In a long article, Nathaniel Manheru, a Herald columnist who is widely believed to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, described Mutasa as a sellout who does not deserve burial space in Zimbabwe because he denigrated the country’s land reform programme.
“Could this throw a hint at his real politics? That his extreme posture on land issue was a fraud by a Rhodesian hand? Where will he be buried, now that he has divorced the land?” wrote Manheru.
Manheru’s attack comes after Mutasa’s explosive interview with the South African Mail & Guardian where he attacked Zanu PF’s fast-track land reform programme and the Look East policy. The attack seems to have riled the party to the extent that he was labeled a sellout not worth burial at Heroes Acre.
Mutasa in his interview which was reproduced by the NewsDay lamented the ruinous fast-track land reform that has crippled agricultural production and the failed foreign policy that has yielded limited foreign direct investment in the last decade.
Manheru viciously attacked Mutasa in his Saturday Herald column and even dared suggest he would not be buried at National Heroes’Acre.
Mutasa, who was fired together with several party stalwarts ahead of the party’s December congress for siding with former Vice-President Mujuru, has threatened to take Zanu PF to court if it fails to nullify the outcome of the congress which he said was unconstitutional.
The attacks on Mutasa are getting harder and more frequent as he insists going ahead with his court bid against Mugabe in a move that will likely embarrass the veteran leader who recently assumed African Union chairmanship, to add to his Sadc chairmanship.
Zanu PF decides the hero status of its members who can be buried at the national heroes’ acre. In the past, there were many liberation war icons who failed to make it at the national shrine after a fall out with the party.
The late Edgar Tekere died in 2011 and was buried at the national shrine despite his fallout with Mugabe after he formed Zimbabwe Unity Movement party, but Zanu Ndonga leader, Ndabaningi Sithole, a founder member of Zanu and did not make it to the national heroes’ acre.
And in his article, Manheru seemed to have hinted that Mutasa would face the Sithole fate.
Zanu PF spokesman Simon Khaya-Moyo could not be reached for comment as to whether his party shared the columnist views on Mutasa.
The party’s deputy director for information and publicity Psychology Maziwisa said: “I cannot comment now as I am at church.”
But Manheru wrote: “With his United Kingdom-derived media antics of grabbing headlines through the outrageous, Mutasa is the worst face and tongue for a fledging cause, the worst face and tongue for a tortuous political courtship by which formative politics are launched, which is why the Danish and Swedish backers and advisers of the political experiment would rather the ex-vice president relies on tongueless doers like [Nicholas] Goche.”
He added, “Put simply, Mutasa is an arthritic thinker, plain and boring in speech, put off by way of visage.”
The columnist further compared Mutasa to other former Zanu PF politburo members Tekere and Simba Makoni who formed their own political parties after breaking ranks with Mugabe.Newsday