A group calling itself the “original and real Zanu PF” comprising mostly of disgruntled Zanu PF members expelled, suspended or demoted before and after the party’s controversial congress last December says it will not form a new political party to challenge President Robert Mugabe but will instead continue to fight for democracy, constitutionalism and ensure that the former liberation movement is not turned into a Gushungo dynasty.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said their lawyers were currently consolidating their court case challenging the legality of the December congress to make sure it is water-tight in order to restore normalcy in Zanu PF.
Gumbo said former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa would soon file the court papers through which the group is seeking to have the courts declare null and void the resolutions adopted by the congress, among them amendments to the party constitution to give Mugabe power to appoint the entire politburo including two vice-presidents.
He said a legal team, which includes the country’s top constitutional lawyers, is finalising the court papers which Mutasa would file as soon as they give him the go-ahead.
“We have no plans to form a new political party. What I can say is that Zanu PF is currently split and we are the original and real Zanu PF and the other is a Zanu PF of mafikizolos (johnny-come-latelies) that emerged at the illegal congress in December,” he said.
“However, what we are saying is that there is need to find a formula to harmonise Zanu PF — a Zanu PF based on the original democratic principles, ethos and values. The court action is going ahead. There may have been some delays but it is coming.
“We have decided to take the matter to the courts because there is no other recourse for resolving the internal problems. People are dismissed willy-nilly without following due process or being given the right to respond. They are not given any warning prior to the dismissals.”
Sixteen ministers, including former vice-president Joice Mujuru, have so far been fired for alleged incompetence and corruption even though the real reason is factionalism. Gumbo accused Mugabe of being a “hypocrite” who wants to give the impression that he is democratic, respects the party constitution and believes in allowing party supporters to speak frankly and openly at meetings such as the politburo.
Gumbo said Mugabe is the opposite as he does not tolerate criticism which he sees as a threat to his hold on power.
“Mugabe talks about democracy while at the same time he does not practise it. It is regrettable that it has taken us so long to speak out about this,” he said.
“I, however, articulated this in 1980 when I indicated that the people of Zimbabwe will suffer under Mugabe’s rule and indeed they are now suffering. It is not a secret that I said this and I stand by what I said.”
In an interview in 1980 on the eve of Zimbabwe’s Independence, Gumbo said Mugabe uses people and dumps them when they have served his purpose.
He said Mugabe used people like Joshua Nkomo and presidents of the (then) Frontline States (a group of southern African states formed in 1970 that supported the fight against apartheid in South Africa) to build himself up, then he tried to destroy them.
“He cares nothing for the people or the country. All he cares about is Mugabe… I am also afraid — for my people and for my country,” Gumbo was quoted saying in the interview.
Gumbo told the Independent that the problem is that Zanu PF leaders, especially Mugabe, have lost their way.
“It has become a battle for power. The clique around him has discovered they can capitalise on his age and his love for power,” he said.
Asked why they are only speaking out now after they were fired, Gumbo said: “One of the reasons is that you had to be part of the team. But this can only go to the extent your conscience allows you.
“You keep hoping that by sharing ideas things will change. We tried to criticise these things internally, privately and sometimes publicly. It is really unfortunate because if we had been more vocal a long time ago, we would not be in this mess, but there was fear and that sort of fear still exists.
“We are making this court challenge not for our benefit but for the sake of our children, grandchildren and Zimbabweans as a whole. We are mobilising at cell level to restore in Zanu PF democratic principles we fought for.
“We don’t believe in the creation of a Mugabe dynasty in Zanu PF. We fought for the freedom of all Zimbabweans to engage in politics and business and prosperity.”