The alleged poisoning of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa by his rivals in Zanu PF has widened the fissures in the ruling party and new slogans are being coined to challenge the veteran politician’s suspected enemies.
the big interview BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Fingers are being pointed at a faction known as G40, which is said to be against Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa fell ill during a rally addressed by the 93-year-old ruler in Gwanda and received treatment in South Africa.
The government has rubbished the poisoning theory, with Information minister Christopher Mushohwe suggesting that he ate stale food.
However, the minister’s line infuriated Mnangagwa’s supporters, who believe that he was being targeted for elimination.
Our senior reporter Xolisani Ncube (XN) yesterday spoke to Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo (SKM) who said the issue was cause for concern.
He dismissed social media claims that he is one of the ministers that allegedly poisoned Mnangagwa.
Moyo also spoke about a number of issues affecting the ruling party. Below are excerpts from the interview.
XN: The month of August seems to have been a tough one for Zanu PF. We have seen a number of top figures dying in a short space of time, what does this mean for the party?
SKM: This month has been a heavy one for us, it has been a moment that we asked ourselves “but why Lord?”
It is a moment we are asking ourselves who will tell the story of the liberation movement when cadres like Mai Maud Muzenda and Cde George Rutanhire are gone.
We lost Cde [Shuvai] Mahofa and this has really affected the spirit in the party and we ask why, and why?
The people who are dying stood for the truth, people who abhorred factionalism and believed in the ethos of the struggle, which is unity and hard work.
In the case of Cde Rutanhire, he was an ideologist who infused the history and the thrust of the party.
We have really lost the people who made Zanu PF what it should be.
In Gogo Muzenda, we have lost a mother who stood by her children and laboured to be with them, supporting the struggle.
After independence, she was there giving wisdom and support to our late vice-president Simon Muzenda.
This is also a warning to many of us that it is God who knows the destination of this journey.
We must always be ready and do the work that we ought to do now when we are able to.
We must work for the unity of the party and stop this tribalism, regionalism and other divisive attitudes that destroy the ethos of the liberation struggle. We must shun factionalism.
XN: Cde Moyo, you are speaking so well of Rutanhire, but we hear he died a pauper; the party neglected him while he was alive, why?
SKM: I have no information about what you are talking about. The truth is Cde Rutanhire died a dedicated Zanu PF cadre, principled, corrupt-free and anti-factionalism.
The issue of welfare can be better answered by those responsible for the welfare of party cadres.
Those are the people who should tell you what happened and if the information you are getting is true or not.
XN: Factionalism seems to be the in-thing in Zanu PF. What is causing the divisions?
SKM: It is very true, it is a disease that, as leadership, we must deal with. But the best way to deal with it is that every factional leader must realise that they will never be party leaders unless they stop factionalism.
You can’t be a factional leader and expect to be a national leader; a faction will never grow to become a party, never.
Likewise, the party will never shrink to be a faction. Any person leading a faction must know that he/she will never, never lead the party.
It must be understood that the party is bigger than individuals and those who think that they are bigger than the party are fooling themselves.
We all must adhere to the principles of being corruption-free, not being tribal in our system and not being divisive.
We must know that the party has a sound leadership, a leadership of President Cde Robert Mugabe and that is it.
XN: With all these factional fights Cde Moyo, do you see Zanu PF winning 2018 elections and how?
SKM: As I said, we will win the 2018 [elections] because of the policies that we have and these are people-driven policies, policies that speak to the empowerment of our people.
We are preparing for the polls by consulting what the people want their government to do for them.
XN: But judging by the extent of factionalism, it is unlikely that there will be a united Zanu PF in 2018. I say so looking at claims of poisoning of senior party members due to factional fights.
SKM: Why not say alleged poisoning? These are disturbing events that we are seeing if they are true. But again, we have a leadership in place and the matter shall or should I say should be investigated by authorities and those alleged to be involved, they should be questioned.
We expect the police to have received the matter if there are claims of poisoning as it is being alleged.
People should stop throwing around things they cannot prove. It is being divisive.
XN: Is the party doing anything to probe the alleged poisoning of VP Mnangagwa?
SKM: That is the responsibility of the police and not the party per ser or the structures tasked to look after the leadership.
It is very worrying and disturbing and we hope the truth will come out at the end of it.
XN: But your name is being mentioned that you are part of the people who poisoned the VP.
SKM: I heard that, but it is being very irresponsible on the part of those alleging so because on the day in question, I left Harare via Air Zimbabwe and drove from Bulawayo to Gwanda with my security team.
So I don’t know what the people who are saying so are trying to prove. I must say, we must also be responsible with social media and stop being reckless.
Again. I hope the security system will pick up the mischief and investigate why they are sowing division in the party like that.
XN: Thank you very much Cde Moyo for your time
SKM: My pleasure.