Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and his brother, Itai Dickson Mafios, the party’s provincial chairperson in Mashonaland Central, are in the eye of a storm following accusations that they were plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe.
the big interview BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Zanu PF supporters early this month held a demonstration in Bindura calling for the duo’s ouster for allegedly fanning factionalism and promoting corruption.
The two, however, say they are being targeted by people who want to topple Mugabe and have vowed not to go down without a fight.
State media has been roped into the fight and has gone to the extent of digging deep into the two brothers’ personal lives, with one publication alleging recently that Mafios had snatched a local priest’s wife.
Our reporter Xolisani Ncube (XN) on Friday caught up with Mafios (DN) who said he was unfazed, claiming that his detractors had no proof to back the allegations they were making against him and his brother. Below are excerpts of the interview.
XN: Cde Mafios, a lot has been happening in the past weeks and your political life appears to be hanging by a thread. What is the problem?
DM: Well, I don’t have a problem with anyone at all from Mashonaland Central, the province where I am the chairperson.
But it seems there are outsiders with interests in my province. In the past weeks we have seen opposition members, former Zanu PF activists who were shown the exit door for disloyalty and ordinary people from Harare descending on our province to demonstrate against me.
As far as I know, in the past weeks, we have seen abuse of people by individuals who are against the president [Robert Mugabe] and now claiming that they love the president.
Personally as Mafios, I have no problem with Zanu PF members from Mashonaland Central but anti-Zanu PF supporters who are in the party to effect regime change by fighting us.
XN: Are you saying there are regime change agents in Zanu PF? Who are these people and what do they seek to change?
DM: If you look at the list of people who came to demonstrate against some of us here, you will find that these are people who were kicked out of the party and now they want to act Zanu PF more than Zanu PF itself.
We have people like [retired Brigadier General Agrippa] Mutambara and [Godfrey] Chimombe here. We have people like [Godwin] Gomwe here, all participating in the demonstrations. We had people from Harare, Glen View to be precise, and some from as far as Chitungwiza here to demonstrate against us.
Why? They have an agenda which is different from what the people from Mashonaland Central want.
So for me, the real agenda of those who came here demonstrating was greed and an agenda to remove President Mugabe from office.
We have been supporting the president for a long time but now some people think they can remove us just like that. We know them and their agenda.
XN: But we have seen Zanu PF provincial structures meet to discuss your fate. Even your own provincial executive members said they no longer want you. Why are you saying your ouster is being pushed by outsiders?
DM: You call a kangaroo meeting without a quorum a provincial meeting and legally constituted to discuss my fate? All what has been happening is a charade, total defiance of our constitution as Zanu PF.
The secretary for administration, Cde [Ignatius] Chombo has been very clear in terms of how party grievances ought to have been resolved.
We have seen a clear case of defiance and disrespect of the party leadership.
To me, this shows that there are people who are not interested in resolving any issues if they are there, but have personal agendas that have nothing to do with Zanu PF.
XN: But what is happening today is not new to Zanu PF, it happened when you were kicking out Joice Mujuru and her so-called cabal. Why are you crying foul now when then you were celebrating the demise of the then VP through the same modus operandi?
DM: Yes, one can say it is history repeating itself, but unlike then, there was no defiance from what the party leadership had directed.
At no time did we have illegal gatherings to solve our problems. But now, we have people just sitting there and just deciding to expel someone. It is wrong.
Moreso, these people are not Zanu PF members. They are just disgruntled people who have no authority to talk about Zanu PF issues.
What does Gomwe have to say with regards to Zanu PF? He was fired and he must remain there until such a time he becomes a member of Zanu PF.
XN: Among the allegations being levelled against you is that you are working with your brother Kasukuwere to remove Mugabe from office. Why do you want Mugabe to go and who do you want to replace him with?
DM: So you believe what the non-Zanu PF people are saying? How am I plotting to remove President Mugabe? People should be careful about what they say.
We know that the people who are behind this noise are the ones who want to remove President Mugabe. My loyalty to the president is unquestionable and we have been working hard preparing for 2018 elections.
These people want Zanu PF to lose in 2018 and they are busy plotting that. It is no secret that these people have a clear agenda and it is unfortunate that they seem to be getting away with such reckless behaviour.
