HARARE – Prominent Zanu PF supporter, Energy Mutodi, has warned President Robert Mugabe that he not only risks being defeated by an opposition coalition led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai in next year’s eagerly-awaited national elections, but also that this could have dire consequences for him and his family.
The maverick musician-turned-businessman, and an avowed follower of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, also claimed yesterday that Mugabe’s failure to manage his succession was likely to backfire against the soon-to-be 93-year-old, as his future could not be guaranteed under a new political dispensation involving Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
“The opposition leader is a victim of political violence under
under Mugabe’s rule and will not forgive Mugabe and his corrupt ministers easily.
“A grand coalition that is shaping up between his (Mugabe’s) former deputy … Mujuru and former prime minister … Tsvangirai may end his rule, making him vulnerable to prosecution for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during his long iron fist rule,” the eccentric Mutodi wrote on his Facebook page.
Tsvangirai, the only opposition leader to have defeated Mugabe in an election — in the 2008 polls — has been holding secret talks with Mujuru and other opposition leaders, as he doggedly works to knit together the much-talked about grand alliance which is scheduled to be in place before the end of this year.
And since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him on the streets of Gweru in August last year — in a rare public display of unity among the opposition — there have been growing calls by fed up citizens for the formation of the grand opposition alliance ahead of 2018.
Analysts have also consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule — especially at this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.
The ruling party is deeply divided mainly over its unresolved succession riddle, which has split the former liberation movement right through the middle — with the Team Lacoste faction rallying behind Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations, and the Generation 40 (G40) group rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding Mugabe.
Mutodi’s latest Facebook posting is not the first time that he has controversially tackled Zanu PF’s succession problems. The highly-opinionated party cadre recently threw the cat among the pigeons when he challenged the former liberation movement to hold an extra-ordinary congress to choose Mugabe’s successor.
He claimed then that Mugabe had become so unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections against the popular Tsvangirai.
“Mugabe must retire. What we must be discussing now is how we share power in Zanu PF post-Mugabe.
“It’s up to Mugabe himself to be really thankful to his loyalists who have helped him to remain in power for this long and not the opportunists who praise him during the day and denigrate him during the night,” Mutodi said.
Yesterday, he repeated his calls for Mugabe to pave way for Mnangagwa, whom he argued would look after the nonagenarian and safeguard his family’s interests.
“Only … Mnangagwa will guarantee Mugabe’s safety after leaving office.
“He (Mugabe) has played different factions angling to succeed him against each other to his own advantage. However, time is running out for him. He risks losing control of his own succession.
“Some members of his family suggest he believes in natural succession as dictated and guided by spirit mediums.
“Mugabe therefore needs to manage his succession properly by either calling for an extraordinary congress that will elect his successor or by nominating his choice through a politburo resolution,” Mutodi wrote on his Facebook wall.
Despite the increasing pressure by Mnangagwa’s supporters for Mugabe to nominate his successor, the nonagenarian has studiously refused to do so, arguing that his party should rather follow what he sees as a more democratic process — managing his succession via a congress.
But as the years and decades have gone by, this has appeared to stoke Zanu PF’s ugly infighting, which has escalated over the past few weeks as both the G40 and Team Lacoste have gone at each other hammer and tongs, particularly since the release of images showing Mnangagwa holding a coffee mug inscribed with the words “I am the Boss” during a festive season gathering at his Zvishavane rural home.
The coffee mug saga was re-ignited last week when it was claimed that the G40 planned to transport thousands of party supporters to Harare International Airport, to welcome back the nonagenarian and his family from their month-long Far East holiday.
This led the disaffected leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) to threaten bloodshed if the G40 went ahead with their plans to embarrass Mnangagwa at the airport for hobnobbing with sacked Zanu PF officials.
“We want to warn them (G40 kingpins and their supporters) that they are going too far. Kana vachienda kunogamuchira Mugabe ngavaende vanogamuchira Mugabe (If they want to go and welcome Mugabe, then they should do just that),” warned combative ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda.
“Vakada kusimudza maplacards ekunyomba (if they wave placards to embarrass and provoke) VP Mnangagwa, we as the group from the liberation struggle will fight back, not because we are saying Mugabe is not the president, but because we are fighting on behalf of a fellow comrade.
“We know that they are making placards and we have put our people on standby. Ngavafambe nawo maplacards acho tivone. Tinodzigura zviuno chembere idzodzo. Vakangofamba nemaplacards vachiti Ngwena kudii-dii tinovadira. Ende kumajere kwacho tavakukuziva tinokudzokera (Let them wave their placards against Mnangagwa and we will teach them a hard lesson. We will beat them up. We are not afraid to go back to jail),” he added.
But Mugabe quietly sneaked into the country when he returned home, neutralising in the process the dangerous gamesmanship that had been threatened by the two factions which had been quarrelling during his absence.
And in the process, he outwitted both factions hands down by ignoring their infantile but dangerous clamour for his attention.
However, it has since been claimed again that the G40 faction is planning to revive its attack on Mnangagwa at the Harare International Airport upon Mugabe’s return from Addis Ababa today, where he has been attending the African Union summit.