By Walter Marwizi
One day in the late 90s, Eddison Zvobgo, the late Zanu PF legal supremo (may his soul rest in peace) was asked by a patron at one of his hotels in Masvingo whether he wanted to be the President of Zimbabwe.
“It’s only a stupid teacher that doesn’t aspire to be a headmaster,” was his loaded reply.
Zvobgo never got the chance to openly challenge for the presidency despite being prodded by many in Masvingo, but everyone who is old enough is aware that his lieutenant Dzikamai Mavhaire mustered the courage to make the “Mugabe must go” statement.
Mavhaire incurred Mugabe’s wrath and endured many years in the political wilderness. He was only rescued last year when Mugabe gave him a ministerial post.
I reflected on Zvobgo’s remarks last week when it became clear that anyone, no matter their position in Zanu PF or the society, who appears to threaten Mugabe’s continued rule in Zimbabwe is branded an enemy and has to be nuetralised.
In Zanu PF, you are only accepted if you don’t aspire to be president. Mugabe is supposed to be president for life, anyone who shows ambition should be crushed like a snake.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is the front runner to take over from 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe is in trouble because the powers-that-be have determined she is a threat to Mugabe and the First Family’s interests.
Suddenly, Zimbabweans are being told by Grace, who is fast assuming the role of the lead Zanu PF prosecutor and judge, that the VP is cunning, incompetent, corrupt and lazy.
The only way out for her is to resign and save Mugabe the hassle of firing her, we were told by Grace. I hold no brief for Mujuru or any of the factions in Zanu PF, but I find Grace’s narrative unconvincing and deceptive, to say the least. Grace tells us that Mugabe is covering up for Mujuru who is incompetent, and tries to portray her husband as a holy man who is tirelessly working for Zimbabweans.
But how can Mugabe, who Grace fondly calls Baba (father) be competent when unemployment is above 90%, when companies are closing every day and when we have to beg the Chinese and Russians to bail us out. Can such malaise be blamed on the VP?
All over the world, vice-presidents live under the shadow of their presidents and their performance is normally judged through the work of the bosses. They are supposed to take a back seat, so that they don’t overshadow the leaders.
Their moment only comes when the president dies or is incapacitated. If Grace wants Zimbabweans to believe her diatribe that is being parroted by outgoing Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri, she needs to back her accusations with evidence.
It’s easy to say so and so is corrupt, but very difficult to prove the case. If Grace has evidence of Mujuru’s corrupt activities, why doesn’t she hand it to the police for prosecution since Mugabe has declared zero tolerance to corruption.
And why has she been silent all these years when Mujuru was amassing the alleged ill-gotten wealth? Now it is convenient for Grace to throw mud at Mujuru because Zanu PF is now heading for congress in December.
After being in office for over 30 years, I have no doubt that Mujuru is part and parcel of the leadership that has failed us, but it would be wrong for her to be vilified for aspiring to be president of Zimbabwe, or to be forced to resign because she objected to the First Lady’s penchant for acquiring more land in Mazowe.