|FIRED presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa has hit back at President Robert Mugabe, saying the savage criticism he was served by the veteran leader actually raises questions about the 90-year-old’s judgement.
“If he (Mugabe) thinks that I am a fool then he must have been working with a fool very closely for the past 35 years, because I started working with him in prison right up to now,” Mutasa said in an interview for the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian Newspaper.
An angry Mugabe returned from his annual, and this time extended, break in Singapore to dismiss Mutasa as “insane”, adding that his laments over the recent brutal Zanu PF purges were the inconsequential noises of a “braying donkey”.
But Mutasa said if he was a fool, then Mugabe was inviting Zimbabweans to ask questions about the state of his own mind.
“How can I be a fool just suddenly; since yesterday?
“The reason he (Mugabe) gave me high posts in government was because he trusted me and suddenly, if he says this man is a fool, then they (Zimbabweans) will say why has he not seen it before?”
Zanu PF’s problems stem from its failure to resolve the succession of Mugabe who turns 91 in February but suffers from failing health and, according to a local weekly, underwent a major prostate procedure while on holiday in the Far East.
First vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa appears in pole position to take over but Mutasa warned that the country could “go to the dogs” under his charge.
“Mugabe … is going to leave somebody else and that’s our fear – that that somebody he leaves behind will not be as good as he is and our country will go to the dogs,” said Mutasa.
“If the people say we want Mnangagwa then he has got to be brought in properly and not be imposed on us.”
Mutasa is on the brink of expulsion from Zanu PF because he, unlike most of his co-accused, refused to accept quietly his dismissal from government and ejection from the powerful Zanu PF post of secretary for administration.
Now reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member, a disciplinary committee is presently seized with recommendations by Manicaland province for Mutasa’s expulsion from the ruling party.
His offence was to dismiss, as unconstitutional, the December congress which ousted him, former vice president Joice Mujuru, and several cabinet ministers for allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe.
Mutasa further embarrassed Mugabe by taking his damning report on the congress to regional leaders such as South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.
Mugabe badly advised
Higher education minister Oppah Muchinguri, one of the drivers of the so-called Mazoe Crush Movement which is behind the current kerfuffle in Zanu PF, demanded swift action against Mutasa at a rally in his home district at the weekend.
“The notorious gangster should be dealt with,” Muchinguri told the rally which was attended by thousands of party supporters and top officials Patrick Chinamasa, Ignatius Chombo, Chris Mushowe as well as Monica Mutsvangwa.
Added: Muchinguri: “He (Mutasa) was instrumental in having the late Edgar Tekere form ZUM and duped Simba Makoni (into) leaving Zanu PF. Peace is now prevailing in the province and his case should be dealt with speedily.”
Chombo who replaced Mutasa as administration secretary promised that: “Due process is being done to the disciplinary issue of Mutasa.
“I want to thank the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, Cde Muchinguri and their team for a job well-done in removing all gamatox elements in the party.”
But Mutasa was unfazed about the prospect of a spell in the Zanu PF Siberia.
“I’ll do nothing (if) that is what they want. I’ll still live like I am living now, but I think that those people who will fire me will have a very bad conscience for the rest of their lives,” he told the Mail & Guardian.
The ruling party and its leader, he added, had been hijacked by a shady group which was misleading the aged and reportedly ailing Mugabe.
He said: “It’s people who have advised our president: Emmerson Mnangagwa (vice-president), Ignatius Chombo (local government minister), Saviour Kasukuwere (environment minister), Jonathan Moyo (information minister) and Patrick Zhuwao (Mugabe’s nephew). Those are the group of people who have formed a dictatorship.
“If you were to speak about each one of them, you would find that they [have] skeletons in their cupboards. I suppose that is why they do not want to have [an] open dialogue with us.”
Mugabe risked ruining his otherwise impressive legacy by listening to this group, Mutasa added.
“Mugabe’s legacy may come to an end if he doesn’t handle our cases well. He has openly challenged the United Nations [for] democratising its institutions, and openly attacked Britain and the United States in the UN. I feel wonderfully impressed by that.
“But it is our party that it has got to democratise itself. You can’t demand other institutions to be democratised when yours is not of the same position.”