PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has revealed he could have been toppled at last year’s Zanu PF congress by party renegades derisively named “Gamatox” .
BY MOSES MATENGA
Scores of party officials, including former Vice-President Mujuru, former party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and the majority of former provincial chairpersons and cabinet ministers were kicked out of the party in a brutal purge targeted at people suspected of attempting to remove Mugabe from the leadership of the party.
Addressing the party’s National Consultative Assembly in Harare yesterday, Mugabe spoke of the alleged plan to unseat him through a “coup de tat”, allegations that claimed the scalp of Mujuru and her allies.
“…they were leaders of a subversive activity that was a silent planning of a coup de tat. We witnessed their spirited attempts at undermining Zanu PF through jockeying for executive posts in three wings of the party,” Mugabe said.
“Some evil plans had been hatched…Make the youth wing fail and that will be the failure of the leadership of the party, then it would be for them to say under the leadership of so-and-so, under President Mugabe this is what happened.”
“The youths were to accept that come congress, all in unison and Women’s League to say change, change, change. That would be said to be the voice of the people and that would then be the sentence passed on President Mugabe and a pass in favour of Mai Joice Mujuru to take over,” Mugabe said.
He added that was “the act of mature people turned into idiots”, adding that he was never going to relinquish power even under serious protests from the plotters.
“It was thought I would listen to such noise. I would never do that. Shout the loudest and I will not listen. But if the congress says so and I will hear,” Mugabe said.
He described Mujuru and her team as “Judas Iscariots” who were motivated by money to betray the party.
“I don’t know what happened to Judas Iscariot but our Iscariots under Gamatox are trying this and that and tell people they are there but they are dead, dead alive. However, the devil doesn’t die, he is not dead, they tell us.”
“So the likes of Didymus Mutasa, I notice he is priding himself now, he told us he has so many wives and priding himself in having all those wives.
“Rugare Gumbo, he has done this before in Mozambique and those who were with us will know we dug an underground room where those who had revolted in 1978 as we were at the Anglo-American talks and thought they would succeed, he was one of them and we kept them down there. We were feeding them well. We gave them food didn’t we?” Mugabe asked.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa stood to respond to Mugabe’s question confirming how they fed the pit prisoners and how they would cover the pit with grass so that people in passing planes would not see them.
“Didymus Mutasa, Jabulani [Sibanda], Temba Mliswa who is related to Mutasa, Ray Kaukonde, Olivia Muchena, who is former Muzorewa, Dzikamai Mavhaire was used by Mujuru a lot. As for [Kudakwashe] Bhasikiti, ah! He is just a mad man. Butau was the economist for Mai Mujuru who was organising projects, especially in Mashonaland Central and she herself, Joice Mujuru, a very great believer in witchcraft, going to traditional healers, we know all she was doing,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe again gave details of Mujuru’s alleged witchcraft escapades and how she allegedly used tadpoles and tried to engage Mutumwa, leader of the Johane Marange apostolic sect to ordain her as leader. Mujuru has denied ever plotting to remove Mugabe and being involved in witchcraft.
As has become tradition each time he takes to the podium on party functions, Mugabe spent some considerable time speaking of the history of the liberation struggle, extensively quoting from the Bible.
He also told his audience that he drank opaque beer on his first visit to Tsholotsho where his late father had married another woman.
He however said his party should stop the purge that was still being directed against those who reportedly worked with Mujuru.
This comes amid continued fighting and name-calling among top officials within the party that has seen more office holders being suspended through suspicious and sometimes fictitious votes of no confidence.
“Let us stop the witch-hunting that’s going on, trying to unseat those in positions who have been elected so that you can get into positions,” Mugabe said.
“Don’t call people Gamatox unnecessarily. The real ones are there. Others might have been associated slightly. They have changed and have faith in the party. We give them a chance in the party.
“Let them strengthen themselves if they had been weakened,” Mugabe said.