XN: You are being accused of having stolen or abused party resources. What is your comment?
DM: Xolisani, your questions are that of a person who is convinced. Anyway, since you are acting as if you have information which I don’t have, I will not say much.
XN: But these are allegations that are being made by your rivals who want you out.
DM: Look here, they are saying I stole money. Which money and how? You know, alleging that so and so has done this is easy but proving it is another thing.
I kindly request people to be careful of what they ask for. I have not even taken anyone’s money. Not even abused party funds.
People should stop uttering things they will not be able to prove. Some people think they have the right to lie and not prove the veracity of their statements. I can say it here and now, I don’t have any money from Zanu PF which I abused.
XN: There have also been allegations in the media that you snatched someone’s wife and therefore you are no longer fit to be a Zanu PF leader. What is your reaction to that?
DM: What has that got to do with Zanu PF? How many people in this country have taken other men’s wives? People are just being petty for nothing.
If the parties concerned are bitter or have anything against me, they are free to go to the courts and we shall discuss everything there. Why take personal issues to Zanu PF?
Did Zanu PF give me a wife that it has a right to monitor who I marry and who I should not marry? Some of your guys are busy sleeping with other people’s wives in lodges and you want to pretend to be holy.
As for me, they are attacking me because she is my wife. Please come on. Even you journalists, you are busy fornicating there with married women and you are busy attacking me for having my wife.
It is embarrassing and goes on to show that this is just hatred and nothing to do with Zanu PF. If I may ask, how many men marry ex-wives of some people and it becomes a crime when Mafios does that? What a shame!
XN: Since the petition calling for your removal from office is now before the Zanu PF politburo, do you see yourself surviving the onslaught?
DM: Which petition? You mean the one which has lies and was done illegally? Anyway, I don’t want to talk about the way forward. All I can say is that all the allegations being made against me are just but general with no facts and substance.
People are just saying their wishes and dreams, that Mafios this, Mafios that. I hope the party leadership will be able to separate facts from fiction.
People have disregarded the president’s call and have literally challenged his authority through defiance.
They are challenging the one centre of power concept, which gives the president the authority to give direction to the party.
XN: Please explain what you mean by one centre of power.
DM: Yes and that is what is being challenged by those who are defying his directive that party conflicts should be resolved in accordance with the constitution of the party.
We have a principle in the party which entails that the president, whenever he speaks we all listen and this is encompassed in the ideologies of one centre of power, but as things stand, people are disobeying that.
XN: Last year you came under fire for calling for the removal of that principle. What has changed today?
DM: Again, you media people are funny and very ignorant. You take things wrongly, misinterpret and make your opinions as facts.
I said we want the two vice presidents to be elected at congress and that was not a decision of Mafios per se. It was a conference resolution, which was arrived at collectively.
I did not say the president should have his powers trimmed or tempered with. It is people who had their ideas and agendas who misinterpreted what I had said.
For me and the leadership here, we are busy now preparing for 2018 elections by ensuring that we have intact structures from the cell to the branch, up to the national leadership.
XN: It is alleged that you are using this restructuring exercise to put in structures that would remove Mugabe.
DM: Are you telling me or asking? There are people who are against an organised Zanu PF. They want to cause chaos and for their factional agendas to thrive.
As we prepare for 2018 elections, we must have structures that have the ability to mobilise for the party. As a provincial leader, I have that mandate to ensure the structures are in place.
People with an agenda to ensure that President Mugabe, who is our candidate fails, are the ones who do not want an organised party.
They want chaos to prevail and when we fail to win the elections, they then take over from him. We know what they are plotting.
XN: Allegations are being made to the effect that you are working with Kasukuwere to ensure that he takes over from Mugabe. What is your comment?
DM: Pure lies being made by people who don’t appreciate Zanu PF. These are people who have a succession agenda. They are good at lying.
I have never seen or heard Cde Kasukuwere plan to take over from the president, not even to be the president of Zanu PF. He is a servant of the president, that is why he is most hated.
XN: Cde Mafios, thank you for your time.
DM: Thank you. I wish you well in your journalistic life and journey.
But guys, be factual in your reportage as journalists. Don’t be used or fed lies by people who just want to malign others. Do unto others what you want them to do unto you.