|ZIMBABWE has a problem, a Grace Mugabe problem and its quite serious, expelled former senior Zanu PF officials and political commentators have told NewZimbabwe.com.They warned that the ambitious but politically inexperienced First Lady and the so-called Generation 40 (G-40) group are engaged in a conspiracy to worm their way to power by manipulating a president weakened by old age.
Officials recently fired from the ruling party said the G-40 group, whose leading lights allegedly include cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, was exploiting a “national security crisis” to stage an audacious power grab.
President Robert Mugabe turned 91 on Saturday and appears keen to die in office like his late deputies, Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and John Landa Nkomo. But by the time all three passed on, they were so unwell that they remained vice presidents in name only.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend, former Zanu PF national spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Zimbabweans needed to act now to stop “the real coup” which has been covered up by the “nonsense” that former vice president Joice Mujuru tried to “illegally” topple Mugabe.
Without categorically suggesting the president was now physically incompetent to remain in office, Gumbo said: “Obviously the president is an old man now and there are political vultures who are exploiting this situation to achieve their own objectives which are not in the national interest.
“There are people around the president who are manipulating (Grace) so that she can persuade the president to toe a certain line … that’s what we are criticising and condemning. That is what we want to exposed.
“But if we (expelled party officials) talk about this problem we are dismissed as bad losers. And yet the conspiracy has to be exposed. Why is the media not talking about it?”
We asked Gumbo what mechanisms exist within the party to put it to the president that he was no longer physically up for the job.
“If we still had the leadership we had before the illegal December congress, we would have strategized and come up with a mechanism,” said Gumbo.
“But there is this group which is there around the president now… I don’t think I can answer that question. You should ask them.”
Real reason for party purges
Even so, it would appear that an attempt was made to cautiously and respectfully put it to the president that it was, perhaps, time to step down.
Gumbo all but confirmed this when we asked whether it was true that he stood up in the febrile pre-Congress politburo meeting where he was expelled and told Mugabe to his face that he must reign in his out-of-control wife.
“Well, I think it was more than that,” he said.
“I never criticised his (Mugabe’s) wife as such. What I criticised – in fact it was not criticism as such; I suggested that the forthcoming congress had to deal with the succession issue and define the chain of succession.
“I said we should know whether we have a plan regarding the number of terms a leader could be in office. Now, he (Mugabe) didn’t want that and that was really the main thing.
“He was very, very angry with me. He then said I was suggesting he should go away right now and yet that is not what I was saying.”
Kasukuwere then proposed that Gumbo should be expelled. NewZimbabwe.com has been told that a furious Mugabe then asked whether anyone was opposed to the motion. No one dared.
A stunned Gumbo, totally dazed by it all, then shuffled out of the room and that was it.
So, if the president is weakened by age and unable to fully discharge his mandate then who is in charge at Zanu PF headquarters; indeed who is running the country?
“I can understand why you ask the question,” Gumbo said.
“ … as far as I’m concerned, the reality is that I don’t think the president is in charge at the present moment … I think the First Lady has a bigger hand in what is happening.”
So who is in charge?
A senior party official who did not want to be named suggested that the recent expulsion of former administration secretary Didymus Mutasa is instructive in this regard.
“First, a bit of background,” said the party official.
“Mugabe made it clear to central committee members, ahead of (the December) congress, that he did not want Mutasa expelled.
“Again, the suspensions and expulsions are not in keeping with the way the president has always dealt with such issues; his approach is deliberate, considered – never as hasty, crude and as vulgar as we have seen.
“Mugabe is a stickler for due process. Remember, one Jealous Mawarire had to be sprung from nowhere to approach the Constitutional Court so that a semblance of legality could attend the 2013 elections. That is the Mugabe way; he is, as he always reminds us, a lawyer after all.
“In fact, despite his evident rage over Mutasa’s statement damning the congress and allegedly writing to SADC leaders, Mugabe still insisted on due process in dealing with his case.
“The first politburo meeting after the President’s return from the Far East decided that the disciplinary committee would invite Mutasa to a hearing where he would answer the misconduct allegations.
“But then, that due process – which was endorsed by Mugabe himself – was suddenly abandoned and Mutasa summarily expelled without being called to defend himself.
“The fact that due process was abandoned at the same time Grace returned home was not a coincidence. It shows you who is in charge.”
Rugare Gumbo concurred.
“I agree with (the) analysis that the processes of handling internal contradictions, differences have followed a certain pattern.
“ … and that pattern is that if someone has committed an offence, obviously you require that they face a disciplinary committee; they are given a right respond to the allegations and then the committee makes a decision.
“But in this case (his and Mutasa’s expulsions) that was not done and it reflects the new order which is now in place.”
Now, if the president is weakened by old age and there is a group manipulating the situation to stage a power grab, who are they and who do they want to take over?
The G-40 conspiracy
Explained Gumbo: “We have said right from the beginning that the party has been infiltrated and that the president is being misled by people who have an agenda that is not in the interests of the country.
“That agenda is to change the leadership and the president; they want Zanu PF to be destroyed and its revolutionary legacy and ethos trashed.
“We have said these things many times … and this subversive group includes your Jonathan Moyos, your Saviour Kasukuweres; it’s not anything new.”
When the campaign against Mujuru was launched by Grace, it was thought that the so-called Mazoe Crush Movement side-lined the former VP to allow Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over after Mugabe.
However, as soon as allies of the new first vice president, in hasty excitement, tried to assert the fact, Jonathan Moyo gave an interview to the Sunday Mail where he effectively called them to order and made it clear that their man was not the chosen one.
“That (Moyo’s calculated intervention) we know,” said Gumbo.
“Moyo set up that supposed interview himself, asking his own questions and answering them … that we know. But my problem is that these people have no sound ideological grounding.
“The basis of their campaign was just to demonise Mai Mujuru. They just wanted Mai Mujuru to be out of the way and to gain power but beyond that, I really don’t know what they actually want to do with the country.”
So if the alleged conspirators want neither Mujuru nor Mnangagwa to take over, then to what end are they manipulating the First Lady and her husband?
“Frankly, I don’t know whether they do not like Mnangagwa. What I know is that they ganged up to destroy Mai Mujuru; that’s what I know for a fact,” said Gumbo.
The call to action
“Whatever happened, the reality of the matter is that they (G-40 and Mnangagwa) are working together and they misled the First Lady and now there is total confusion in the party and the country as a whole,” Gumbo added.
“So, if they do not want either Mnangagwa or Mujuru, it means they are pushing for a Generation 40 leadership, which means Kasukuwere wants to take over.”
But will members of the “real Zanu PF” sit back and allow the conspiracy they allege to succeed?
“What we are saying is that we are not just sitting by without doing anything,” said Gumbo.
“We are doing something; we have a court action coming so that the congress is declared illegal and the normal procedures are followed in Zanu PF.
“But what we are saying to Zimbabweans is that we are not fighting for ourselves; we are not fighting for power or for personal gain.
“We are saying the people of Zimbabwe are the makers of this country; they are the ones who have to change the system. It’s not just Mujuru, Mutasa and Gumbo, no.
“You (all Zimbabweans) are also part and parcel of the change we need. The media are also change agents; they have to talk about this and draw the people’s attention to the fact that what is happening is wrong.”NewZimbabwe.com