A motion to eulogise President Emmerson Mnangagwa by Zanu PF MPs last week backfired when Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi changed the course of debate and exposed their bootlicking tendencies.
By VENERANDA LANGA/NUNURAI JENA
Maridadi called ruling party MPs hypocrites who rallied against Mnangagwa when he was being publicly lampooned by the former first lady Grace Mugabe during Zanu PF youth interface rallies.
The motion seeking to immortalise Mnangagwa was introduced in the National Assembly by Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi, who narrated how Mnangagwa suffered during the liberation struggle and when he was being publicly insulted by Grace.
It was seconded by Guruve North MP Walter Kanhanga, who sang praises to Mnangagwa, describing him as an astute leader.
Zindi urged Mnangagwa’s government to repeal all oppressive laws like the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as to allow for freedom of speech in the country.
But Maridadi’s bone of contention was with some Zanu PF MPs with a penchant for bootlicking, who used to glorify former president Robert Mugabe when he was in power and denounced Mnangagwa in support of Grace.
He said all of a sudden, the same MPs had turned against Mugabe and were falling over each other to sing Mnangagwa praises.
“Some of the MPs that are now singing praises are the same people that were insulting Mnangagwa, but are now saying that he is a man of vision,” Maridadi said.
“They are hypocritical and are people that do not follow principles, but follow people, and if by the stroke of a miracle Mugabe were to bounce back as president, the same people would fall on each other to congratulate him.”
The opposition MP narrated an incident where Mnangagwa’s function was snubbed by ruling party MPs and only Owen Ncube (Gokwe-Kana MP and Midlands minister of State) attended.
He said when Mnangagwa was fired, everyone shunned him but when he came back from South Africa, triumphant people started bootlicking him and his wife first lady Auxillia.
Maridadi then described Auxillia’s ordeal when Mnangagwa was being publicly humiliated by Grace, saying that the same MPs now bootlicking Mnangagwa used to laugh at her.
“I want to warn the president that those people going to his office to congratulate him are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” he said.
“One of the MPs in this House, Joseph Chinotimba [Buhera South] in an interview even described Grace as a prostitute. I will never insult Mugabe even if I was opposed to his rule. Auxillia must be careful because they can do the same thing to her, or even to the wife of the Speaker Jacob Mudenda because these people are hypocrites; they follow power.”
Maridadi said instead, Zanu PF MPs should assist Mnangagwa to focus on rebuilding the country and play their oversight role in government rather than stampeding to congratulate him.
Irked by Maridadi’s reference to a video where Chinotimba described Grace as a prostitute, the Buhera South MP retaliated by alleging that Maridadi was a wife snatcher.
Maridadi further lampooned MPs who used to come to Parliament in cars painted with Grace’s image and inscribed “Munhu wese kuna Amai”, adding that they had countless regalia with Mugabe’s face. He said they were now in a dilemma as they could not put on the regalia in the new dispensation.
“If they cannot put on those hordes of T-shirts, they should bring them to me and I will donate them to the people of Mabvuku,” Maridadi said.
Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi said it was befitting to praise Mnangagwa because he faced humiliating attacks from Grace but never retaliated and miraculously survived threats to his life.
Harare West MP Jessie Majome said it was very dangerous to perpetuate the culture of bootlicking leaders.
“During Mugabe’s era, some people said he would rule until donkeys grew horns. Maybe they [donkeys] have now grown horns and that is why Mugabe has been removed,” Majome said, adding that Mnangagwa’s government must implement the Constitution and refrain from abusing the independence of the judiciary and traditional leaders.
Meanwhile, Norton MP Temba Mliswa blasted Mashonaland West resident minister Webster Shamu for thriving on bootlicking.
Shamu angered Mliswa and some delegates at a transport and infrastructural development meeting in Chinhoyi last week when he reminded people that Zanu PF was the ruling party.
“I would also like to recognise members of Zanu PF the party that is ruling, the party in government,” Shamu boasted.
Shamu appeared to be attacking Mliswa, who had earlier reminded the meeting that other parties should be recognised since it was a government event, not a Zanu PF function.
Mliswa hit back during the question and answer session, saying ministers should heed Mnangagwa’s message that he did not want people to bootlick him but to work.
Mliswa further reminded Shamu to watch what Mnangagwa said while in South Africa when he said Zimbabwe was for Zimbabweans, not political parties.
“May I remind such ministers what Mnangagwa said while in South Africa, that Zimbabwe is not for Zanu PF or MDC but for Zimbabweans,” he said.
Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Jorum Gumbo called for ceasefire, saying high-ranking officials should not hit each other publicly but should take each other aside and iron out their differences if they felt offended by the other.
The meeting was part of Gumbo’s tour of provinces.