Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s camp has extended an olive branch to former party heavyweights Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa to close ranks and come on board in its gloves-off fight against President Robert Mugabe.
On Monday, dismissed Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa — who claimed to be the bona fide party secretary for administration — released a strong-worded statement denouncing the ouster of his allies from their top positions in the ruling party and courted other disgruntled party members to form a grand coalition to fight Mugabe.
“On behalf of all past members of Zanu PF, expelled or dissociated with Zanu PF voluntarily in prior years due to the perceived lack of democratic principles and practice in the party,” Mutasa said.
Both Makoni and Dabengwa were once Zanu PF politburo members and Cabinet ministers, but left to launch their own political projects following a fallout with Mugabe in 2008. Makoni now leads Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn while Dabengwa heads the revived Zapu party.
But Makoni and Dabengwa on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of rejoining Zanu PF, saying they would work with Mujuru’s embattled faction only in its quest to resolve the problems Zimbabwe was facing.
They, however, said they were happy that Mujuru’s allies had now realised Zanu PF’s democratic shortcomings and intolerance of divergent views.
“I cannot work with Mutasa to solve the problem in Zanu PF because I am not a member of Zanu PF. We can only work together to deal with the problems affecting Zimbabweans,” Makoni said on Tuesday.
“I cannot be used to solve their (Zanu PF) rotten party. I am happy they have realised that the party is rotten. Although late, it is better late than never.”
Makoni said he was willing to work with all progressive Zimbabweans for the common good of Zimbabweans, adding that was the reason why he, since 2012, had been calling for a grand coalition of opposition parties to fight Mugabe’s hegemony.
Dabengwa confirmed that the Mujuru faction had formally approached him, but said he would decide on whether or not to co-operate with them after seeing their proposals.
“The issues that Mutasa raised are very important. That is why some of us left the party. We cannot expect the party to respect the national Constitution when they fail to be democratic in their own party,” Dabengwa said.
“We wish them (Mujuru faction) well. We are prepared to work together. Since 2012, we have been calling for a united front against Zanu PF. I am relieved that other people have realised what we realised a long time ago.”
Mujuru and her allies claimed they were unfairly dismissed from the party on trumped-up coup plot charges in the run-up to the Zanu PF congress in December. They have also threatened to legally challenge and nullify the resolutions passed by the congress, adding that procedures were not followed in convening the indaba.
Mutasa was relieved of his duties in the party and government along with other heavyweights among them party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, secretary for the commissariat Webster Shamu, production secretary Dzikamai Mavhaire, and eight provincial chairpersons, for working with Mujuru in an alleged plot to topple and assassinate Mugabe.
Mutasa, in his statement, said the December congress that railroaded some amendments to the party’s constitution was illegal, and so were the amendments.
He rallied “progressive” Zanu PF members to support their cause and stop Zanu PF from defiling its own constitution and deviating from the values of the liberation struggle.