By Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – As the power struggle in the warring post-congress Zanu PF reaches boiling point, the party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, has described Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko as a genuine war veteran who is neither “power-hungry” nor “crooked” like other senior party officials.
Addressing Harare province’s conference at the weekend, the forthright Local Government minister lashed out at some liberation struggle stalwarts, insinuating that War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa — an alleged close ally of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — was corrupt.
He also claimed that Mutsvangwa was disrespectful of the ruling party’s leadership, choosing instead to act as the attack dog of the Mnangagwa faction that stands accused by its rivals of plotting to force march President Robert Mugabe out of power before his time is up.
“The more you (Mphoko) respect VaMugabe, the less we fight with you chef (Zanu PF lingua franca for boss). Tinoziva madiro amunoita Gushungo (We know how loyal you are to Mugabe).
“You served as his security officer for a long time. You have been his ambassador for a long time, but not even once have we heard that you also want to be president.
“VaMphoko hamuna tumbwa tunofamba tuchiruma vamwe munzvimbo mese tuchiti tinoda kupindawo, (You do not have power-hungry attack dogs to do your bidding in the party). We want to thank you and we will always respect you for that,” Kasukuwere said of the VP who was guest of honour at the conference.
He also criticised the tendency by party bigwigs such as Mutsvangwa who he claimed always hyped their liberation war credentials for expedient purposes, adding that had he been born earlier, he too would “certainly” have been part of the struggle.
“Chef, you are a veteran of the struggle and a simple leader. We don’t respect you because you force us, we respect you because you are respectable. We come to you because we can come to you, we don’t have to be induced to do that, and we don’t have to be on cocaine to come to you.
“We come to you in our sober senses because you are a leader we can respect. You are a leader who follows his leader (Mugabe),” Kasukuwere said of Mphoko, contrasting him in a politically-loaded manner to other senior Zanu PF officials.
The attack on Mutsvangwa came as the Daily News was again being told of a plan by the group of party Young Turks known as the Generation 40 to put pressure on Mugabe this week to dissolve Mutsvangwa’s war veterans executive and replace it with one led by Patrick Nyaruwata.
In a sign that the gloves are now truly off in the warring post-congress Zanu PF, as the party meets for its potentially-explosive annual conference this week, Kasukuwere also accused the Mnangagwa faction of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.
“We know what we are talking about, some of you have turned against him (Mugabe). You no longer like the president of our party. You are hiding behind the G40 (claims about the G40 to advance this agenda).
“If what I am saying will cause my death, then I am available. Go ahead and kill me. Enough is enough of this Mutsvangwa nonsense. Enough is enough. We are ready to take the war anywhere be it in the air or on the ground,” the angry Kasukuwere fumed.
He said while he respected the country’s war veterans for what they did for the country, there were a few of them who wanted to “monopolise the struggle”, adding defiantly that, “We are not going to be scared by the crooks we know, by the thugs we know”.
“Some of them stole money from ZBC while others turned against Zanu PF. We know that they want to politically destabilise the leadership of the party, engaging in money-making deals. We know all that and we are not going to be intimidated.
“When it comes to president Mugabe comrades, none of you has a monopoly over him. He is my leader too. We will defend president Mugabe, do not try to intimidate us to advance your interests.
“They stole from ZBC and were sacked. If you are a war veteran why do you steal? We know they are going to China to try and cut deals … to subvert the president of our party,” Kasukuwere said.
“We are not scared. We will not be scared … I have a right in this party, the party of my father. So, don’t come to me and tell me Kasukuwere does not qualify (ostensibly to be Zanu PF commissar). Who are you? You are the one who does not qualify.
“We are aware of your machinations, musarove imbwa makaviga mupinyi (your plot is a transparent one). The person you no longer want is president Mugabe. Let us be frank with each other. We know that is what you are after.
“You are going for president Mugabe because you are used to making money using this succession issue. But president Mugabe is still there. So, we are taking our gloves off. We are taking our gloves off. We will not be intimidated by criminals we know … We will defend ourselves. We are behind president Mugabe,” Kasukuwere fumed further. Daily News