One of South Africa’s most respected bass players and songwriters, Sipho Gumede, now late, once made waves with his song: When days are dark, friends are few.
Didymus Mutasa, the soft-spoken man who belongs to a golden generation of politicians Zimbabwe has ever produced, is finding himself with very few friends during his hour of need.
And yet during his days in government, spanning over three decades, powerful men and women would queue-up to see him since he commanded influential positions in both ZANU-PF and government.
Some would even follow him all the way to his Rusape home — some 170 kilometres southeast of the capital — to consult him. Many would emerge from their meetings smiling from ear-to-ear, having gone in looking weary, exhausted and frustrated.
Such was the pulling effect Mutasa had, but not anymore.
He also helped a lot of people make it in life, with some of them now owning big businesses, and some having assumed influential positions locally and abroad. But none of them wanted to be seen near him as creditors descended on his assets last month. Mutasa opened up this week saying many of his associates were scared to help him out.
“They (friends) are scared to help me. I have a case of a businessman who approached me wanting to assist me till my farm and begged me to never ever tell anyone that he had assisted me. Two of them, three of them have approached me and that is the fear I have been describing. It’s very serious. They are very scared,” said Mutasa.
“What is happening now is happening in exactly the same manner as it happened when I got arrested in the 1970s by the (Ian) Smith regime. The fear I was talking to you about exists…But as we fought, many in ZANU-PF had hoped that the Zimbabwe People First would win (the 2018 elections) and then they would have wanted to come later and reap where they didn’t sow.”
Mutasa had some of his assets attached last month over a US$26 900 debt owed to a local law firm.
He is currently fighting to regain the assets through the courts.
Mutasa is one of the many seasoned politicians ditched by ZANU-PF who have faced humiliating debt related lawsuits.
In June last year, former ZANU-PF Mashonaland West chairman, Temba Mliswa was slapped with a lawsuit by the CBZ Bank after he failed to settle a US$3 million debt, with several of his properties at his Spring Farm in Karoi being attached.
Last month, Chipinge South legislator, Enock Porusingazi’s farm equipment and vehicles worth US$99 000 were attached over an outstanding loan with Interfin Banking Corporation Limited under liquidation.
The property included a combine harvester, three tractors, Ford Everest, Mercedes Benz and a Toyoace Truck.
In May last year, prominent war veteran, Douglas Mahiya, had several household properties attached by the sheriff of the High Court and auctioned on behalf of local tobacco firm, Tobacco Tinte, which the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association spokesman owed money.
Upon re-joining ZANU-PF in 2009, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo remarked that it was “cold outside ZANU-PF”.
Asked if he was feeling the cold, Mutasa quipped: “That’s a very wrong assumption. It’s actually the opposite. If I was still in ZANU-PF I would currently be very ashamed to be associated with that party. In other words, he is saying there is nothing to be ashamed of being associated with the rot that ZANU-PF has brought about. Can anyone be proud to be associated with ZANU-PF in its current state?”
Ironically, Mutasa was one of the ZANU-PF bigwigs who went out of their way to lure Moyo back into the ruling party after he dismissed himself in 2008 for defying its directives.
Moyo would later become one of the fiercest critics of former vice president Joice Mujuru and her cabal, which included Mutasa.
Mutasa said he doesn’t regret his part in bringing Moyo back into the ruling party.
“The man is very hard working. He is the one who, in 2012 or there about, wrote the manifesto that gave birth to Zim-Asset. He is such an intelligent man. If we can have such brains like Jonathan Moyo and we use them properly, this country would be one of the best. But if then you misuse them, how can you be better as a country when you misuse brains like Jonathan Moyo and many others. They are there free of charge for you to use, but you misuse them,” he said. Financial Gazette