By Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – ZANU PF is stuck with a montage of party regalia, emblazoned with the face of its deposed leader Robert Mugabe, the Daily News on Sunday can report.
Last year, Mugabe had appeared to be on track to represent Zanu PF as its presidential candidate for the 2018 harmonised polls.
He was, however, dethroned last November following a soft-coup, masterminded by the top brass in the military.
Zanu PF honchos are now at crossroads on what to do with T-Shirts, bandanas and wrappers adorned with the 94-year-old despot’s face, acquired before his dramatic fall about eight months ago.
Before his removal, Mugabe had already kick-started his re-election campaign, with the teetotaller embarking on divisive youth interface rallies — along with his wife, Grace — which alienated him from his former liberation war comrades.
Sources told the Daily News on Sunday former Finance minister and ex-Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, had facilitated the acquisition of at least five million T-Shirts from China using a war chest put together by ruling party sympathisers.
“Chombo had bought T-Shirts and other regalia from China preparing for the extraordinary congress and also elections, but then that was not to be as Mugabe was removed before the congress.
Now the T-Shirts are gathering dust at the party headquarters,” the source said, referring to the special congress of December 2017, which was supposed to be presided over by Mugabe.
In the wake of the soft-coup, the party still proceeded with the extraordinary congress, albeit to elevate his crony-turned-foe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to the top office.
Taking advantage of its deep pockets, Zanu PF has gone on to order new T-Shirts from India and China, this time with the face of Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF secretary for Information and publicity, Simon Khaya Moyo, could not confirm whether the regalia was still stored at the party headquarters.
Khaya Moyo, however, said regalia emblazoned with Mugabe’s face was no longer welcome at Zanu PF events.
“Why is it still there? Why should it be there and why wasn’t it distributed to the people back then. We have told people that they can wear it at their own time and in their own homes. All we have said is that all who have the regalia please wear it when you go to your fields but don’t wear them when you come to our rallies, we have a new president, we don’t have two presidents,” said Khaya Moyo.
Zanu PF appears desperate to do away with anything associated with Mugabe.At the party headquarters, Mugabe’s portraits have been pulled down, while those of former vice presidents such as Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo — who are all late — are still adorning the walls and passages of Zanu PF’s offices.
Asked by journalists to explain why Mugabe’s pictures have been removed, Zanu PF political commissar Engelbert Rugeje said the former president was at odds with his former comrades hence the conspicuous exclusion.
“Those who are not on the wall were expelled, they are no longer part of the party,” Rugeje said.
Just as Mugabe’s T-shirts have disappeared, so have the cars which were also embellished with the face of Mugabe or that of his influential wife.
While Zanu PF has not officially expelled its founding father, it wasted no time in expelling former first lady, Grace, last November.
Mugabe has been accused by his erstwhile comrades of funding opposition parties such as the National Patriotic Front and of refusing to recognise Mnangagwa’s presidency. DailyNews.