HARARE – Former Mashonaland Central youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu, has sensationally claimed that President Robert Mugabe wants under fire national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere out of the warring ruling Zanu PF.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Tsenengamu also said Mugabe was using “the same methods” to deal with Kasukuwere that he allegedly employed to hound his former deputy, Joice Mujuru, out of Zanu PF during the deadly purges of 2014.
This comes as Kasukuwere and several other Zanu PF bigwigs are under the cosh in the troubled former liberation movement, following the recent mega demonstrations against them — in developments which analysts have said bear similar echoes to the political Tsunami of three years ago which buried Mujuru and other party heavyweights.
Tsenengamu, who has consistently claimed that he was among the youth leaders who were used by Mugabe to orchestrate Mujuru’s downfall, said he had no doubt in his mind that Kasukuwere’s Zanu PF political career was “hanging by a thread”.
“It is clear that the president is behind Kasukuwere’s woes, and whether he (Kasukuwere) survives or not is entirely dependent on Mugabe.
“What is also very clear is that Mugabe is playing people against each other, as he has done on so many previous occasions.
“I remember very well that Mujuru faced similar charges of trying to topple the president through a coup and those are the same charges that Kasukuwere is now facing,” Tsenengamu reasoned.
The outspoken former Zanu PF leading light added that Mugabe had allegedly “perfected the art of playing the party’s factions” in his own interest.
It was also in this light, Tsenengamu said, that the nonagenarian’s “pleas” on Monday, in which he appeared to sympathise with Kasukuwere, needed to be taken with a pinch of salt.
“During the night he (Mugabe) sends people to attack others, and during the day he extends an olive branch to the victims.
“He supplies political bullets and guns to A, so that A can shoot B. Then he goes on to supply bulletproof vests to B, so that B is protected from being shot by A. Those are his typical double standards,” Tsenengamu said.
He also claimed that he had been approached by ruling party bigwigs to participate in Monday’s demonstration against Kasukuwere and his brother Dickson Mafios in Bindura — where the two were hammered by irate party supporters who issued a petition calling for their expulsion from the ruling party.
Curiously, Tsenengamu said he had refused “to gain a measure of revenge” against Kasukuwere — whom he accuses of having engineered his expulsion from Zanu PF in 2015 — by participating in the march.
Interestingly too, ruling party insiders say Kasukuwere and Tsenengamu — who both hail from Mashonaland Central province — were once bosom buddies.
“He who rented his powers to Tyson (Kasukuwere) must take back his power by himself. Zvekushandisana nekusvibisana kwete. Ndakaramba kuberekeswa kamwana kakafa (I don’t want to be used, and this is why I refused to participate in Kasukuwere’s battering). Never again … 2014 was enough.
“Yes, I learnt my lessons from 2014. The reality is that we were used. Suits were bought for us and for some time we were even treated like royalty as the powers-that-be coached us to smear Mujuru’s name.
“When people who were organising these demonstrations (against Kasukuwere) approached me, I said no … because I felt that I would be used again by Mugabe in the same way he used us in 2014,” Tsenengamu said.
On Monday, Kasukuwere suffered the surprising spectacle of witnessing demonstrations against him in his home province, as angry supporters demanded, among other things, that the party recalls him on bizarre charges of attempting to unseat Mugabe.
Zanu PF insiders have previously asserted that Kasukuwere is one of the kingpins of the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is fiercely opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.
The Bindura demonstration against Kasukuwere and Mafios was followed by further gatherings in the Midlands and Masvingo province, where several other bigwigs were also targeted, including both serving and former ministers.
The demos also came two weeks after cracks emerged in the influential women’s league which is headed by powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe, which recently expelled two of the wing’s top guns, Eunice Sandi Moyo and the vocal Sarah Mahoka.
Their case was set to be heard by the politburo last night — and it was not immediately clear what the outcome of those deliberations were when this story was put together.
But analysts have said the surprise move by Grace to ditch Sandi Moyo and Mahoka — as well as this week’s hammering of Kasukuwere — were ominous signs for the G40 faction.
Meanwhile, Tsenengamu has also warned that the turmoil in the women’s league could claim Zanu PF’s scalp in next year’s eagerly-anticipated national polls.
“People were expelled in 2004, 2014, 2015 … and now Sandi Moyo and Sarah Mahoka are the targets. As we go towards the 2018 elections, the current divisions are not good for the party.
“Towards the 2008 election, we had differences but not of this kind. This is too much. Do these fights have something to do with the party and people, or are there certain individuals who want to benefit from them?
“We know that after they expel Sandi and Mahoka there are others who are also going to face the chop.
“My question now is, are we being used to fight for the party or we are fighting to protect certain family interests or the interests of certain individuals?” he asked rhetorically.
Tsenengamu, who was hounded out of Zanu PF together with six other provincial youth leaders in 2015, is currently on bail after he savaged Mugabe for appearing to crush Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions during the nonagenarian’s 93rd birthday interview with the ZBC.
Following the interview, Tsenengamu addressed a press conference in Harare where he called for “a mega fightback” from Mnangagwa and his allies.
“It is time we go open about this succession thing because some of us have since identified our candidate and it’s none other than Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. If Mugabe doesn’t like him, that is up to him, but we are saying we now want him to lead.
“To comrade Mnangagwa, Chikara, I am sorry you may say we have exposed you, but that is the game now Shumba (VP’s totem).
“We want you to take over from Gushungo and make sure that you take care of his family. So, we are going to hit the campaign trail for you as our presidential candidate next year,” Tsenengamu said then.