ZIMBABWE’s political and economic woes will likely continue even after President Robert Mugabe leaves office as the two Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko have shown lack of capacity, as reflected by their public disposition since assuming office, analysts have said.
BY MOSES MATENGA/SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
The two have scored what observers say were “political own-goals” that do not inspire hope for the country.
Last weekend, Mnangagwa unwittingly exposed the party’s intent of rigging the forthcoming Chirumanzu-Zibagwe elections, saying the electorate would be forced to vote for his wife.
He revealed that voters would be led to polling stations by traditional chiefs, party ward chairpersons and councillors to vote for his wife Auxillia. He also urged his supporters to deny the chance to vote to perceived Zanu PF enemies.
Mphoko on the other hand, courted the ire of many Zimbabweans when he claimed that the post-independence Matabeleland genocide, commonly referred as Gukurahundi, was not an act of the Zanu PF government, but a western conspiracy. This was after he had found himself in another controversy following his utterances describing able-bodied men who made a living out of vending as irresponsible.
Analysts said the country was headed for worse times after Mugabe, if the behaviour and thinking line exhibited by his appointees were anything to go by.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza last week said: “The statements reflect extreme uncertainty in both the political environment in Zanu PF and their positions which are an outcome of a very untidy process that was purported to be the congress.”
Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya yesterday said submission was the hallmark of Zanu PF politics.
He said apart from Joshua Nkomo, who was one of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe, no other Vice-Presidents has been suitable for the post.
“Those that came after Nkomo did not stand on solid ground. That is why they are pre-occupied with bootlicking Mugabe and ignoring sad parts of history like Gukurahundi in fear of offending the author of the genocide,” said Ruhanya.
“They do not have a substantive work programme, that is why you find them offside every time. All they do is make Mugabe happy. Dictators do not like potential. You must be submissive to retain your position in Zanu PF,” Ruhanya said.
Also reacting to Mnangagwa’s utterances and rigging intent, the MDC-T said the opposition party would use the first VP’s disclosures to launch a regional offensive and that Zimbabwe was cursed to have Mnangagwa and Mphoko as the country’s two VPs.
“Mnangagwa has got a traceable record of losing all free and fair elections in which he participated, as is clearly shown by the manner in which he was repeatedly trounced by MDC’s Blessing Chebundo in the Kwekwe Central constituency on two occasions,” Gutu said.
He said a rural constituency had to be created for him to win elections, but he remained without a social base, hence his continued threats of violence on opponents.
“As an appointee in the deeply fractured and divided moribund Zanu PF party, Mnangagwa is acutely aware of the fact that the only way in which his wife can ‘win’ that by-election is for him to assist her to play dirty election tactics,” Gutu said.
“Zimbabwe is truly cursed to have two appointed VPs in Mnangagwa and Mphoko. This is tragic for the country. It is tantamount to jumping from the frying pan into the fire.”
He said his party will utilise the disclosures by Mnangagwa to confirm to the world how elections have always been rigged.
“Obviously, the MDC will utilise this latest disclosure by Mnangagwa to appropriately plan both our political and diplomatic offensive going forward. We have always known that Mnangagwa played a pivotal role in the massive rigging of the July 31 2013 harmonised elections. The chickens are now coming home to roost. This is the ‘Last Supper’ for the deeply fractured Zanu PF party,’’ Gutu said.
Since their appointment into the presidium during the highly disputed congress last year, Mphoko and Mnangagwa have taken turns to utter controversial statements.
Mphoko touched the raw nerves of vendors around the country when he challenged them to look for something better to do.
His statement did not go down well with the unemployed who described the former diplomat as “out of touch with reality”.
He was to make more enemies when he described the emotive Gukurahundi that killed more than 20 000 in Matabeleland as a Western conspiracy.
“So that is what happened. So the Gukurahundi after the war had nothing to do with Mugabe — nothing! That is a fact. People can say what they want, but that was a Western conspiracy.”