NEWLY-appointed Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere says he is ready to execute his new mandate with vigour and without fear of untimely death associated with his predecessors.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
In an interview with The Standard at State House on Friday where he had gone to witness the swearing in of Emmerson Mnangagwa and former diplomat Phelekezela Mphoko as the new vice-presidents, Kasukuwere said he would not be deterred by anything, even death threats as death was everyone’s destiny.
Previous Zanu PF political commissars Border Gezi, Moven Mahachi and Elliot Manyika died in car accidents under mysterious circumstances. Gezi died in April 2001 when his car skidded off the Harare-Masvingo road near Mvuma and crashed into a tree killing him instantly.
Mahachi, who was also Defence Minister and had taken over from Gezi as political commissar, was killed in a head-on collision the following month. Manyika also died in a road accident in December 2008 on his way to Gwanda on party assignment.
In the wake of these deaths of his predecessors, observers said former ICT minister Webster Shamu, who was holding the post before Kasukuwere’s appointment, had chosen to be a bit cautious.
But Kasukuwere said: “Death comes to everyone. This cannot deter me from doing my job. I have a huge task ahead to reunite the party after what has been happening. I want to drive the party to a huge 2018 electoral victory.”
He added: “This will include reclaiming votes from all the intelligentsia in Harare and Bulawayo. Zanu PF must come back and control cities. I salute Gezi, I salute Manyika and Shamu obviously did his part in leading Zanu PF to the 2013 electoral victory.”
Kasukuwere said his task would include reclaiming urban cities for Zanu PF, and mass mobilisation of voters, apart from uniting the highly fractured party.
“It is not good enough for Zanu PF to control rural areas. We should control all the intelligentsia in Harare and Bulawayo. We will look closely at urban centres and why we have performed dismally. Zanu PF is the only political party in the country, the rest are movements and as such, we should reclaim all lost ground in cities,” he said.
Zanu PF has very little support in urban centres, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo where the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is very popular. In the past five months, the party has also been locked in bitter internal fights pitting a faction led by Mnangagwa against one led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Mujuru was fired together with several ministers who include former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, Shamu and ex-Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.
She was accused of leading a team plotting to assassinate Mugabe. The allegations have however neither been substantiated nor proved except for weird references witchcraft by Mugabe.
Several Mujuru loyalists including the former VP did not attend the 6th Zanu PF National People’s congress after threats on their persons were publicly made by the party’s often violent youth league.
But Kasukuwere said the ruling party was still open to work with the members of the Mujuru faction if they were committed to live within Zanu PF’s liberation war ethos.
“Those who want to reform, the door is open,” Kasukuwere said.
But university of Zimbabwe law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said uniting warring factions in Zanu PF would be a mammoth task given the magnitude of the purge.
Addressing delegates at a Sapes Trust debate series on Thursday evening in Harare, Madhuku said he saw no prospects of a “Lazarus” resurrection by the Mujuru camp, which he said had only one option to join opposition parties to revive their political careers.
Madhuku said developments in Zanu PF were sad and the common people would definitely bear the brunt as the party had been hijacked by a minority that was determined to use force because they would never win an election.
“Look at Mnangagwa; the people in Kwekwe had rejected him. Jonathan Moyo had lost elections several times too, while Chombo (Ignatius — Zanu PF secretary for administration) is seen as a symbol of greed and corruption. They will never win a free and fair election,” Madhuku said, adding that Mujuru would have been a better option, although not the best.
However, international academic Stephen Chan, who was also at the Sapes Trust to debate on the aftermath of the Zanu PF congress, said he saw no prospects of Mujuru joining the “clueless” opposition in the country.
He said Mujuru would rather stay in Zanu PF and wait for another opportunity to bounce back. Chan said Zimbabwe would likely degenerate into a more authoritarian leadership as Mugabe continued to centralise power on the First Family.
Sapes Trust chairperson Ibbo Mandaza said Mnangagwa’s thrashing of Mujuru signalled the triumph of the securocrats which took over control of Zanu PF since 2008 and are driven by the new VP who was the Defence minister then.
He warned that Mugabe’s new executive would likely find it tough to command legitimacy with the people, adding Zanu PF infighting was still far from over.
But Zanu PF chief whip Jorum Gumbo on Friday said Zanu PF would reunite soon and focus on delivering its election promises to the people. He said what was happening was evident of a party realigning itself. Bitter feelings from losers were common, he said, but wounds would heal soon and the party would move in one direction soon.