think about.
“If you think of power only without thinking about the life of the ordinary person you have a problem.
“The ruling party must shape up or ship out. Mnangagwa must be man enough and accept the challenges facing the country,” Gumbo also warned.
“If there is no unity, there will always be external and internal threats. You don’t need that. You need … to unite even with people who oppose your views so that you can bring stability in the country.
“The ruling party must know that one doesn’t know what lies in the future. Change does occur and for anybody to think that he will remain in power for ever is not good.
“In Shona they say chinobhururuka chinomhara. Hakuna chisingaperi (everything ends) and we say let’s not do that.
“Everyone is a Zimbabwean. There is no Zimbabwe for Zanu-PF or MDC … Zimbabwe is for everybody,” Gumbo further told the Daily News.
This comes after members of the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) met Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in separate engagements last week, in a bid to nudge both men to hold much-needed national dialogue. It also comes as South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ruling African National Congress (ANC) have been attempting to assist Zimbabwe to end its decades-long political and economic crises.
At the weekend, another liberation stalwart and former Cabinet minister, Tshinga Dube, said the push by both Ramaphosa and the ANC to end Zimbabwe’s long-standing political and economic crises rested on them winning support from brawling Zanu-PF factions.
“It all starts with the leaders in Zanu-PF agreeing that we need dialogue and that South Africa has a critical role to play.
“They need to find common ground on that to make the ANC’s work easier. We can blame this group or that group, but I don’t want to do that because what is important, for the sake of progress, is that they must find each other.
“It is not difficult for the leaders to find each other because they have been working together for quite a long time,” the fearless Dube told the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News On Sunday.
“I don’t think it is impossible for them (Zanu-PF factions) to do that for the good of the country and our people.
“That is what leadership is all about. If they do not agree and continue like that, then it will be difficult for anyone who wants to help, including the ANC,” he added.
Dube is among many influential people who are calling on Mnangagwa to initiate much-needed national dialogue in the interest of the country. Last month, the former military officer also repeated his calls for Mnangagwa to hold talks with Chamisa.
The former War Veterans minister also said that the biggest threat facing Mnangagwa’s rule was the country’s shrinking economy – warning further that rising poverty could drive Zimbabwe into civil strife. Both Mnangagwa and Chamisa have previously said that they were interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has happened – primarily because of differences over the form and platform on which the talks should take place.
There are now fresh hopes that the much-talked about national dialogue could happen soon after clerics embarked on a fresh push to initiate talks between the 78-year-old Zanu-PF leader and Chamisa.